Super Arena, Saitama, Saitama, Japan
This coming Saturday is set to be one of the biggest days in Asian boxing this year, as we get a hugely anticipated card from Saitama, headlined by a long over-due Middleweight unification bout between two fan friendly and aggressive fighters. Not only is the main event a great one, but the card in general is also a mouth watering one., with a second world title bout and a regional title bout.
The main bout on the card is the rescheduled bout between hard hitting Kazakh Middleweight star Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) and Japanese star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13), who were meant to clash on December 29th before the Japanese government made the bout impossible to stage due to covid regulations. The bout will see Golovkin enter as the IBF champion, seeking his second defense of this current reign. Although he will be the big favourite coming in to this bout, he is now 40 years old, with well over 400 bouts in total, as an amateur and professional, and he's been out of the ring since the end of 2020. It may well be the right time to face him, given his battle with father time. As for Murata, this is the bout he's been chasing for years, and at the age of 36 it really is now or never for him to show what he's capable of. Like Golovkin we've also not seen Murata fight recently, with his last bout coming at the end of 2019, and we expect him to be rusty, but he is so much younger than Golovkin. In regards to this one, it could be a very brutal, explosive, hard, tough and rough bout, which will likely see bombs thrown by both, with both likely needing to prove their toughness in what could be a very can friendly bout. Our in depth preview of this super clash can be read here The Middleweight Division gets a super fight as Golovkin and Murata face off!
In another world title fight we'll see WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) make his second defense, as he takes on the heavy handed Ryota Yamauchi (8-1, 7) in an all Japanese title fight. The talented Nakatani, arguably the best fighter at 112lbs, won the title in 2020, with a brilliant win over Giemel Magramo, but he has a frustrating reign with his single defense coming last year against Angel Acosta in the US, in a bout marred by a brutal cut to Acosta. It's clear Nakatani is a special fighter, but the 24 year old needs to have a big year now and begin to really establish his reign, which has had a faltering start due to the pandemic. As for Yamauchi, the aggressive, heavy handed 27 year old is a really fun fighter to watch, but also a defensively flawed one, who was dropped in his 2019 loss to Wulan Tuolehazi, and although he's had some good wins so far this is a major step up in class for him. This should be a very entertaining bout, but one where Nakatani will enter as the clear favourite, though for those wanting a more in depth look at this bout our preview can be read here Nakatani seeks second defense as he takes on aggressive Yamauchi!
In another major supporting bout we'll see regional Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 11) defending his WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles against former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15). As with the Golovkin Vs Murata bout this was scheduled to take place last year, before being postponed when the December 29th card was cancelled, and much like that bout this is one that has got a lot of expectations on it, with over a year of back story. Whilst we won't go into all the backstory of the bout, it is worth getting very excited about with Yoshino looking to throw his hat into the ring for a major Lightweight bout, with the likes of George Kambosos, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia or Vasyl Lomachenko. For Ito the bout is about rebuilding his career after recent losses to Jamel Herring and Hironori Mishiro. Like the main event this should be a very, very compelling 12 rounder, and one that will see skills and power punching on show. Our preview of this bout can be read here Double champion Yoshino faces former WBO king Ito
In an interesting under-card bout we'll see former amateur standout Kazuki Anaguchi (1-0,1) take on the hard hitting Ryuji Yamamoto (6-1, 6). Anaguchi made his debut last year, and did so with a good win over Atsushi Takada, and it's clear from that performance, and his amateur pedigree, that he has the potential to be moved quickly and moved towards title fighters sooner rather than late. As for Yamamoto the 23 year old is a heavy handed youngster, who stopped his first 5 opponents before suffering a close decision loss in 2017. Notably he was out of the ring for close to 4 years after that loss before returning last year and stopping Takahiro Murai, in a very good win. It'll be interesting to see how Yamamoto deals with the skills of Anaguchi, and whether Anaguchi can handle the power of Yamamoto in a very good under-card fighter.
Abeno Ward Center, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Staying in Japan there is also set to be a show in Osaka, with this show being a West Japan Rookie of the Year event.
