Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Friday we get the next Ohashi promoted show, and it's a really good one, with an excellent main event, and 3 very noteworthy supporting bouts.
The main event is a very anticipated WBO Minimumweight world title bout, which will see Masataka Taniguchi (15-3, 10) make his first defense of the title he won late last year, and take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9), in the second bout between the two men. These two fought back in 2019, with Taniguchi taking a hard fought but clear win over Ishizawa. Since that first bout Taniguchi has gone 3-0 (3) and won the Japanese and WBO title, with his biggest wins so far coming last year when he stopped Wilfredo Mendez for the WBO title. As for Ishizawa he has gone 4-0 (3) since losing to Taniguchi, with his most notable win coming last time out when he stopped Katsuki Mori for the Japanese title. Given how good their first bout was, and the styles the two men employee, this should be a genuinely excellent bout and an action bout between two men who each really want to prove a point. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Taniguchi seeks first WBO title defense in rematch against Ishizawa!
In the chief support bout we'll see the fast rising Yoshiki Takei (3-0, 3) take part in his 4th professional boxing bout, as he takes a huge step up and battles against Shingo Kawamura (15-8-4, 8). So far Takei, who first made his name as a kick boxer, has taken out his first 3 opponents inside the opening round. He was a very, very good kick boxer, and is now looking like one of the most dangerous prospects in Japanese boxing, with brutal power, very good technique and a significant amount of combat sport experience. Kawamura on the other hand is an experienced 31 year old who has twice challenged for OPBF titles, being stopped by Satoshi Shimizu in 4 rounds and Hiroaki Teshigawara in 6 rounds. Given Takei's power this could be over quickly, though if Kawamura can see out the first few rounds this could get interesting.
Another unbeaten prospect on this card is third generation fighter Keisuke Matsumoto (4-0, 4), who takes a notable step up in class as he battles Morihisa Iju (11-5, 9). The talented Matsumoto, who has had his name circulated in Japanese boxing circles since he was competing in the Under 15 tournaments, did look shaky at times early in his career, but has progressed nicely in his last two bouts, and appears to be developing really well, likely why his team have stepped him up in such a notable fashion here. Aged 33 Iju is no world beater in the making, but he has respectable power, and is tough, having not been stopped since his 6th bout. Iju has been inactive recently, and has lost his last 3, but is rugged, and a genuinely good test for the 22 year old Matsumoto at this point in the youngster's career.
Also on this card is a potential shoot out, as the hard hitting, yet frustrating, Jin Sasaki (11-1, 10) takes on Marcus Smith (7-1-1, 7) in an 8 round Welterweight bout. An 8 round bout that really isn't expected to go the distance. The 20 year old Sasaki started his career 11-0 (10) before losing last time out against Andy Hiraoka in a in a bout for the WBO Asia Asia Pacific and Japanese Light Welterweight title, with Sasaki missing weight as well as looking lacklustre through the bout. The result was a disappointing one, for one of the most fan-friendly young prospects in Japan. Here he is moving up in weight but is up against a naturally bigger fight who's also a puncher. Smith, a Japanese based American born fighter, has shown nasty power of his own, and has also shown a good chin, going 8 rounds with Koki Inoue in 2018. Sadly Smith has been out of the ring for over 2 years, but he will come into this knowing it's a huge opportunity for him to make up for lost time against a popular young banger.
Echo Arena, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
As well as the interesting show in Japan we are also set to see WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) make his long awaited mandatory title defense against English fighter Paul Butler (33-2, 15). This bout was supposed to take place in 2021 before Casimero had to pull out, on the week of the fight, due to illness. Butler had a chance to fight for the interim title, but turned it down, and as a result both men are now essentially forced into facing each other. If Casimero fails to fight he will be stripped and if Butler pulls out or misses weight he will miss out on being the mandatory challenger. In this right this will be a case of Casimero's wild power, and freakish ability to hurt fighters, against Butler's slippery technical, boxing. Sadly though it does feel like an under-whelming fight in one of the sports best divisions Our preview of this fight, which was done for the original date of the bout, can be read here Casimero defends WBO crown against Butler in mandatory defense
This coming Saturday is almost certainly the busiest day we've had this year with a number of world title bouts across the globe, as well as top prospects and a a highly anticipated return to the ring of a former 3-weight world champion. This is a crazy weekend it is one to get very, very excited about.
Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Arguably the most notable card, at least for us, is in Dubai where we see two Philippines Vs UK world title, as well as the next step towards a major bout for a Filipino icon.
One of the world title bouts will see hard hitting WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) make a mandatory defense of his title as he takes on Englishman Paul Butler (33-2, 15), himself a former IBF Bantamweight champion. Coming in to this Casimero is a huge favourite, though he has often blown hot and cold and Butler will go into the bout knowing that a loss here ends any hope he has of becoming a 2-time world champion. It's a must win for Butler, if he's to remain relevant, and a must win for Casimero if he's ever going to get a showdown with either Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Casimero defends WBO crown against Butler in mandatory defense
The other world title fight on this show will see IBF Flyweight champion Sunny Edwards (16-0, 4) make his first defense, in a mandatory against unbeaten Filipino Jayson Mama (16-0, 9). Mama was supposed to get a world title shot at Moruti Mthlane last year, before the authorities in South Africa refused to sanction the event, he was then supposed to fight Edwards earlier this year, before Edwards pulled out. Coming in to this Edwards is the clear favourite, and the slippery English fighter will feel full of confidence for his first world title defense, however it's certainly not a foregone conclusion. Our preview of this bout, from the original date, can be read here Jayson Mama gets crack at IBF champion Sunny Edwards!
