The day we've all been waiting for is finally upon us and we finally get the WBSS Bantamweight final, in what is, by far, the most high profile card in Japan this year. In fact it's one of the highest profile cards in Japan in a very long time.
The Saitama Super Arena plays host to the biggest show in Japan this year, with more than 20,000 fans in attendance and international TV exposure as DAZN show the bout in the US. This is a card we've literally been waiting for since May and is a true highlight for the year.
The big bout will see Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) take on rising Japanese mega star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) in what is not only the WBSS Bantamweight final but also a bout for the IBF and WBA "super" titles at Bantamweight. Entertaining the bout Donaire is the WBA "super" champion and is going through an unexpected late career surge, though one that has been helped with injuries to Ryan Burnett and Zolani Tete. Although not the fighter he once was Donaire is still a huge puncher and a massive through, if he lands clean. Inoue, the IBF and WBA "unified" champion, will know a win cements his place as one of the new faces of boxing, and the pressure really is all on him given the attention the bout is getting in Japan. If the "Monster" picks up a win here it really open up huge doors for him going forward, whilst a win for Donaire will almost certainly secure his place as a first ballot hall of famer. A full and very comprehensive preview of this bout can be read here The WBSS Final - Inoue Vs Donaire
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the WBC Bantamweight title being unified as French-Morrocan Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) takes on Japan's Takuma Inoue (13-0, 4). Entering the bout Oubaali will be looking for his second defense of the title, whilst Inoue will be looking to become a full world champion after reigning as the WBC interim champion since December. Whilst the attention will be on the main event this is an excellent match up, and will see the calculated and intelligent pressure and power of Oubaali up against the intelligent boxing and movement of Inoue. This could have headlined a normal show and makes for a sensational supporting bout. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Takuma Inoue goes up against Nordine Oubaali for WBC crown
Also on this show will be a couple of Teiken prospects. One of those will be Katsuya Fukui (1-0, 1), who goes up against Thai foe Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-3, 2) and the other will be Shokichi Iwata (3-0, 2), who will take on Mexican visitor Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-1). Both of these bouts are scheduled for 6 rounds, with Iwata expected to be moved into title bouts in 2020, if he gets past Valladares here.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a bout of note for us in the US where the unbeaten Santiago Dominguez (19-0, 15) takes on Uzbek fighter Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-2, 13). The unbeaten Dominguez has scored stoppages in his last 7 bouts and has looked destructive going through recent competition in the US and Mexico. Sadly Hudaynazarov has no form coming into this, following back to back losses, in 2018 to Ronald Cruz and 2019 to John Vera, in what are his only 2 bouts over the last 5 years. We really can't see the Uzbek picking up a win here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in the Philippines, where we get a world title fight and a world title eliminator.
The world title fight is a rare all-Filipino title bout, as the unbeaten Samuel Salva (17-0, 10) takes on Pedro Taduran (13-2, 10) for the IBF Minimumweight title. Salva was originally expected to face Deejay Kriel for the title, before Kriel chose to vacate setting up this all Filipino title bout which looks like it could be a very interesting match up. The unbeaten is a 22 year old who is getting his first shot at the big time, and has lived up to his name of being the "Silent Assassin" pretty well whilst climbing up the rankings without making too much noise. Taduran on the other hand will be getting his second world title fight, after running Wanheng Menayothin close in a WBC world title fight last year. This isn't going to get a lot of attention, but should be a lot more interesting than some of the other all-Filipino world title bouts we've had recently. A full preview of this bout is available here Salva and Taduran face off for IBF title
In another notable bout on this card the once beaten Giemel Magramo (23-1, 19) will take on Thailand's Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (25-5,16) in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator. For both men this is a huge opportunity to set up a big fight down the line, and a shot at Moruti Mthalane, whilst from a fans point of view this could be some truly fantastic. The 24 year old Magramo has reeled off 6 straight wins since a close loss to Muhammad Waseem in 2016 and looks to be on an excellent run of form with notable wins against the likes of Petchchorhae Kokietgym and Wenfeng Ge. The Thai on the other hand is looking to notch his 4th straight win, and secure his second world title bout, though he failed to shine in bouts away from Thailand, with just a single win on the road. Style wise this should be a war, and it could easily end up being an instant classic. A preview of this bout can be read here Magramo and Nantapech set for Flyweight eliminator thriller!
Davao del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card this Saturday will be a much lower profile one in Davao del Sur, and will feature a number of unbeaten fighters, mostly in bouts that look stacked in their favour.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Jenel Lausa (9-0-1, 5) take on Indonesian foe Carlos Lopez (28-9, 9) in a fight for a minor title. On paper this looks like a big step up for the 31 year old Lausa, however Lopez has been out of the ring since March 2013. Interestingly Lopez was pencilled in to fight Billy Dib a few months ago, before Dib fought Amir Khan, so he should be in good condition, but will likely be an under-dog here.
In an interesting supporting bout the unbeaten Richard Bulacan (6-0, 4) will battle against Vergel Deguma (9-5, 4), in a battle of young southpaws. Bulacan has shown some real promise at this early stage but this should still be a solid test for the 20 year old.