This show has 8 bouts set for it, between Light Flyweight and Welterweight. We won't go into too much details for this show, though one bout that did catch out attention was the all debutant bout between Yuichi Ikeda (0-0) and Jop Mustafa Jom (0-0), who will be facing off at Welterweight. We expect this one will be a wild, and open brawl, with both men being youngsters each looking to kick off their career with an eye catching win. Maybe not an amazing bout, but it should be a very fan friendly one.
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA
We're not just getting unification bouts in Japan, as we also get a female world title bout in the US as Japanese female boxing legend Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7) takes on Marlen Esparza (11-1, 1) in a bout to unify the WBA and WBC female Flyweight titles. For Fujioka this bout comes following her US debut win over Sulem Urbina last year and given her age it really is now or never for her to to make a name internationally and a win over Esparza would see her improve her already very impressive resume and reputation. As for Esparza the bout will serve as her second defense of the title, and will see her looking to build on an excellent 2021, which saw her beating Ibeth Zamora Silva and Anabel Ortiz. Given the styles of the two women this could end up being a genuinely thrilling action bout. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Fujioka and Esparza clash in Flyweight unification!
Also on this card will be a bout between the unbeaten pairing of Katsuma Akitsugi (8-0, 1) and Gregory Morales (13-0, 8). Akitsugi is a US based Japanese fighter who debuted back in 2018 and has already ended a number of unbeaten streaks, beating Arnold Dinong (then 7-0), Eros Correa (then 10-0) and Rasheem Brown (then 11-0) in his last 4 bouts. Morales on the other hand is a Mexican born American fighter who beat former world champion Rodrigo Guerrero last year, but has been feasting on limited or smaller men and will be stepping up in class here.
Rizal, Laguna, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there's also a notable show in the Philippines, with a regional title bout in the headline bout, and several other notable contests. The show is certainly not a monster card, but it's a solid domestic level show for Pinoy fight fans.
The main event will see ArAr Andales (13-2, 5) take on Joey Canoy (17-5-1-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Minimumweight title, with Andales seeking his first defense of the title. Of the two men Andales is more well known, having challenged Knockout CP Freshmart in 2019, and he has bounced back from back to back losses, to win his last 3, including his title win in 2021 against Minh Phat Sam. Andales is still just 22 years old and seems destined for another world title fight down the line. As for Canoy, he is one of the many Filipino fighters who's record is misleading with numerous close and controversial losses and notable wins against the likes of Melvin Jerusalem and Toto Landero. Given what we know of the two men this should be a very good fight, with two men each looking to move towards a major bout later in the year.
In a main supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting Weljon Mindoro (6-0, 6) take on the limited Jerwin Mejes (4-6-6, 3), in a scheduled 8 rounder. Mindoro debuted in 2019 and has never been beyond round 3 in his short career, though in fairness he has only faced very low level competition and this is a notable step up in class for him. As for Mejes, who has one of the oddest looking records in the sport, he has gone 0-4-4 in his last 8 though has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and will need to be wary of Mindoro's power early on.
One other notable bout on this card will see the once touted Al Sabaupan (26-3-1, 21) face off with the very limited Jason Egera (24-23-3, 11), with Sabaupan looking to get his career back on track with just his second fight since 2017. He was once regarded as a genuinely bright hopeful for Filipino boxing, but losses to Marvin Quintero, in 2012, and Ricardo Dominguez, in 2013, ended much of the hype around him. Although he's been inactive in recent years, he should have too much for the very poor Egera.
Others on this card include unbeaten 25 year old Ryan James Racaza (11-0, 7), who takes on Monico Laurente (30-17, 7), and 26 year old Denmark Quibido (11-0-1, 6), who takes on Jovel Romasasa (10-19, 4), with the unbeaten men in these bouts expected to extend their unbeaten runs.
This coming Friday isn't a huge day for fans of Asian fighters, but there is plenty to get excited about, with several notable names, promising hopefuls and former world title challengers being involved.
