Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan
The most notable card this coming Saturday for us is in Kazakhstan, where we see several promising Kazakh fighters in action. Sadly the bouts aren't the most attractive, but they do feature some noteworthy and promising fighters in action.
In one of the most notable bouts on the show the unbeaten Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6) will take on Juan Hernan Leal (15-1, 4), who appears to have been a late replacement for former world title challenger Dante Jardon (34-7, 25), in a bout for the IBF Welterweight title. The talented Yeleussinov, who won a gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is a man who should have been pushed hard by Matchroom over the last few years, but was really let down by Eddie Hearn and co. who instead pushed Josh Kelly as their big Welterweight hopeful. Yeleussinov may not be a threat to the divisional elite, but he's a very talented fighter who has shown a lot of development in recent bouts and we suspect he's going to try and make an example of Leal. As for Leal this will be his 4th bout of 2021, but his first bout outside of the South America, and a win here would be among his best.
Another fighter who was let down by his promoter, albeit not Matchroom this time, is Ivan Dychko (10-0, 10) who should have been well and and truly in the world title mix by now. Sadly Dychko's career has been among the most frustrating of any fighter in the sport, and it's been stop-start with more bouts being cancelled than actually going ahead. Here he's looking to shake some ring rust and score a win over a limited, but well known, name as he takes on the huge Aleksandr Ustinov (36-5-1, 27). This should be a straight forward win for Dychko who needs better fights in the new year. Thankfully this will be his second fight of 2021, and hopefully will be the final stay busy before taking on a contender level fighter in the new year.
Another unbeaten Kazakh hopeful on this card is Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17), who fights for the first time since July 2019. The talented Turarov, who's sadly had major issues with activity since 2017, will be up against 40 year old Egyptian fighter Abdumonem Said (22-1-1, 11). On paper this looks like an interesting match up, but Said is stepping up massively, has little on his record to suggest he can test Turarov, and is unlikely to last the distance with the Kazakh.
Over in Thailand we're expecting a small card, featuring a top teenager in one bout, and a 50 year old in another, as the wild west of boxing shows just how odd the sport can be at times.
The talented teenager is 17 year old Thai Phenom Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (11-0, 6) who will be looking to defend his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title as he takes on Filipino challenger Joepher Montano (11-5-2, 10). The talented Phoobadin came into the year with a lot of momentum, but inactivity has slowed his rise and allowed him to physically mature without fighting, which may actually serve him well. As for Montano the Filipino is no push over, but he has been beaten in 3 of his last 5, including a loss to Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, who was stopped by Phoobadin last year. This should be a straight forward win for Phoobadin, but it's still nice to see him in the ring again before 2021 ends.
The 50 year old on this card is Thai based British female fighter Denise Castle (3-2, 3) who will be up against Filipino Norj Guro (11-7-1, 4). Sadly Castle, who was a very good Muay Thai fighter, is well past her best and has hardly been active as a boxing since making her debut in 2014. Guro, although a long, long way from a major, is only 31 and will be hungry to continue a run of 4 straight wins. We don't expect this to be a great bout, but it's still very interesting to see a 50 year old in action.
We also get a small card in Indonesia, where fans will get a small domestic card with a couple of UBO title bouts.
One of those title bouts will be at Light Flyweight, as Silem Serang (18-22-3, 2) faces off with Frengky Rohi (7-11-1, 3) for the vacant title. This is a rubber match between the two men, with Rohi taking the honours in their first bout, back in 2017, before Serang got revenge earlier this year. Coming in Serang has won his last 3, and is unbeaten in Indonesia since 2017! Rohi on the other hand typically lost on the road, but is 5-11 on his last 16 bouts and has no momentum at all coming into this one.
The other title fight will see Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (33-17-1, 19) take on a yet to be announced opponent for the UBO title at 154lbs. Despite his scratchy record Ferdinandus is enjoying a good run of form, winning his last 6 bouts, and he has rebuilt well since being blasted in a round by Tim Tszyu back in 2018. Sadly with no opponent named for this bout it's hard to imagine him facing anyone of any real quality.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
In Japan we get a show in Osaka, albeit a small show that is entirely focused on female boxing with 5 bouts in total. Sadly this isn't a big show, but it's still good to see the domestic Japanese female seen laying down it's foundations for the next generation.
