To end the week we get a genuinely busy day with action all across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we get a WBO Bantamweight title fight between hard hitting Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) and Thai veteran Punluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34), who is hoping to become a 2-time world champion. On paper it's hard to bet against Akaho, who is big, strong and hits like a mule, however no Japanese fighter has ever won a world title bout in Thailand and it could well be a case of history repeating it's self here.
Also on this show will be two other title bouts. One of those will see Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (55-2, 36) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he battles Indonesian visitor Boido Simanjuntak (18-28-1, 7) in what is a clear mismatch. The visitor enters this bout 0-14 on his trips to Thailand whilst Chonlatarn is unbeaten in his homeland and has only lost to world class ighters.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (31-1-2, 16) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title as he continues to rebuild following his 2014 loss to Chinese star Zou Shiming.
Whilst the biggest bout of the day is in Thailand the best card is actually in Dubai as ALA return to the oil rich emirate and show case some of their most exciting fighters.
The most exciting of the fighters on this card is the unbeaten Super Bantamweight hopeful Albert Pagara (23-0, 16). The 21 year old “Prince” Albert will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against Mexican challenger Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25), who is expected to supper his 8th stoppage loss. Given the ability of Pagara we would like to see him step up in a class but that was never likely on this particular card
Albert's older brother Jason Pagara (35-2, 22) will also be in action as he battles Ramiro Alcaraz (15-4-1, 9) in what amounts to a 10 round stay busy contest at a contracted 143lbs. The bout is really little more than a ticking over bout for Pagara who is world ranked by the WBO and could potentially get a world title fight sooner rather than later.
One other notable name on this card is Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) who battles 24 year old foe Pablo Lugo Montiel (21-5, 17). On paper this looks a lot tastier than than the other two major bouts however Montiel has gone 4-4 in his last 8 and going through his record shows that he hasn't scored a win of any real note so far
There will also action at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo where fans get the chance to see several crossroad bouts.
The most exciting bout on the card will see former Japanese title contenders collide in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator at 122lbs. In one corner is Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7), who was recently held to a draw by current champion Yukinori Oguni, whilst in the other corner will be Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7), who was narrowly beaten by Oguni last year. This bout may not be one that gets international attention but the winner will be regarded as a fringe contender on the world scene and could well end up getting a national title fight next year before a possible step up to a world title fight at some point. This will be a relatively tactical affair but a very good fight all the same.
Another intriguing match up on this card is a rematch of a Japanese Middleweight contest that is a must win for both men. In one corner for this bout is the criminally under-rated Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) who looks to score his second win over former OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12), who is best known for his loss in a world title bout to Gennady Golovkin. On paper it's easy to back Fuchigami but in their first meeting Nishida won a unanimous decision and has gone 6-1 in his last 7 whilst Fuchigami has struggled for form with 4 losses in his last 6.
On the under-card there are two novices who are expected to receive notable attention. One of those is the unbeaten Kohei Kashino (2-0, 1), who battles Hizuki Saso (4-1), and the other is Riyako Goshi (3-3), who faces Chie Higano (3-3). Kashino is, from what we understand, a highly qualified young man who is attempting to make his name in boxing whilst Goshi is a model known for risque pictures, and always seems to get more attention than her talent deserves.
We also have two bouts in Australia featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights is a PABA Light Welterweight title fight that sees the talented Czar Amonsot (28-3-3, 17) battle against Indonesian fighter Rusmin Kie Raha (14-7-2, 3). It's hard to see what Raha has to really test Amonsot but the Filipino has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this bout.
Another Filipino in action on this card is Roberto Lerio (16-21-1, 6) who looks to upset the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (7-0, 5) in a bout for the Australian Super Bantamweight title. Lerio, who is based in Australia, is the clear under-dog but will know that a win here will open up some really good opportunities for him in Mexico.
(Image courtesy of www.onesongchai.com)
The action in Japan keeps coming through March and one of the most interesting shows comes on the 16th as we get several notable names in action, with one of the bouts being particularly notable.
That notable bout will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Akihiro Kondo (20-5-1, 9) battled against former “world” title challenger Jimrex Jaca (39-7-4, 22) of the Philippines. Jaca is a serious puncher and is capable of hurting almost anyone in, or around, the Lightweight division and Kondo is tough which means that this could be an explosive and exciting encounter with Jaca's power battling against Kondo's will and toughness.