York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom
One of the most interesting bouts sees touted Kazakh hopeful Tursynbay Kulakhmet (4-0, 3) defending his WBC International title against Juan Carlos Abreu (23-6-1, 21), in a mouth watering match up. There is not doubting Kulakhmet's potential, and he has looked fantastic at times, though is very much a developing fight and nothing close to the complete product, and we are really glad to see his team putting him in interesting match ups like this so early in his career. The 27 year old has the potential to fight at the top level and him being moved quickly is great to see. Abreu is no world beater, but he's heavy handed and has only been stopped once, by the then 25-0 Jaron Ennis, and a stoppage here would see Kulakhmet's reputation blossom rapidly.
Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, USA
Whilst Kulakhmet is being moved quickly the same can't be said of Chinese Light Heavyweight Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10), who was set for a world title fight in 2020, and has now been out of the ring for 2 years! Sadly his return isn't against someone who will prepare him for a world title contest, but instead he'll face Panama's Israel Duffus (20-6, 17) in what should be little more than a rust shaking, stay busy bout for the Chinese fighter.
Also on this card will be Japan prospects Mikito Nakano (5-0, 4) and Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1), who will be making their US debuts, against yet to be named opponents. Nakano looks like he could be in the mix for a domestic title in the very near future, and looks to be a genuinely special talent. Fujita, who debuted earlier this year, has the tools to be put on the fast track, and it's going to be very exciting to see what he does to impress an American audience.
Sanman Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Over in he Philippines we get an Asian show featuring several former world title challengers, in bouts that should end up being rather predictable and straight forward wins.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Aston Palicte (27-4-1, 23), who will be up against Roland Jay Biendima (15-9-1, 8). Palicte, best known for his bouts with Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka, should be too big, too strong and too powerful for Biendima, who has now lost 4 in a row. Palicte has won his last two, both at domestic level, and we suspect that the plan is to get some rounds here before stepping up in the new year and begin moving towards a third world title fight.
A second former world title challenger on this card is Richie Mepranum (35-8-1, 10), who will be up against the very limited Nicardo Calamba (9-32-5, 6). At his best Mepranum was a very solid boxer, but he's now been pout of the ring for close to two years and we can't help but feel his career is coming to a close. Despite that he should have way, way too much for Calamba here, and could end up retiring sooner rather than later.
A third world title challenger on this card is the incredibly talented Mark Anthony Barriga (10-1, 2), who is set to pick up an easy win here against the very, very limited Ramil Antaran (4-14-2). Barriga has the potential to win a world title, somewhere down the line, and should win this one very, very easily, but it's a real shame that he's fighting at such a low level. His talent deserves to much more, and hopefully in 2022 we see him facing off with one off the bigger names at either Minimumweight or Light Flyweight
Other mismatch with a notable fighter on this card will see the often under-rated Joey Canoy (16-5-1-1, 9) take on Michael Camelion (11-13-3, 9), in what again looks like a horrible mismatch. Canoy might not be a world beater, but he's not too far off world class and should be far, far, far too good for Camelion.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The next week or so set to be a good one in Tokyo, with three shows in 3 days at Korakuen Hall. The third of those is an Ohashi promoted event that is headlined by a fantastic main event, and has some very notable supporting bouts.
The fantastic main event will see WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (12-0, 7) take on OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) in a massive regional unification bout. The talented Mori has been on a great run recently, with recent wins against Richard Pumicpic, Takuya Mizuno and Tsuyoshi Tameda, but he is now set for his most dangerous bout. Shimizu on the other hand is a very dangerous fighter, but has continually looked crude, easy to hit and defensively flawed. Give the styles of the two men this should be a thrilling bout, and a real test of Mori's chin and patience, as well as a test to see whether Shimizu can adjust against a speedy smart fighter.
A second title bout on this show will see the unbeaten Kazuki Nakajima (9-0-1, 8) take on the under-rated Kai Chiba (13-1, 8) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title, which was given up by Takuma Inoue. Although not as interesting as the main event, this has the potential to be a fight that breaks into a war. Neither of these men are too well polished, though with Nakajima being a very puncher and Chiba being a boxer-puncher it has the potential to erupt into a war at any moment. We expect this to be slow at times, but once the touch paper is lit expect this to give us serious fireworks until one of the fighters forces a stoppage, and claim the title.