The main event of the card will see 29 year old Kaoru Iga (4-2-1) battle against 25 year old Sarasa Ichimura (4-8-1), in a bout between two JBC ranked fighters. Iga is ranked #5 at Atomweight, and is the smaller fighter, whilst Ichimura is ranked #4 at Minimumweight. The winner of this would likely be on the verge of a Japanese title fight next year, with the two women having this bout at 105lbs
Another bout worthy of some attention on this card is the debut of Hinami Yanai (0-0), who went 20-6 (7) in the amateurs and is making her debut in a 6 rounder against JBC ranked #5 female Flyweight Michiko Abiru (3-5, 1). On paper Abiru doesn't look too testing, but it's clear that Yanai and her team, the Shinsei gym, are going to look to move her quickly, like they did with Kasumi Saeki, and a win here could be followed by a Japanese title fight next year, and potentially world title fights as early as 2023. Abiru should provide a test, but one that Yanai should pass with relative ease.
A third bout worthy of some attention is the one 4 rounder on the card, which will feature Sumire Yamanaka (3-0), the younger sister of former world champion Ryuya Yamanaka. The talented 20 year old southpaw will be up against the experienced Natsuki Tarui (4-7-2) in what is an intelligent step up in class for Yamanaka. This is the first time she's taken on someone with some real experience and we should see this as a genuine developmental fight for her.
Ayub Stadium, Quetta, Pakistan
We also get a small card in Pakistan, where boxing is still in it's formative years. The one standout bout on this card is one of the most interesting Pakistani domestic bouts we'll see as the unbeaten pairing of Akmal Khan (3-0, 1) and Tariq Ahmadi (7-0, 4) face off. These two are both young, both are 21, promising, and are looking to make a name for themselves domestically. They are, clearly, not going to be racing away to world title fights or anything like that, but it's still great to see this generation of Pakistani fighters slowly helping create a boxing scene there, and given the age of these two it could end up being a great Featherweight rivalry for the country.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for fights involving Asian fighters, but it is a pretty interesting day with thanks to other fights, including the Heavyweight debut of Oleksandr Usyk.
On the same card as Usyk's Heavyweight debut will be a WBA Light Heavyweight world title defense for Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11), who takes on the unheralded Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15). On paper this isn't the bout that Bivol, and his fans, would have wanted but it should still be a good test against a big, talented and tough challenger. Castillo isn't well known, but has never been stopped and gave Marcus Browne a really competitive test. Bivol will, obviously, be strongly favoured here but he will have to work hard for the win against a capable, yet relatively obscure, challenger. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Will Bivol be tested by unheralded Castillo?
The biggest Asian card for the day takes place Kazakhstan as MTK go to Almaty for a pretty notable, yet not hugely exciting, show.
The main event here will see the hard hitting and unbeaten Ali Baloyev (9-0, 7) take on Venezuelan veteran Gusmyr Perdomo (26-9, 17). Baloyev is a genuine one to watch, and on paper this is a credible step up in class for him, after a string of relative limited opponents. Despite that it does need noting that Perdomo is now 42 and it's more than a decade ago that he fought Mikkel Kessler. Perdomo was once a solid fighter but now he's an old man and will have to rely on wiles to survive with Baloyev.
In an 8 round support bout we'll see Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (6-0, 4) likely pick up a straight forward win as he takes on Georgian Sandro Jajanidze (5-19-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Shegaliyev, but Jajanidze is a tough, rugged guy and could well see out the distance with the Kazakh prospect.
Arguably the pick of the bouts will see Chinese-Kazakh fighter Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5) take on Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). On paper this is a horrible mismatch, but paper only tells half the story and Ponteras is an upset minded Filipino who travels to win, and he will be here looking to end the unbeaten run of his foe. Whilst Ponteras was stopped last time out, by Seiya Tsutsumi, we still expect to see a gutsy, determined and rough effort from him and this could be a much better fight than it looks on paper.
Others on this card include unbeaten hopefuls Nurtas Azhbenov (6-0, 2), Hurshid Tojibaev (2-0, 1) and the debuting pair of Nurdos Tolebay (0-0) and Miras Ali Sarsenov (0-0). These 4 are tipped for big things, especially Tojibaev and Sarsenov who both had very strong amateur careers, and it's going to be interesting to follow their progress. Sadly however MTK aren't known for pushing their prospects quickly, and it could be a while until we see any of these talented fighters given a serious test.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we'll see a small yet noteworthy card.
In the main event we'll see former world title challenger Denver Cuello (38-5-6, 26) take on Jesse Espinas (19-4, 11) in an IBO world title eliminator. Cuello has only fought 3 times in the last 4 years and although he's not the fighter he once was the 32 year old southpaw is still a very dangerous and will know that a win will open doors for him. Espinas on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats and will know that another loss here will be hard to bounce back from. A very interesting match up
One of the other notable bouts here will see Cris Alfante (17-7-1, 9) take on Mateo Handig (15-19, 9). The 27 year old Alfante has reeled off 3 straight stoppage wins since his last loss, to Ardin Diale, and despite his less than stellar record he is 6-1 since a June 2016 loss to Andrew Moloney. Handig is no push over, but with 3 straight losses, and only 3 wins since an upset loss over Katsunari Takayama back in 2012, he's not expected to be competitive here.