In a female bout on this card former female world champion Tenkai Tsunami (20-10, 9) will fight in a stay busy contest against Thailand's Rathsada Sor Worasin (0-4). This really is a stay busy contest for the talent Tsunami who will likely be looking for another world title bout later in the year.
Another bout of note will see the fast rising Kenta Onjo (4-0, 3) battle against Japanese based Filipino Jonathan Baat (27-6-3, 13). On paper this is a huge step up in class for the talented Onjo however he will be strongly favoured and should have a considerable size advantage against Baat who will be going from Bantamweight all the way up to Super Featherweight for this contest. From what we've seen of the 25 year old Onjo he is massively talented and should be able to see off his smaller but more experienced for with out too many issues.
One other bout that looks particularly interesting will see the light hitting Yukiya Hanabusa (7-2-2, 1) face off against Yudai Arai (6-1-3, 3). This looks like a brilliantly even contest on paper even if the two men aren't well known. In 2013 Hanabusa reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final whilst Arai has gone 5-0-2 in his last 7 bouts. This really does look promising and both guys will know what a win will boost them to moving towards a national ranking.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
February, despite it's occasional highlight, feels like it's been a very long and very slow month in terms of boxing. Thankfully it comes to an end this Friday in a crescendo of action around Asia, perfectly bringing in a new month which looks like it has more action than both February and January combined.
The first of the action will be in Thailand on Thai channel 7. Unfortunately we've got to confess we've very unsure who this will be, though an educated guess suggests it could be Morakot CP. Freshmart (3-0, 2) defending his WBC Youth Flyweight title for the third time.
Whilst we're uncertain on who is featured on the Thai show we are pretty confident on the action in Japan which has 2 separate shows. The more interesting of the two takes place at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
This show, "Dangan 94", features an outstanding bout made at 141lbs. This contest, the highlight of the show, will see the big punching Shinya Iwabuchi (22-4. 18) taking on Filipino veteran Jimrex Jaca (39-6-3, 22) in what could well launch the winner into an OPBF title bout. Both are highly ranked by the OPBF and with the title being fought for in the coming weeks this really is an important match up.
The undercard features several other ranked fighters including Tsuyoshi Tojo (12-12-3, 2) who defends his Japanese ranking against and Koji Umetsu (20-14-3, 9) and Koshinmaru Saito (19-5-1, 10) who will be risking his OPBF and Japanese rankings against Yuichi Ideta (13-9-1, 7). These bouts may not set the pulses going but both have real significance to the men involved who will likely fall away from any possible title fight if they were to lose.
In total there are 8 contests on "Dangan 94" though we feel we've covered the 3 most significant.
The other show in Japan is "Real Spirits 35" which features a total of 7 bouts though very few bare any real significance or any sort of a "competitiveness" to them. The one bout that is competitive, at least on paper, is the show's main event which will see Kota Fukuoka (15-3-2, 12) fighting against Akihiko Katagiri (13-7-2, 4). Fukuoka is the the #10 ranked Featherweight according to the OPBF whilst Katagiri is the #12 ranked Featherweight by the JBC meaning that we have a pretty good looking contest here.
As with the other show, it's not just the fighters in the main event who are ranked and the show will also feature Ryotaro Kawabata (9-2, 3) the #12 ranked Super Flyweight according to the OPBF, Tokiya Nishioka (7-3-2, 3) who holds rankings with both the JBC and OPBF and Kazuki Hashimoto (8-4, 4) who is ranked by the JBC. Unfortunately it appears these three men are in "gimmes" and really shouldn't have any risk of losing their rankings.
United Arab Emirates, Dubai
A third Asian country getting involved in the action on Friday is the United Arab Emirates. Although details on this show are scarce we're lead to believe that the main event will see Joseph Chingangu (27-9, 20) fighting against Francis Zulu (17-3-2, 8). Rather oddly the vacant IBF Continental Africa Heavyweight title will be apparently be on the line. Although both fighters are from Zambia we don't understand why they'd be going to Dubai to contest a regional title belt.
Outside of Asia we get another Asian fighter in action. This time it's the Filipino born Bruno Escalante (11-1-1 5) who will be attempting to claim the International Boxing Association Super Flyweight title. In Escalante's way will be the very experienced Lorenzo Trejo (33-28-1, 20). Although Trejo has a huge edge in experience it's difficult to imagine him beating Escalante, in fact it's difficult to even see him testing Escalante after suffering numerous stoppage losses in recent contests.