Third generation fighter Keisuke Matsumoto (2-0, 2) looks to build on his early development as he takes on Hiromu Murota (6-4-2, 4). The 21 year old Matsumoto has looked a mixed bag so far. He's clearly talented, but we do have questions about his defense and his durability, and it seems he's a work in progress. Despite that he's being matched tough here against Murota, who recently held former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seichi Okada to a draw and is unbeaten in his last 5. Matsumoto should win, but we expect to see Murota asking genuine questions of him here.
One other bout on this card worthy of some attention will see rising Lightweight hopeful Katsuya Yasuda (7-0, 4) battle against Tomoki Takada (8-5-2, 5), in a battle between two JBC ranked Lightweights. The 29 year old Yasuda is a legitimat talent, with under-dated defense and an excellent boxing brain, but he is also someone who has yet to be given the chances to shine, and is sadly getting older without having made much of an impact on the sport. Here against Takada we see Yasuda getting a chance to move towards a national title fight. As for Takada he is showing power recently and has scored 3 opening round in his last 5 bouts. We expect to see Takada's power going up against Yasuda's defense and counter punching here.
International Convention Centre, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there is also action in South Africa where Filipino fighter Joey Canoy (16-4-1-1, 9) takes on Nhlanhla Tyirha (4-1, 2), in a bout for the WBA Inter Continental Light Flyweight title. Although not too well known internationally Canoy is very much an under-rated fighter with wins against Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, but it's fair to say that Filipino fighters rarely have any luck in South Africa and that's unlikely to change here. Tyirha isn't a big name but he did give Nkosinathi Joyi a close run bout in 2019 and he's certainly someone with the potential to be a contender in the lower weights in the coming years.
Bryan Glazer Family JCC Auditorium, Tampa, Florida, USA
Over in Florida we're expecting to see a trio of Japanese hopefuls in action as Teiken and All Star promotions look to develop some of the best talented in Tokyo.
The most established of the trio is Mikito Nakano (5-0, 4), who has looked brilliant on the Japanese scene and is coming through the deep Featherweight and Super Featherweight ranks at home. Although not a complete fighter yet, he is developing well and this should be a good chance to see what he can do on foreign soil, though his opponent has yet to be named
Another man on this card is Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1), who looked fantastic on debut earlier this year and looks like the type of fighter of who can be moved incredibly quickly. There is clearly a lot of work for him to do with Fujita, but he's a very advanced fighter for a 1-0 boxer, and he seems to have the potential to go a very, very long way. He's skilled, has a high level boxing IQ and fighting over in the US will do him the world of good, especially this earlier in his career. Sadly however he also hasn't had his opponent named fro this event.
The third Japanese fighter on this show is the debuting Subara Murata (0-0), a former amateur stand out who is tipped to go to the top very quickly. Murata turned professional last year, but was unable to kick things off due to the Covid19 pandemic. It's a shame he's had to wait so long to make his debut, but given his style and amateur pedigree is seems almost certain that he's set to be a major success in the pros. As with his two countrymen he has not had his opponent named for this bout, but it's still great to see him making his debut, at long last!
This Saturday promises to be a great day with a brilliant Japanese card being shown live on Boxing Raise, and a live show being streamed from the Philippines!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
That Japanese card comes from Tokyo and features 4 bouts of note, none are world title bouts, but there are two less title bouts on the show, and a mouth watering domestic show down, as well as a bout featuring a former Japanese national champion.
In the main event OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (22-2, 7) will battle against fellow Japanese fighter Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9), with both Naito's OPBF title on the line. Coming in Naito will be the clear favourite, he's the more proven man, the Oriental champion and the quicker more skilled fighter. We shouldn't write off Konno however, and he's a big, strong, powerful fighter, with good stamina and he'll be desperate to force his will on Naito. This is very much a match up of skill Vs will and knowing that Konno will be pressing and pressuring through out we can't help feel that Konno is a very live under-dog here. Our full preview of this bout is available here Naito and Konno clash for OPBF title
The chief support bout is a mouth watering match up between youngsters as Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-2, 7) clash, in a truly brilliant match up. Kimura is coming in on the back of a split decision loss to OPBF 130lb champion Hironori Mishiro, which was a great clash last year, and he'll have given his standing and confidence a huge boost despite the lost. Incidentally Nakazato's sole loss also came to Mishiro, but since then he has gone 4-0-1 and will know a win here moves him to within touch distance of a title bout. We expect this to be highly technical but also really exciting with Kimura being the aggressor, applying calculated pressure and Nakazato looking to play the role of a puncher. We wouldn't be surprised if this was the bout of the week.