Another notable bout on this card will see Filipino icon Donnie Nietes (43-1-5, 23) battle against Norbelto Jimenez (30-9-5, 16), in what is essentially a must win bout for both men. At 39 years old Nietes is ancient for a Super Flyweight, but he has made it clear he wants a super fighter before he retires and wants to face the likes of Roman Gonzalez. For that to happen he needs to get past Jimenez. As for Jimenez, he is a multi-time world title challenger himself, and shouldn't be over-looked here, despite the fact he will be a very, very clear under-dog.
Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson, California, USA
Another major card will take place in California, where we see another world title bout, and a world title eliminator, in what could end up being a very, very explosive night of action.
The world title bout will see WBC Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27) defending his title against mandatory challenger Reymart Gaballo (24-0, 20) in a rare All-Filipino world title fight. Of the two men Donaire is the much more proven, and established fighter, however at the age of 39 he is well past the typical prime of a fighter, and that's ignoring the type of incredible career he's had, and the punishment he's taken at times, including his hellacious 2019 bout with Naoya Inoue. Gaballo on the other is a young up and comer who has got power and speed, but did look less than stellar last time out, when he took a controversial decision over Emmanuel Rodriguez, and he'll be desperate to show what he can do, and rip the title, and proverbial torch, from Donaire. Given the style of the two men involved, this should be a brutal fire fight. Our in depth preview of this fight can be read here WBC champion Donaire faces Gaballo in all Filipino world title bout!
Talking about fire-fights we're expecting another of those in a main supporting bout, as Japan's Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) fights outside of Japan for the first time, and takes on former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (34-3, 17) in what could be the sleeper of the weekend. Teshigawara is known in Japan, and has carved out a successful career at Korakuen Hall, where he has built himself a cult following, and he'll know that a win here helps set him up for a potential world title fight in 2022. Tapales on the other hand is more well known, in part due to his amazing bout with Pungluang Sor Singyu and his two wins over Shohei Omori. Despite the past Tapales didn't look great in 2019, when he beaten up and stopped by Ryosuke Iwasa, and Teshigawara will be looking to score a repeat of that outcome here.
KRK “Uralets”, Ekaterinburg, Russia
We get yet another world title fight over in Russia, as we actually get quite an interesting card from Ekaterinburg.
The world title bout on this card is a really good looking bout which will see Dmitry Bivol (18-0, 11) defending his WBA Light Heavyweight "super" title against the once beaten Umar Salamov (26-1, 19). On paper this is a mouth watering match up, but sadly it's becoming harder and harder to get excited about Bivol bouts in recent years. It's clear he is an exceptional boxer, but like a handful of other world champions he's unwilling to roll the decide and put on a show, event against opponents that he should be comfortable seeing off. Salamov is an interesting challenger, who has shown some power, and a willingness to throw heavy shots, but he's also the sort of fighter that Bivol should be able to shine against. Salamov is hard hitting but open, crude, and there to be countered, something Bivol should be able to do at will, if he chooses to. Our preview of this fight can be read here Bivol defends WBA crown against Salamov!
In a major supporting bout former world title challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12) will be looking to bounce back from his frustrating draw with Jo Jo Diaz as he takes on the unbeaten Rilwan Oladosu (16-0, 8). Rakhimov showed he belonged in the mix at world level, and hopefully 2022 will bring him a second world title bout, potentially against Kenichi Ogawa. Oladosu on the other hand is a Nigerian fighter with a nice looking record, but one that doesn't really stand up to much scrutiny and this will be his first bout outside of Nigeria. Oladosu could be a rare Nigerian fighter to get excited about, but we suspect he's there to make Rakhimov look good instead.
Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
As well as the world class men in action, we'll also be seeing a world class woman in action, as undisputed female Lightweight champion Katie Taylor (19-0, 6) defends all her titles against Kazakh challenger Firuza Sharipova (14-1, 8). On paper this one looks good, but in reality this should be little more than a public showcase for Taylor, one of the best female fighters on the planet, with Sharipova not fit to lace her boots. We know Taylor has beaten almost everyone of note at Lightweight, but they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they really think Sharipova will give her anything resembling a fighter. Our preview of this major female bout is available here Taylor defends unified crown against Sharipova
International Conference Hall, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Away from world title action we're set for a really good bout in Japan as former 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) looks to bounce back from his 2020 loss to Kazuto Ioka, by taking on Ioka's former stable mate Sho Ishida (29-2, 15), himself a former world title challenger. This bout, being dubbed a "survival bout" in Japan, is a really interesting match up and will put the speed and aggression of Tanaka against the long and gangly frame of Ishida, with both men knowing they can't afford a loss, especially not if they intend to get a big fight any time soon. Tanaka will go into the bout as the favourite, though we do need to wonder what his loss to Ioka, and the loss of his unbeaten record, will have done to him. As for Ishida, a win here could potentially set him up for a second world title fight.