In a more interesting bout on the same card we'll see the unbeaten Ranelio Quizo (6-0, 1) take on Ronel Dela Cruz (6-1-1, 4). The 21 year old Quizo is unbeaten since his debut in early 2018 but this is a step up in class for him. On the hand Dela Cruz is 1-1-1 in his last 3, but is certainly no push over, he was just unlucky to face April Jay Abne last time out in a Ultimate Boxing Series bout, with Abne winning the tournament this past August. This is a really, really match up.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to be headlined by a match up between will see the hard hitting, but technically flawed, Joepher Montano (10-5-2, 9) take on former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-7-1, 5). Given that Suganob's biggest bout to date took place at 122lbs it's hard to see what he has to offer at 140lbs, the weight for this bout.
Yanggu, South Korea
Another Asian card will take place in South Korea, and this is another less than great card.
The main event will see unbeaten Korean fighter Hye Soo Park (5-8-1, 1) take on Chinese visitor Jinyan Gao (2-1) in a bout for the WIBA Super Flyweight title. The Korean took the bout on short notice, after the unbeaten Soo Rin Kim was forced to pull out of the bout with around 10 days notice due to a back issue, and is likely to be too small for the naturally bigger Chinese fighter.
A second title fight will see Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2) make his first defense of the KBM Welterweight title, as he takes on Hae Myung Jung (3-1-1, 1). Jun won the title last time out, when he defeated Dong Young Kang over 10 rounds, but didn't really blow anyone away with his performance. The challenge was actually held to a draw last time out, when he failed to get past Gi Won Shin. This should be competitive, but it's hard to get too excited about the contest, and it showed how much the Korean scene needs to work together to have a decent domestic title picture.
New South Wales, Australia
At the East Cessnock Bowling Club in New South Wales we see two Indian fighters in action.
One of those Indian fighters is the unbeaten Sagar Narwat (9-0-1, 3), who takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Troy O'Meley (9-0, 2) in a good looking bout, but one that perhaps isn't as interesting as it looks. Narwat began his career in the Philippines, but his last 6 bouts have been in India and have all been against very limited opposition. O'Meley has also faced mostly limited opposition, though he got through a bit of a gut check last time out when he was pushed hard in a 6 rounder against Isaac Buckley. This looks good, and may turn out to be good, but really both men have mostly padded their records.
The other Indian on this card is Shivani Dahiya (1-1) who is up against it here, as she takes on Bianca Elmir (4-1, 3). On paper this doesn't look much of a mismatch, but Elmir ran Shannon O'Connell close just 2 fights ago and should have way too much for Dahiya here.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia we'll see once beaten local Tyson Lantry (7-1, 3) take on Filipino visitor Rodynie Rafol (13-7-2, 6), on a separate show in New South Wales. This bout, for the lightly regarded WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch and we would be surprised by anything but a win for the local. Coming in Lantry has won his last 6, since a stoppage loss in his second pro-bout, whilst Rafol has lost 2 of his last 3, and has only had 1 win since 2015. Notably however Rafol's only recent win was an upset in Australia against James MacDonald, over a year ago.
This coming Wednesday attention turns back to the Korakuen Hall where Kawasaki Nitta will be putting on a small but notable show with a Japanese title eliminator and the second bout for a very highly touted novice.
The Japanese title fight eliminator will see former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) battle against 2017 Rookie of the Year Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6), with the winner set to get a title shot at the title in early 2019. Nishida lost the title earlier this year to Kazuto Takesako, who stopped him in just over 90 seconds, with that loss ending a reign of almost 2 years. Sadly Nishida hasn't fought since that defeat and he's now 18 months removed from a win of note. Kato on the other hand hasn't scored a major win yet, but did win the 2017 Rookie of the Year crown and has gone 7-0-1 since his sole loss, back in 2015. A full preview of this bout can be read here Former champion Nishida takes on Rookie winner Kato!
In the only notable supporting bout we'll see the hotly tipped Takuma Takahashi (1-0, 1) take a clear step up in class as he takes on Filipino Joepher Montano (9-3-2, 8). The unbeaten Japanese fighter debuted back in June, when he defeated a Thai visitor in 2 rounds, and this is a clear step up from that bout. Takahashi is regarded as one of the most promising Japanese fighters above 130lbs though we're yet to to see him really face any adversity as a professional. The Filipino isn't a world beater by any stretch, but did give Atchariya Wirojanasunobol a decent test in August and will be hoping to do the same to Takahashi, despite being a very clear under-dog. We're hoping to see Takahashi being asked some new questions here, but we would be very surprised if he didn't come out on top.