The other title bout promises to be just as good as the main event, with Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) defending his title against Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2), in what will be Takayama's first defense. Unlike most countries Japan matches their young up and comers against each other often and the Youth title has seen that happen more and more often in recent years. Prior to turning professional both of these youngsters had made their marks on the amateur scene and seeing them face off at this ultra-early point in their professional careers is really exciting. This is a hard one to call and we are expecting a brilliant, tactical, hard hitting battle here. A fantastic match up and credit to both men for accepting the bout. This should be something special. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Novices clash in Japanese Youth title clash!
Also on this card will be former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (15-5-1, 7), who is always worth watching. The all action Tamura will be expected to pick up a relatively easy win here, as he takes on Ryu Oba (5-4, 3), though in fairness Tamura makes even mismatches fun and exciting with his action style and aggression. Although Oba is the under-dog he'll have some confidence having won his last 2 and will be here to win. This should be fun, even if it does have a very predictable winner.
The restart in Filipino boxing has been a slow one, though we do get another show in the country today as Sanman puts on a card with several notable names on it.
The main event will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-3, 16) battle against Eden Sonsona (36-11-2, 13) in a bout at a contracted 132lbs, well above Tapales' best weight. This will be Tapales's first bout since losing to Ryosuke Iwasa in an IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title bout, and to see him going up the scales this much is a worry, though he should still have enough to beat Sonsona.
Another notable fighter on this card is 2-time world title challenger Aston Palicte (26-4-1, 22), who will be in action at Bantamweight, where he takes on Reymark Taday (10-12-1, 5), in what looks very much like a confidence builder for Palicte following 2 losses last year, including one to Kazuto Ioka.
Other notables involved on the show are Joey Canoy (15-4-1, 8) and the talented Dave Apolinario (13-0, 8), who are both facing domestic foes that they shouldn't struggle with.
This event is set to be streamed on the Sanman Facebook page for those wanting to enjoy some Filipino action.
Xi An, China
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in China. This is another low key Chinese card, as we still see the sport re-finding it's feet in the Middle Kingdom.
One of the few interesting bouts on this show will see Jin Ping Yang (2-0-1) take on Xiaokang Song (4-0) in a battle of unbeaten men, over 10 rounds. The 23 year old Yang made his debut in October 2018, with a 4 round decision, and stepped up to 6 rounders earlier this year. He's now leaping up to a 10 rounder in what is very, very clearly a step up in class. Song on the other hand is a 21 year old and has been a fighting in 4 rounders. This isn't an easy one to call, but is an interesting one on paper, and a somewhat compelling match up, given that the promoter is trusting the two men to headline the card.
In a second bout on this card Shichao Gao (5-1-1, 2) will take on JiZhong He (2-1, 1) over 8 rounds. We have been impressed by Gao in the past, and he seemed to be on the fast track to the top when he beat Koji Igarashi and Anurak Thisa last year, but a loss in June has slowed his rise. As for He it's hard to say anything at all about him given the very low level of competition he has faced so far, and this is a very, very big step up in class for him.
This coming Monday focus heads to a Kadoebi card at Korakuen Hall, where we get an OPBF title fight, a really good looking novice pro bout, and several decent supporting bouts.
The main event will see OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) making his first defense of the title, as he take on Thai challenger Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6), in what looks like a very, very soft first defense. Watanabe has mixed against stiff competition through his career, and last December's war with Nobuyuki Shindo was truly sensational, so for him to have an easy bout isn't too bad, but it is a weak title defense. To show how weak it is, Banti was stopped by Japanese novice Takuma Takahashi back in August. Our preview of this bout can be read here Does Watanabe get an easy first defense of OPBF crown?