Staying in Asia we also get a compelling card in Kazakhstan, where we see some very highly touted prospects in action.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will be a Cruiserweight bout between the very highly touted Kamshybek Kunkabayev (3-0, 3) and Steven Ward (13-1, 4), who clash for the vacant WBA "Gold" Cruiserweight title. Kunkabayev, a former amateur stand out, has hardly put a foot wrong in his first 3 bouts, but this is a step up in class against someone who will be in the ring to win, rather than to collect a pay check or just survive. Sadly for Ward he is the naturally smaller man and he was stopped just 2 fights ago, however he will come in to this hungry and should be a genuine test for the promising Kunkabayev.
Also on this card will be a number of top Kazakh prospects, such as Talgat Shayken (6-0, 4) Sultan Zaurbek (11-0, 7) and Ray Seitzhanov (8-0, 5) who will all be looking to pick up wins and move their career forward.
Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson, California, USA
The big fight this coming Saturday comes from Carson California, and it's a biggie as WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21) takes on Cuban veteran Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1-0-1, 13) in a really interesting match up that could decide the who faces Naoya Inoue in 2022. Coming in Casimero has been brash in his insults towards the Japanese monster, but left himself open to criticism regarding drug testing for this bout, which saw Nonito Donaire pull out of a scheduled clash with his fellow Filipino. Rigondeaux right now needs to win to remain relevant in the sport, and being the wrong side of 40 a loss is almost certainly the end of his career. Saying that however Casimero could well be seen as being to order for the Cuban, with Casimero being open, overly aggressive, wild and there to be countered, something that should play into Ridondeaux's hands. Regardless of who wins here, this should be explosive and one of the most entertaining Rigondeaux fights, which admittedly isn't saying much. Our full preview of this one can be read here WBO champion Casimero takes on Rigondeaux
MTI National Headquarters, Bangalore, India
There is also a really low key show in India, with a number of very low profile bouts on the show. One of the few worthy of note is a contest between the wonderfully named Harsh Purohit (0-3) and the unbeaten Rohit (1-0), who face off in a 6 rounder at 154lbs. The 27 year old Purohit has been stopped in all 3 of his professional bouts, with the most recent coming more than 2 years ago, whilst Rohit fought his only pro bout last year, picking up a decision win.
This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for fans of Asian fighters with 3 different world title bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place on 3 continents. Not only do we have 3 world title bouts but we also get a bout featuring a former world champion and a fighter returning after more than 6 years out of the ring.
BT Sport Studio, Stratford, London, United Kingdom
The most interesting of the world title bouts comes from London, England, where Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13), aka Apinun Khongsong, will challenger IBF and WBA Light Welterweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12). The Thai enters as the IBF mandatory title challenger, having earned that shot last year, but he will be regarded as a huge under-dog against the very talent Scottish world champion. For the Thai the bout is a massive step up in class, and despite stopping Akihiro Kondo last year there is still a lot of questions for him to answer. As for Taylor he is regarded by many as the #1 in the division and comes into this on the back of his victory over Regis Prograis in the WBSS final last October. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Thai takes on unified champion Taylor!
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
The second most notable world title fight will see WBO Bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero (29-4, 20) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Duke Micah (24-0, 19) in the US. Originally the plan had been for Casimero to take on Naoya Inoue, to unify the WBO, IBF and WBA titles, but due to the on going situation the two men have gone in different directions. That opened the door for this bout with Casimero taking on the relatively unknown Micah. For Casimero this is a chance to build on his 2019 upset win over Zolani Tete, when he stopped the South African in the UK to claim his title, whilst Micah will be looking to make his mark on the highest level and adding some quality to quite a weak record. Although Casimero will be the favourite he is inconsistent and the last few months have been very frustrating ones for him, so this could end up being more interesting than many predict. Our full preview of this can be read here Casimero defends against the unbeaten Micah
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
In Hyogo we get a card from Shinsei who don't just have a world title bout on the card, but also two interesting support bouts. For those wanting to watch this show it will be streamed on BOXING REAL.
The main event of the card will see former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) take on Takashi Igarashi (13-4, 5). This will be Kubo's first since being stopped by Can Xu last year and it's fair to say that he can't afford any more losses if he's to get another world title fight. Thankfully for him this is actually a very winnable contest, where he should be favoured. Although Igarashi has a similar looking record to Kubo he was beaten last time out by Toshiya Yokogawa, who had more losses than wins, and that bout was almost 2 years ago. Igarashi has been in active and hasn't scored a single win of any real note.
The world title bout here is actually the co-feature and will see WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) defending her title against fellow Japanese fighter Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1). Iwakawa won the title in July 2018, when she beat Nao Ikeyama, but sadly hasn't defended it, due to a lack of challengers. Now, more than 2 years on, the 37 year old looks to extend her reign and finally get a defense under her belt. For Suzuki this is a shot that she should feel fortunate to get given that just 18 months ago she did lose to the then 2-0 Eri Matsuda. Thankfully for the challenger she has picked up a couple of wins since then and has done enough to earn a shot at a champion who really needed a challenger. At the age of 28 this could be a case of right time, right place for Suzuki. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Iwakawa defends WBO title against Suzuki.