The second Teiken card of the month is a much higher profile one than their first, and features not only a Japanese title fight but also a former 3 weight world champion and some notable prospects, in what looks like a very solid card.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) make his first defense as he battle against Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2). Nagano won the title back in April, when he stopped Ryota Yada and recorded a 14th straight win. The 30 year old, who went 2-2 in his first 4 has been in great form and beaten really good domestic fighters in recent years. At 35 years old Kawasaki is likely to be getting his last chance to win a title, but he will enter as a very clear under-dog, and will need a career best performance to over-come Nagano. Our preview of this bout is here Nagano to defend Japanese title against Kawasaki
Former multi-weight world champion Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) fights in the chief support bout of the card. The former 3 weight world champion has lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, but is still incredibly popular, especially in Japan, where he hasn't fought in over 4 years. Linares will be up against Filipino foe Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6), who has lost his last 2, but will be looking to bounce back from those losses, and show what he can do in the biggest profile bout of his career.
Another notable name on this card is Welterweight hopeful Ryota Toyoshima (11-2-1, 8), who will be be seeking a 5th straight win as he takes on Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3). The in form Toyoshima will be the favourite, and will be looking to build on wins over the likes of Moon Hyon Yun and Woo Min Won, however Ando did score a big win last time out against former Japanese national champion Toshio Arikawa. This could be a lot more interesting than it looks on paper.
The lower end of the card here is pretty interesting as well. In a really interesting look bout the 2018 Rookie of the Year runner up Hikari Mineta (6-1, 3) takes on Yuji Oba (6-4, 4), in what looks like a good test for Mineta, Rookie of the year winner Kenta Endo (4-0-1, 3) battles Korean foe Gi Won Shin (3-2-3) and the debuting Katsuya Fukui (0-0) faces off with Sang Hoon Kim (4-1-2, 3).
Jeju, South Korea
Talking about Korean fighters it's worth noting there will be a Korean card as well, albeit at a very low level, with an international theme as locals take on a mix of Japanese and Chinese opponents.
The most notable bout on this card will see unbeaten Korean teenager Min Jang (8-0-2, 2) take on Japanese visitor Wataru Ikegami (7-4-1, 4). The talent Jang should be took good for Ikegami, who's lost to Fumiya Fuse and Tsubasa Murachi in recent bouts, but it is still a step up in class for the Korean youngster.
Another Korean Vs Japan bout on this card will see 21 year old Korean local Yong In Jo (7-3-2, 2) take on Japanese veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-14-1, 7). This will be Jo's first bout since a November 2017 loss to Daishi Nagata whilst IDeta will be looking to end a 10 fight losing streak.
Paju, South Korea
A second Korean card will take place in Paju and, on paper at least, it is a more notable card.
One of the most notable bout on this card will see In Duck Seo (12-1-2, 7) attempt to build on his KO win against Tysinn Best, as he faces off with Uzbek foe Khusniddin Pulatov (7-3, 5) in a contest for the WBA Asia Welterweight title. This could be a very explosive and action packed fight between two relatively limited, but fun to watch fighters, who will both believe in their toughness and power.
In a female bout we'll see Bo Mi Re Shin (7-0-3, 3) take on Jinyan Gao (2-0) in a battle of unbeaten fighters. According to the KBA this will actually be the show's main event, though in reality this bout is less significant, and less interesting, than the co-feature bout.
In Thailand we have a small, yet very notable, card featuring two bouts worthy of some attention.
The more significant of the two bouts will be a Light Middleweight bout between former world title contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (41-1, 30) taking on Filipino southpaw Junjesie Ibgos (13-4, 11), in a bout for the WBA Asia title at 154lbs. Teerachai is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing to Lucas Matthysse in 2018 and will be strongly favoured here against Ibgos, who fought as a Featherweight earlier in his career.
The other bout is less significant, but arguably more intriguing. This bout will see novice professional Theeraphan Polsongkarm (1-0) take on former world title challenger Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-12-1, 19), in a 10 round bout. We often see Thai's being fast tracked but this is a huge step up for Theeraphan, and a win here would be a huge statement, even if Inthanon is a long, long, way from being the fighter who went 12 rounds with Kohei Kono back in 2016.
We get yet another Asian show, with one taking place in Singapore.
The main event here is a really, really good looking one, with Ongen Saknosiwi (6-0, 6) taking on Nanthawat Maolichat (6-0, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight title. Saknosiwi is the IBPC champion and is regarded as a real hopeful for Indonesian boxing, though this will be his first bout outside of Indonesia and should be seen as a credible test. Nanthawat is a Thai teenager who debuted in November, and will be taking a big step up in class himself, in what will be his first title fight. This looks like it could be very, very explosive.
As well as the good looking main event this card will also feature local hopefuls Hamzah Farouk (8-0, 5) and Abdelelah Karroum (5-0, 4), who will both be taking on limited Indonesian visitors.
In Russia we get a small card, though a card with an excellent all-Asian main event. The match up will see unbeaten Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov (9-0, 7) take on the upset minded Roldan Aldea (14-7-1, 8), from the Philippines. Umurzakov has shown touches of real promise, and is clearly a prospect to make a note of, but there is a lot of questions for him to still answer. On the other hand Aldea will be looking to build on July's upset win over Mikhail Alexeev, a win that came thanks to a huge KO over the previously unbeaten Russian.