Whilst the main event is a mismatch there is some really interesting action on this card, including a brilliant match up between Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) and Mikio Sakai (1-0). Despite both men being professional novices both were talented amateurs and they both looked great, albeit in very different ways, on their debut. Of the two Tomomatsu looks the more physical and stronger fighter, but the less technical, whilst Sakai has a flash and speedier look to him. This is a huge risk bout for both, and something to get very excited about.
In another interesting support bout we'll see the talented Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-1, 4) take on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (15-6-1, 10). Since moving over to the Kadoebi gym we've seen Kasuya show more some real development, and belief in his punching, and with 3 wins already this year he does now seem to have some momentum behind him. As for Sugita this is a real must win after going 4-4 in his last 8, including his two losses in Japanese title fights. As his best Sugita would favoured against the best we've seen from Kasuya, though it's unclear what Sugita still has left and how much more Kasuya can improve.
Another bout worth noting here will see talented youngster Yuki Nakajima (2-1, 2) look to bounce back from his first defeat as he takes on Yasuhiro Tanaka (6-4-2) in a good looking comeback bout. Nakajima was beaten back in August, by the excellent Ryu Horikawa and although he was beaten it wasn't a loss to be ashamed by and he's certainly not having an easy blow out here, despite Tanaka's record. Tanaka has proven to be a competitive fighter at the lower levels of the Japanese scene and went 5 rounds with the excellent Rikito Shiba last year. That will be the target for Nakajima, and if he can beat what Shiba did then we'll be impressed.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a notable card in Kazakhstan, though one that appears to have gone through a number of changes in recent days. The card is being hosted to celebrate Kazakhstan Independence day, and should be a great show if you're a Kazakh with a great array of Kazakh talent on the show.
Former world champion Hekkie Budler was originally announced for main event of this show, but it now appears that the main event will see Viktor Kotochigov (10-0, 4) take on Javier Jose Clavero (27-5, 5). On paper this looks like a good test for the unbeaten 26 old Kazakh, but in reality Clavero should be seen as a clear under-dog against an unbeaten prospect fighting in front of his home fans. This is a step up for Kotochigov, but one he will be be expected to win with out too many issues.
A solid supporting bout will see the highly touted Sultan Zaurbek (8-0, 6) take on China's Leshan Li (16-3-2, 9), in what is Zaurbek's first title bout as they face off for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight title. We've been wanting to see Zaurbek take a step up for a while and this is exactly the sort of bout that should tell us more about the talented 23 year old. Impressive Zaurbek will be fighting for the 6th time in 2019. As for Li he's unbeaten in 3, but has yet to score a win of note in his 21 bout career.
Other fighters on this card include an array of Central Asian prospects and hopefuls. They include 22 year old American based Kazakh Iskander Kharsan (7-0, 6), 2-time Olympian Khurshid Tojibaev (3-0, 2) and 2016 Olympic champion Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4).
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see another bout in the excellent Philippines Vs South Africa rivalry. This time around it'll be unheralded Filipino Joey Canoy (15-3-1, 8) taking on South African Nkosinathi Joyi (28-5-1-1, 19) in a bout for the IBO Minimumweight title. On paper Joyi will be the favourite, the former IBF world champion is the more proven and more experienced man, however Canoy will be confident of picking up the win, in what is his third visit to South Africa, and he'll be boosted by John Riel Casimero's recent win against Zolani Tete.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Thsi coming Saturday our attention turns to the Philippines where we see a number of notable fighters featuring on a hot of notable names, including 3 former amateur standouts.
One of the main bouts on this card will see 27 year old Mark Anthony Geraldo (37-9-3, 18) battle against Neil John Tabanao (17-5, 11) in a battle for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo will be making his first defense of the title, and despite only being 27 this will be his 50th professional bout. Tabanao comes into this bout on the back of a loss to Angelo Leo, in the US in April, but had won his previous 4 and is 14-1 in the Philippines. This could be a very competitive contest.
The most notable of the amateur fighters on this show is Charlie Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a notable step up in class to take on Indonesian journeyman Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. The 30 year old Suarez really does need to look good in a bout like this to push his career along, as he is simply too old to waste time, and we're glad this is his 3rd bout in 4 months. Hopefully a win here will be followed by something more meaningful in the near future. Sabu scored a shock win last time he was in the Philippines, but has since suffered back to back losses and is 3-8 in his last 11.