One other bout on this card worthy of a mention will be the ring return of Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14), more than 6 years after his last bout. The former Japanese Bantamweight champion will be up against 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) in a 6 rounder. At his best Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya" would be very strongly favoured, but having bout of the ring for so long we really do wonder what he has left in the tank here. Sadly for Minato since winning Rookie of the Year he has gone 0-2 and and he is the naturally smaller man, being a natural Flyweight. This is really a case of "what does Oba have left?" If he's 80% of the fighter he once was he should take a win, but 6 years out is a very, very long time.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the Japanese we also get an interesting bout in Thailand where Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) will take on veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-6, 10) in a rematch between the two men who fought in 2018. Originally Atchariya was supposed to face teenage sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 5), but sadly Phoobadin was injured and has been replaced by Kaewfah. Whilst this bout does give Kaewfah a chance to avenge his 2018 loss it should be noted that Atchariya has got a point to make, following a wrongful arrest in 2019, and could be out there to make statement and get something off his chest.
This coming Saturday is a crazy one for fight fans following Asian fighters with bouts all over the globe!
West Midlands, United Kingdom
The highest profile bout takes place in the UK as South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21) takes on Filipino fighter John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19) to unify the WBA and WBO interim Bantamweight titles. For Tete the bout will see him back in action for the first time since a messy bout in October 2018 with Mikhail Aloyan whilst Casimero will be looking to score a 5th straight T/KO. Both men have a point to prove and both will know that a win here helps take them one step closer to a divisional super fight with WBA/IBF champion Naoya Inoue. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero takes on Tete for WBO title!
Monte Carlo, Monaco
We get a bit of a strange one in Monaco, where unbeaten Chinese southpaw Zhilei Zhang (20-0, 16) takes on Ukraine's Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20) in a clash of Heavyweight hopefuls. For Zhang this will be his first bout in over a year, as he looks to make up for lost time, and to try and get things back on track after previous issues with a visa. As for Rudenko, he has taken this bout as a late replacement for Sergey Kuzmin, and it's unclear how prepared he will be for this. This is a must win for both men, who are now both in their 30's, and it will be very, very hard to see the loser making any sort of a mark on the sport going forward.
In the US fans will be able to see unbeaten Japanese hopeful Andy Hiraoka (14-0, 9) make his American debut, as he takes on American foe Rogelio Casarez (13-8, 5). The talented Hiraoka, who has trained in the US in the past, will be going into this with a lot of confidence following a career best win over Akihiro Kondo in July but Casarez is a tough guy and will be expecting to take Hiraoka the scheduled 8 rounds here.
Top Rank continue their toe-dipping in China with another show alongside SECA, and this one features quite a lot of notable Chinese prospects.
One of those Chinese prospects will be Lei Wang (4-0, 2), who takes on Filipino foe Marlon Paniamogan (10-1-1, 5) in a bout for the WBO Great China Light Welterweight title. For Wang this will be his third bout this year, and he'll be looking to build momentum as we head into the new year. For Paniamogan this will be his second bout since losing to Kuntae Lee in July. On paper this is a really interesting match up and one we're looking forward to.
Another interesting match up on this show will see the unbeaten Yongqiang Yang (12-0, 9) take on JR Magboo (18-3-2, 9). The 27 year old Yang is one of Chinese boxing brightest hopes, and wins over Takuya Watanabe, Harmonito Dea Torre and Ernie Sanchez have really shown he can hang with good fighters. Sadly he spent more than a year away from action, which slowed his rise, but he is certainly someone who deserves some real attention. At his best Magboo was an decent hopeful, but with 3 losses in his last 5 bouts it's hard to see him putting up much of a test for Yang, who has the tools to go a very long way.
There will also be a show in Taiwan, featuring a pair of notable Japanese fighters.
In one of the main bouts former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-5-1, 6) will be up against Indonesian foe Moensaku Yor (6-5-1, 4). The hard hitting Tamura has had a very mixed year, with a career defining win in January over Mugicha Nakagawa being followed by back to back losses to Yusaku Kuga and Gakuya Furuhashi. Despite the losses Tamura will be strongly favoured here against Yor, who has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 bouts.
The other notable name on this show is boxing-policeman Daisuke Sugita (5-1, 3), who looks to defend his WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title against Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (18-42-8, 6). This will be Sugita's first defense of the title he won in August when he beat Crison Omayao, and he'll be strongly favoured here against Berwela. Despite being the big under-dog Berwela will be expected to take Sugita rounds, and the Filipino has only been stopped in 7 of his 42 losses with the most recent stoppage coming more than 3 years ago against Michael Dasmarinas.
Ulsan, South Korea
Another Asian show will be taking place in South Korea. Like many Korean cards this is a pretty low key show, but the main event deserves some attention as unbeaten local Sung Jae Jo (10-0, 8) takes on Indian visitor Deepak Tanwar (4-0, 2). This will be Jo's 4th bout of the year, and he's moving forward with his career. Tanwar however has been inactive for almost 3 years and it's hard to imagine him putting up much of a fight here.
We also have a bout of interest in Australia as the rugged but limited John Ruba (19-6-1, 10), from Indonesia, takes on unbeaten Australian Ben Mahoney (8-0, 4) for the IBO Asian Pacific title at Light Middleweight. Ruba is no world beater but he has gone the distance with Sadriddin Akhmedov and Mahoney will be expected to earn his win here.
This weekend is a big one for fans of Asian boxing! The biggest show comes from Aichi on Saturday but that's not all we have, with notable action in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Russia!
The big card in Aichi, will be headlined by a world title fight, and will have support bouts featuring a fast rising local prospect and a former world title challenger. It's not a monster card, but it is a very good one.