The under-rated Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) will be looking to pick up a couple of low level regional titles as he takes on Frans Damur Palue (15-22-3, 10), from Indonesia. The talented Canoy is a real talent and is expected to go far with his career. This bout will be for the WBA Asia and WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Minimumweight titles, and we can't help but think that Canoy will make light work of Palue and begin to target more meaningful titles in the near future.
As well as Saurez fans if the Filipino amateur scene will also be happy to heat that Criztian Pitt Laurente (1-0, 1) and Criz Russu Laurente (1-0,1 ), who are brothers, are scheduled for this show. Both were very good amateurs and both could be fast tracked, despite both only being teenagers. These are two super hot Filipino prospects to make a note of.
The Taisei gym put on a notable card this coming Sunday with two youth title fights, as well as a contest featuring a former world title contender. It's not a huge card by any stretch but is a notable one.
The more interesting of the two Japanese Youth title fights will see the talented but light punching pair of Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) and Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2) battle for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. On paper this looks pretty competitive, and although almost certain to go the distance we should see some real skills on show. Both fighters are talented boxer, and we're not expecting a tear up, but we should see a lot of skill in the ring, with both fighters being smart and understanding their role in the ring. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Matsuoka and Osato battle for Youth Featherweight title!
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) face off with Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title, which has been vacated by the excellent Junto Nakatani. The bout isn't an amazing looking one, but given both fighters are flawed it should at least be evenly contest, and if bot Matsuoka's win they would be the first twins to pick up Japanese Youth titles together. This is one of those bouts where we expect to be better than it looks on paper, and could end up being pretty explosive if we're being honest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Matsuoka and Ota battle for vacant Youth Flyweight title
Also on this card is former world title challenger Riku Kano (13-4-1, 7), who looks to be in a confidence building fight against Takayuki Teraji (9-16-1, 4). There was a time when Kano was seen as one of the brightest young prospects in Japan, but losses to Katsunari Takayama, Jerry Tomogdan and Shin Ono in his last 6 bouts have taken the gloss off his potential. Teraji usually puts up a good fight at domestic level, but has come up short against every notable fight he's faced, such as Sho Kimura and Reiya Konishi and will be expect to lost a decision here.
As well as the Taisei card there will also be a show in Aichi, thanks to Green promotions
Overall this is a really weak card, but we do like the look of the main event, which will see the once beaten Masanori Rikiishi (3-1, 2) taking on Genki Maeda (6-3-1, 2). This is a fantastic match up between two Japanese fighters both looking to score a solid domestic win to end a year which has been disappointing. Rikiishi's disappointment came when he was stopped by Kosuke Saka whilst Maeda was stopped in a Japanese title fight by Shuichiro Yoshino, and the fight between these two should be hotly contested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a bout of note in South Africa, as Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) challenges IBO Minimumweight champion Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7). The Filipino doesn't have an amazing record, but does hold very notable wins over both Toto Landero and Melvin Jerusalem, showing he can compete against world class fighters, though has been stopped twice and perhaps has question marks about his chin. Khonco, who also has a misleading record due to losing 4 of his first 10 bouts, is riding a 4 fight winning run since a 2015 loss to Hekkie Budler. Those wins have included victories over Nkosinathi Joyi and Toto Landero. We suspect home advantage will play a key factor in this bout, but it should still be very competitive.
In recent weeks we've seen action pick up with a series of great bouts taking place last weekend. We expect to see that trend continue this weekend with a notable show in Japan.
The main event of the card is the first of the 2017 Champion Carnival bouts and sees Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-8, 8) defending his title against big punching Watanabe gym fighter Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9), who is looking to avenge one of his defeats. These two fought back at the end of 2015 with Ishimoto just doing enough to take a decision over the younger and bigger punching Kuga, and claim the Japanese title. Kuga has since impressed and earned this rematch by stopping Jonathan Baat in 4 rounds. Ishimoto has impressed recently, and stopped Gakuya Furuhashi last time out, but at 35 one wonders how long he has left in the sport.