The main event will see 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending the WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13). For Tanaka this will be his second defense of the title he took from Sho Kimura last year, and sees him looking to build on his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year. For Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and finally a chance for him to live up to the potential he showed as an amateur. This should be a really high speed and very technical bout, but the champion will clearly be the favourite. Interestingly if Tanaka wins there are murmurs he could be set for another step up in weight and another world title. Our preview of this world title bout can be read here Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting and wonderfully exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) take on world ranked Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). The unbeaten Hatanaka has needed just 32 rounds to get to 9-0 and already looks like he's a star in the making with major titles clearly in his future. On paper Abcede should be a straight forward step up for Hatanaka hwever the Filipino is no push over and he has regularly proven to be a banana skin, with upset wins against the likes of Pigmy Kokietgym, Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really good test for Hatanaka. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hatanaka steps up in class for Abcede test!
Another notable name in a supporting role is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), who will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Carlos Castro back in February. The talented Japanese based Filipino is getting a clear confidence builder here as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3), in a clear mismatch. Don't be surprised if this one ends very early!
A much more interesting match up on this card will see the limited but hard hitting Kanta Fukui (6-2, 5) take on the very talented and promising Shuma Nakazato (8-1-2, 6). Fukui came runner up in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, losing a razor thin decision to Takuya Ota in the final. Since then he has bounced back with a single win, but will be stepping up massively here. The 22 year old Nakazato is genuine talent, and someone who should be on the radar of hardcore Japanese. He's the son of former world title challenger Shigeru Nakazato, and has already held his own with Hironori Mishiro, losing a competitive decision to the current OPBF champion and beaten Lorence Rosas. Although in the middle of the card this is a very interesting match up, and one that could end in explosive fashion.
Also on this card will be Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) who battles in an 8 round bout against Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Wahid impressed us, in some ways, this past May when he stood and took a 6 round pounding from Lap Cheon Cheong in Hong Kong, and he showed his bravery. We suspect that Wahid will again have to be brave, but can't see him lasting 8 round here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we also get a notable card in Metro Manila, featuring a great mix of fighters from world class to prospect level.
The world title bout, or rather the WBO "interim" world title bout, will see John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) defend his Interim Bantamweight title against the limited Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11). The talented Casimero, a true road warrior, won the title in April and will be looking to make his first defense here. Ramirez is yet to prove he belongs any where near world level, especially in this talent stacked division that we currently have. Although can blow hot and cold, it's hard to imagine him really being tested here. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero set to face Ramirez in first interim title defense
In a pretty interest all Filipino bout between regional contender types we'll see Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5). Astrolabio will be defending the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, which he won in Indonesian back in April, for the first time. Aserniero on the other hand will be looking to stretch a 4 fight unbeaten run.
The most notable prospect on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a big step up in class to face the under-rated Virgil Puton (17-12-2, 8). The 30 year old Suarez, who made his debut in January, will be looking to get his career back on track after a 5 month break from action. He's incredibly talented, but doesn't have time to waste. In Puton we have a true regional journeyman, who picks up losses, but pushes good fighters, such as Ye Joon Kim and Shuya Masaki. This is a tough test for Suarez, but one he must pass if he's to make any noise at all in the pro ranks.
Amazing we'll have a third world title fight, with WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) making his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) in Puerto Rico. The under-rated champion, who won the belt in July 2018, was successful this past February when he beat Masataka Taniguchi in his first defense and now fights outside of Asia for the first time. Although not a major global name Saludar is very talented, heavy handed and has under-rated boxing skills. For Mendez this will be his first world title fight, and it looks like a massive step up in class for the talented, though rather negative, Puerto Rican hopeful. This could be a very interesting clash of styles, though will of course be over-shadowed by the other world title bouts earlier in the day. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Vic Saludar and Wilfredo Mendez clash for WBO title!
In Russia we get a pretty big card headlined by Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. Although that bout doesn't have an Asian interest the under-card does, and it has quite a few in fact with several different bouts featuring an unbeaten Central Asian fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the Central Asian hopefuls on this card is the always fun to watch Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0, 7) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Originally he was pencilled in to face off with Sibusiso Zingange (13-3-2, 3), though Zingange was removed from the bout and at the time of writing, his replacement hasn't been named. Uulu, whilst flawed, would have been strongly favoured to beat the South African.
Another really interesting bout will see Uzbek Super Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) risk his WBC Silver title against once beaten Russian Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5). The talented Uzbek has been out of the ring since beating Wuzhati Nuerlang last November, and has lost much of the early momentum his career once had. Despite that he will be favoured over the 34 year old Sirotkin, who is best known for being stopped last October by John Ryder in the UK.
Unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Erzhan Turgumbekov (6-0-1, 2) looks to bounce back from a draw against Javokhirbek Karimov just a few weeks ago, as he takes on unbeaten Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko (9-0, 5). The unbeaten Turgumbekov rushed to 6-0 in just over 13 months but the draw last time out certainly slowed his momentum. Lashko on the other hand scored his biggest win in March, when he beat Ryo Takenaka in China, and will be looking for his 5th win of the year here. Takenaka aside there is little on his record of any note at all.
Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) will also be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the once beaten Artur Osipov (15-1, 10). The 26 year old Kazakh, who is managed by Egis Klimas, has been out of the ring since beating Luis Hernanez in March, and will be looking to impress on what will be his first bout outside of the US in close to 2 years. Osipov on the other hand is coming in to this bout after a loss in March to Evgeny Terentiev, and will likely be low on confidence, for what looks like his toughest bout so far, on paper.
Another bout on this Russian card worthy of interest ins a contest between Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10) and Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24) in what is a must watch bout on paper, promising a lot of explosive fireworks and a real feeling that this one will not see the final bell. A full preview of this bout is available here Dynamite meets TNT as Papin and Makuba clash!
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In theory the most meaningful bout, as it's a world title fight, this coming Saturday will take place in Mexico, as WBC Female Light Flyweight champion Yesenia Gomez (14-5-3, 6) defends her title against Japan's Erika Hanawa (10-3, 4). For Gomez this will be her first defense, following a big win over veteran Esmeralda Moreno in September, and a good test for what's going to she's going to be able to do as a champion. Hanawa, who is fighting in her second world title bout, is talented but has got a reputation as someone who comes up short in her biggest bouts. Fighting outside of Asia for the first time won't do Hanawa any favours, but she does seem like she's really up for this fight. Our preview of this bout is here Hanawa gets world title shot at Gomez!
Another really meaningful contest will take place in California, as Ryosuke Iwasa (25-5, 16) clashes with Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17) in an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator. Iwasa, a former world champion, will be making his US debut against a very exciting and aggressive Mexican in what could be one of the most exciting bouts at 122lbs this year. Both men are flawed, but both are exciting, and their styles should gel. Iwasa is the bigger puncher, on a single punch basis, but Juarez is tough and sets a higher pace, making this a very hard to call bout. Our preview of this fight can be read here Iwasa and Juarez meet in IBF eliminator!
Also on this card will be former WBO Bantamweight world champion Marlon Tapales (31-2, 14), though his opponent is still yet to be announced and there is a chance this bout could fall through by the time the show takes place.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines we get a televised show courtesy of ESPN5, and it's a card with a number of good looking fights on it.
The main event will be a 12 round contest between the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (14-0, 10) and Mexican visitor Marcos Cardenas (19-6-1, 15), who battle for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. The unbeaten Penalosahas had a stop start career but two quick wins last year has seen him build some momentum to begin 2019 and a win here will give his career the big shot in the arm that it needs. Cardenas however won't be travelling to just lose however and he is riding a 3 fight winning run into this bout. Penalose will be strongly favoured, but Cardenas will have travelled to win, and has sort of proven his toughness, lasting 8 rounds with Miguel Marriaga and 5 rounds with Rey Vargas.
The main supporting bout will see former 2-time world champion John Riel Casimero (25-4, 16) take on exciting Japanese brawler Kenya Yamashita (13-4, 10). The 29 year old Casimero, who won world titles at Light Flyweight and Flyweight, hasn't looked great recently, with a loss to Jonas Sultan last time he fought on home soil, but will be under pressure to perform here. Yamashita is crude, but exciting and powerful and will be looking to shine on his international debut. Should be a huge gulf in technical ability, but also a potential gulf in desire and hunger.
A second supporting bout on this card will see teenage prospect Carl Jammes Martin (11-0, 10) take a huge step up in class to face off with Thai foe Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2, 8). The unbeaten Martin scored 4 wins last year, all by stoppage, and seems like one of the most promising young Filipino fighters beginning to break out. Petchchorhae on the other hand has failed to impressive despite winning some minor titles earlier in his career. The Thai was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Giemel Magramo, and was stopped in his other loss by Iwan Zoda, suggesting he can be taken out, something that Martin will be looking to do here.
Suwon, South Korea
There will also be a domestic card in Korean, albeit at a relatively low level.
The main bouts are 6 round contests, with one of them being a bout between Ki Hyun Park (2-2-2) and Han Bin Suh (3-0-1, 2) whilst the other will be between Jong Won Jung (5-7-1) and Dae Young Lee (2-9-1). We'll be honest and admit that it's hard to get excited about either of these bouts, of the card in general.
In Liege fans will be able to see Belgian based Kyrgyzstan born Faroukh Kourbanov (16-1, 3) battle against Ukrainian 36 year old Volodymyr Matviichuk (4-1). Kourbanov suffered his sole defeat last year, to the experienced Devis Boschiero in Italy, and will be looking to score his second win since that defeat. Matviichuk, who competed at the 2016 Olympics, only debuted as a professional in 2017 and will clearly see this bout as a chance to get into the mix at European level. Whilst Matviichuk does have a loss, it appears to be a suspect one, losing a split decision in Latvia to Ivans Levickis, in a bout that one judge scored 60-55 to the Ukrainian.
It seems that we're getting some great fights week after week at the moment, and this coming weekend looks set to deliver something special with a number of noteworthy bouts.
The biggest bout of the weekend, by far, and one of the biggest bouts this year will see Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33) defending his WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO titles against Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-1, 34). For the mainstream sports fan the bout might not have the appeal of the recent Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor bout but for a boxing fan this is a bigger bout and it will see two of the biggest names in the sport collide in a really interesting match up. Will the biggest name in Mexican over-come the most destructive Middleweight of his generation, or will the Kazakh hero defeat the face of Mexican boxing.
It's not just in American that we get a world title fight, as we also get one in the Philippines, and this is another really well matched one which headlines a stacked card.
That world title bout will see IBF Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo (36-2, 13) defending his title against former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10). The Filipino took the title earlier this year with a surprising first round win over Akira Yaegashi, setting a divisional record in the process, and will be looking to build on a fantastic little run which also includes a win over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. For Budler the bout sees him looking to become a 2-weight champion and score a third straight victory since his upset loss to Byron Rojas back in March 2016. This could be the fight of the weekend.
Talking about possible fights of the weekend it's hard not to think that John Riel Casimero (24-3, 15) against Jonas Sultan (13-3, 9) has the potential to be something special. Casimero, a former world champion at both Light Flyweight and Flyweight is seeking a world title fight at Super Flyweight and finds himself in there with a fighter who has slowly been building a reputation as one to watch. Whilst Casimero is a proven world level fighter, with wins against the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte and Amnat Ruenroeng, it's hard not to be impressed by Sultan, who has run up recent stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu, Makazole Tete and Sonny Boy Jaro. This has the potential to be a very good fight.
Whilst the bouts mentioned above are all about fighters looking to kick on and go to better places it should be noted that this card also features a bout where neither man can afford another set back. That bout will see former world title challengers Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16) and Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8) face off in a must win. Villanueva was last seen suffering a horribly one-sided loss to Zolani Tete in the UK, where Villanueva looked completely out of his depth, whilst Mepranum has been stopped in his last 2. Notably Villanueva is the naturally bigger man, and should win with out problems, but his performances in big bouts has left much to be desired so far.
One man looking to eventually get a big bout is Jason Pagara (40-2, 25), though he will need to over-come James Onyango (23-11-1, 19) if he's to get a shot at a world title. He's ranked #3 in the world by the WBO, and could be in the running for a shot very soon, but can't afford any slip ups here.
One man still looking to carve out his early career is Kevin Jake Cataraja (6-0, 5), who takes a small step up against Wiljan Ugbaniel (13-5-1, 4). The young Cataraja is regarded by those in the Philippines as one of the country's best prospects but will need to prove that against better foes than Ugbaniel. The more experienced man has lost his last 3 by stoppage, in a combined 4 rounds, and although he was once seen as a prospect it does seem like his career as a hopeful is now over.
We get another notable bout in Ukraine, as the unknown Uzbek Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (14-0, 9) takes on former world champion Viktor Postol (28-1, 12). For Postol the bout serves as his comeback contest following his wide decision loss to Terence Crawford back in July 2016 whilst the contests serves as a huge opportunity for Najimidinov to make a name for himself and score a career defining best win.
On a lower level we'll see two Thai's fighting in Australia.
One of those will see Paitoon Jaikom (7-32, 2) take on the unbeaten Matthew Triffett (3-0, 1) whilst the other will see Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-16-1) take on Lachlan Higgins (1-0, 1). It's clear these bouts won't get much attention given the other action for the day, but they will make up some under-card in Tasmania.
The Ohashi gym is one of the hottest in Japan right now and this coming Sunday they are hosting probably the most notable Asian card of the weekend, even if it's top matches are unlikely to be even slightly competitive.
The main event will see Ohashi fighter Koki Inoue (7-0, 6) take on a Thai foe in what is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Inoue. It's thought that Koki, the cousin of world champion Naoya Inoue and world level contender Takuma Inoue, will face Koichi Aso before the end of for the Japanese Light Welterweight title fight but will have to make sure he doesn't over-look his foe here in what is expected to be a mismatch.
In the chief supporting bout former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (14-8-2, 9) will be facing a Thai foe, in what should be a straight forward win for Sakashita, who has lost his last 2 and 4 of his last 6. Sakashita was once 12-4-2 but with losses piling up his career really cannot afford another setback.
Although Inoue and Sakashita are both well know the most interesting fight on this card may well be the debut of Kazuki Nakajima (0-0), a former amateur standout who will look to make an impact against a Thai opponent. The plans for Nakajima do seem to be about putting him on the fast track, and he is pencilled in to fight again in August, and he may well be fighting for a title in his first 5 or 6 fights. Little is known about his Thai foe, but the reality is that this is about Nakajima introducing himself to professional boxing.
In Fukuoka we'll see former Japanese Minimumweight title challenger Takumi Sakae (15-2-1, 10) continue to try to rebuild his career. The talented Japanese fighter looked like a man on his way to the top until he ran into Tatsuya Fukuhara, and since then he has gone 2-2-1. Sakae needs a win here and is likely to get it, as he takes on a limited Thai foe. It'd be a shock to see Sakae lose, but he really can't afford any more easy bouts after this one, given his last two wins have also been against limited Thai's.
A third Japanese card comes from Hokkaido, and features a very international card with the top three bouts all featuring a visitor against a local.
The main event of the card sees Japanese ranked Featherweight Junki Sasaki (17-3, 6) take on Korean visitor Sang Hoo Gil (6-5-2, 3). On paper this should be an easy win for Sasaki, who has won 6 of his last 7, but it's fair to say all Korean fighters will be travelling to Japan with their minds set on an upset following the recent shock win for Sa Myung Noh.
Also on this card will be Masaya Tamayama (8-1, 4), who will also be taking on a Korean foe, and Kyosuke Sawada (6-2-1, 3), who will battle a Thai visitor. Sadly the names of these two visitors haven't been as easy to get as Gil in the main event.