In the chief support bout we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (11-0, 11) fight in a non-title fight with one beaten Filipino Diomel Diocos (10-1-3, 3), who was a late replacement for journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-12, 4). Although Higa will be strongly favoured against Diocos the bout should be a good warm up for Higa ahead of a potential world title fight later this year. Whilst Higa will be expected to steam roll Diocos this should still tell us a lot about both fighters, and their potential.
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Teiken promoted Super Featherweight Masaru Sueyoshi (13-1, 8) take on the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Allan Vallespin (9-0, 8). Sueyoshi comes into this bout having won his last 10 bouts, with notable wins against Yuta Nagai, Shingo Eto and Kazuma Sanpei, but will be up against an unbeaten banger here. For Vallespin, the GAB champion at 130lbs, this will be his first taste of international action and potentially a chance to make a statement. Although it seems like he's a puncher this will be the first real test of Vallespin's power and a real acid test for the 22 year old Pinoy puncher.
In a possible shoot out we'll see 20 year old Yamato Hata (3-0, 3) battle against Takuya Hashimoto (5-5, 5). To date neither of these men has heard the final bell, with Hata having never been past round 3 and Hashimoto only going into the 4th round once. Hata will be favoured, given he's unbeaten, but he's up against a fellow puncher and this could be genuinely explosive.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see Filipino fighter Joey Canoy (12-2-1, 6) fighting for the IBO Light Flyweight title. The 23 year old Filipino will be in deep as he takes on former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (30-2, 9),who is looking to rebuild his career at 108lbs. The South African lost his Minimumweight crown last March to Byron Rojas and has since moved up in weight, scoring a big domestic win over Siyabonga Siyo, and will now be looking to become a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion, reclaiming a title he held from 2010-2011.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Japan's Hajime Nagai (14-7-2, 4) take on former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (20-4-1, 13). The bout is a massive step up in class for Nagai, but wins over Gakuya Furuhashi and Naoya Okamoto show he has got some ability. For Rodriguez the bout will be his first against a Japanese fighter since his incredible 2014 bout against Katsunari Takayama.
London, United Kingdom
In the UK we see Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (32-10-4, 15) battle against fast rising Welshman Andrew Selby (7-0, 5). The bout is a huge step up for Selby, in regards to his professional competition, but his amateur credentials speak for themselves and he will be heavily favoured here. Diale, who has been in with a who's who of boxing, is only 7 months removed from his 4th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa, but has fought twice since that loss and appears to have avoided lasting damage from that loss.
There isn't much action this Sunday but there is a couple of former world title challengers in action
For us the more notable of the two shows comes from Japan as Senrima Kobe Promotions put on a show at the Kobe Art Center.
In the main event former IBF Super Flyweight contender Teiru Kinoshita (21-1-1, 5) will be battling against Cyborg Nawatedani (9-2-2, 4). This will be Kinoshita's 3rd bout since losing to Zolani Tete but it is a considerable step up from the last two opponents that Kinoshita has faced, who were both limited Thai's. Nawatedani comes in to this bout 8-0-1 in his last 9 bouts and has scored some solid wins, including a decision over Junichi Ebisuoka.
The co-feature here is the only other bout of real interest and sees veteran Kento Matsushita (33-9-6, 13) battle novice professional Ken Osato (6-1, 3). Coming in this one Matsushita is a former multi-time Japanese title challenger who knows that he cannot afford to suffer another loss if he's to get another title fight. As for Osato he has won back-to-back fights following a an opening round KO loss to Shohei Fujimoto, but this is a huge step up in class for him
As well as the action in Japan there is also some action in the Philippines.
The man event here will see former world title challenger Jerry Tomogdan (17-6-3, 9) battle against Joey Canoy (9-1-1, 3). This will be Tomogdan's first bout since he came up short against WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin earlier this year. On paper Tomogdan should be favoured but Canoy will be coming in to this bout looking to avenge his sole defeat and may well feel he has a real point to prove.
Another bout of note on this card will feature unbeaten prospect Ardie Boyose (15-0-2, 11) battle Phil Angcamor (13-23-3, 7). Boyose is a promising puncher and should pick up his 12th stoppage win here, though we are hoping to see him step up in class in the near future.
(Image courtesy of www.boxmob.jp)