Lanao del Norte, Philippines
The biggest name in action is actually in the Philippines, and that's 2-weight world champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15), who takes on former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (31-6-1, 8). The talented Casimero will be moving up to Super Flyweight, as he hunts a third divisional world title, and will be looking to do so against a notable yet safe foe. Casimero has lacked activity in recent years, with just 4 fights in 3 years and non since last September. Saying that however Mepranum has lost his last two bouts, and hasn't scored a win since November 2015.
August was a quiet month, there is no denying that the reason for that was the 2016 Rio Olympics. September however tries to make up for all that with September 10th being probably the most stacked day of the year, with major bouts all over the globe.
London, United Kingdom
Two of the most notable bouts take place in the UK where we see two Asian champions defending their world titles in London.
One of those Asian's is Kazakhstan's unbeaten Middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32), who defends his WBC, IBF, and IBO titles against IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25). The Kazakh, who also holds the WBA title which won't be on the line, is widely favoured to retain his titles here but some view the bout as potentially the toughest test of his career. A win for Golovkin will likely open the doors for other UK bouts whilst an upset for Brook would likely help make him a star over-night.
The other Asian champion defending his title in the UK is IBF Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (22-3, 14), who looks to secure his first defense as he takes on English novice Charlie Edwards (8-0, 3). This will be Casimero's first defense of the title that he won in China earlier this year, stopping Amnat Ruenroeng, and will also be his European debut. Although fighting in Europe for the first time Casimero is very well travelled and won't be intimidated by the British fans who will certainly be behind Edwards here.
Whilst the bouts in the UK are high profile bouts there is also a big show in California, headlined by a WBC Super Flyweight title bout between two Teiken promoted fighters, Carlos Cuadras and Roman Gonzalez. In a supporting roll fans will get the chance to see a potential FOTY contender as Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23) battles against Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18). These two met in an all out war earlier this year but we're expecting this rematch to be even better than their first fight.
We also get notable title action in Japan where we see a domestic title bout, featuring a world ranked champion, and we also see an under-card bout featuring a former world champion.
That title bout will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (18-1, 15) defending his title, for the second time, against Kento Matsushita (34-9-7, 13) in what looks likely to be the challenger's final bout, if he loses. Ogawa has impressed us in the past but looked rather poor last time out and will likely look to make a statement here however the challenger is a veteran and will hope to use his experience to claim a national title at long last.
The former world champion on this card is Toshiyuki Igarashi (22-2-2, 11) who will be facing off against a limited Thai. The hope for Igarashi is to get a world title fight in the near future but the reality is that he's done little to deserve one in recent years and he's looked relatively poor in recent bouts. Despite that he should still beat the Thai that he's facing.
Arguably the best match bout on this card will see Yuki Nagano (8-2, 6) battle Dai Taoka (8-2, 5) in a real 50-50 type bout. Nagano is top 10 Japanese ranked but this is a real test and the winner will almost certainly find themselves in the mix for a Japanese Welterweight title fight in 2017.
One other bout of note on this card will see Japan's Shohei Kikuzato (11-2, 5) battle against Filipino ranked Renan Portes (8-3, 4) in what should be a very competitive 8 rounder between two men who each looking for a break out win.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
We also get some notable action in the Philippines with two different shows, the most notable of which is in Cotabato del Sur.
The match up here sees once beaten puncher Romero Duno (10-1, 9) face off against Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (16-8, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. Duno is a big puncher with a lot of promise and we expect him to see him stop the Thai, who has gone 2-4 in his last 6 including a stoppage loss to Hisashi Amagasa in an OPBF title fight.
The other notable bout here will see the unbeaten Reymart Gaballo (14-0, 12) battle with Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-13, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. We can't see this as anything but a mismatch but hopefully it will open doors for Gaballo to face stiffer competition in coming bouts, he really is far too good for this level of opposition.
Tarlac City, Tarlac, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to take place in Tarlac but sadly this is a very poor card. The two main bouts will see Jeffrey Garcia (2-5-3, 2) battle against Menard Zaragosa (6-23-1, 4) and Ryan Bongcawil (7-11-5, 3) face off against Jeson Berwela (4-22, 2) in 8 rounders. Hardly worth getting exciting about on quiet days, never mind a day like this!
We also get action in China where it looks like things are starting to take off on a pretty regular basis now. Interestingly this particular card appears to be a major move by the WBA to make their mark on the Chinese mainland.
The main event of this card will see Xing Xin Yang (11-4-2, 8) battle against Qiang Luo (6-1, 4) in a bout for the WBA China Light Middleweight title. The bout is a well matched one and should provide some decent action, but we suspect it won't go the distance with the two men both being solid punchers.
Another title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Bai Shan Bo (8-0-1, 4) trade blows with He Zhang (2-3, 1) in a bout for the WBA China Light Welterweight title. It's fair to say that Bo should win this and should move into bigger and better fights in the near future.
Another notable bout on this card will see A Fu Bai (7-0, 4) battle against Kazakh novice Viktor Kotochigov (1-0,1) in a 6 rounder. This could be the best bout on the card despite the novice status of the 23 year old Kotochigov.
Staying with all-unbeaten fighters Russian fans will get the chance to see Uzbek fighter Kobiljon Bobojonov (2-0, 1) battle against Sergey Sharapov (5-0, 2) in a 6 rounder.