Dimiao, Bohol, Philippines
The main card this coming Friday is from Bohol in the Philippines, where we get several interesting looking match ups.
The most notable bout on the card will see 25 year old Filipino Virgel Vitor (18-2, 11) trade blows with once touted Thai hopeful Arnon Yupang (9-2, 3). in a bout for the WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Given he's got home advantage Vitor will be the favourite, and he certainly has the power to make a mark at this level. Yupang on the other hand was tipped quite highly, but a recent loss to Wanchana Menayothin leaves him not fighting for his career, and he will also be the smaller man here.
On paper an even better bout will see unbeaten Filipino Regie Suganob (11-0, 4) battle against unbeaten Indonesian Andika D'Golden Boy (19-0-1, 10), in what is a huge fight for both men. Suganob has quietly been building a solid record on the domestic scene, but lacks any for of notable international name on his record and this is a chance for that to change. As for Andika, he was pencilled in for a world title fight in 2020 but that fell through due to the pandemic and it's hard to know what his hunger is like, especially given an unexpected draw last time out against Wandi Priman Hulu. We expect to see a lot of skills on show here, and whilst we don't imagine we'll get a Fight of the Year contender, we do expect a very, very interesting interesting bout.
In an all Filipino affair Jake Amparo (9-3-1, 2) will battle against Ariston Aton (9-4, 5), in what looks like a toss of a bout on paper. Amparo has won 3 in a row since a 2021 loss to Suganob. and looks to be moving his career forward rather well, but this is a tougher bout than his recent wins. Aton has lost his last 3, and has little momentum, but will be hungry to turn things around, and is in with an easier opponent than his recent bouts, whuch have seen him clash with Simipiwe Konkco and Tsubasa Koura. This one could steal the show.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in the Philippines we also have a small card in Tokyo, under the Genkotsu banner.
The main event will see 30 year old hopeful Kosuke Ando (10-3, 5) look to record a third straight stoppage win as he takes on the light punching Daisuke Sudo (7-9-3). At his best Ando is the sort of fighter who can, and will, earn a domestic title fight, but will need to get lucky to win a title, and is more likely to spend, much of the remainder of his career bouncing around the domestic rankings. As for Sudo he has lost his last 3, but has been matched hard with bouts against the likes of Kento Hatanaka and Ryuya Yamanka. This bout is a step down from those ones, but still one that he'll be expected to lose.
Also on this card is a potentially fan friendly bout between Kensuke Suzuki (4-1, 1) and Taiga Ito (4-3), who clash at 154lbs. The 26 year old Ito is no world beater but is regularly involved in very entertaining and fan friendly wars, which see him depend on his work rate and size rather than his power. Suzuki, 23, is also the sort of fighter who relies on letting punches fly, and is looking to bounce back from his first loss. Expect this one to be a very, very fun to watch 6 rounder.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action is back at Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a small card from Ichiriki Promotions. Sadly the card has lost it's main event, which we'll mention in the moment, but it still has some relatively well matched domestic level bouts on it.
The planned main event was a bout at 140lbs between Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24) and former world title contender Akihiro Kondo (32-10-2, 18), in what had the potential to be an 8 round action bout. Baez's aggression and power against Kondo's toughness and desire could have made for a very nice bout, but Baez was forced to pull out of the bout well in advance of the show.
As a result of Baez pulling out the 8 rounder between Tatsuya Yanagi (17-7-2, 7) and Tsuyoshi Ozawa (15-4-1, 2) has become the new main event, and although not an amazing match up, it should be a very interesting one. The 32 year old Yanagi comes in to the bout with JBC and OPBF rankings but was stopped last time out and is 2-2-1 in his last 5 bouts, dating back more than 3 years. Ozawa, now aged 36, took a long break from the ring between 2012 and 2021, but did look solid in his return bout in July and will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to move towards a title fight. At his best Ozawa was a nightmare, and he'll know he could pick up a ranking here.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Kosuke Ando (9-3, 4), who will be risking his WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight ranking as he takes on Yuta Nakayama (8-4-1, 5). The 29 year old Ando is coming in on the back of a solid win over Shuri Hasebe and will know that he's only a couple of wins away from a potential title fight. As for Nakayama he'll be fighting for the first time since losing in a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, against Ryota Yamauchi. Interestingly Nakayama has been stopped in 3 of his last 5, and hasn't heard the final bell in his last 6 bouts.
A third fight of note on this show will see JBC ranked 140lb fighter Hokuto Matsumoto (7-4, 1) take on former Japanese title challenger Ryuji Ikeda (14-7-4, 9). Coming in to the bout Matsumoto is ranked #6 by the JBC and will feel he's within touching distance of a Japanese title shot, helped by his recent win over Shinnosuke Saito. Ikeda on the other hand is without a win in his last 4 bouts, and was stopped in two of those, by Koki Inoue and Aso Ishiwaki. Ikeda seems to be on the way out, but a win here could revive his career.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The final Japanese show of a relatively quiet January is this coming Friday as Yokohama Hikari put on a very small show at Korakuen Hall. This really is a tiny show, with just 5 bouts announced for it, including 3 over the 4 round distance. Despite its short nature the show should, however, be a pretty interesting one for fans who can make their way to Korakuen Hall.
The most interesting of the 3 rounds will see Joker Ryo (1-0) look to build on his entertaining debut as he takes on the somewhat chinny Tsuyoshi Kato (1-2). Despite not being the most skilled Ryo appeared to be an aggressive, fun, crude slugger on his debut in October and he looks like someone who could make for fun fights. Kato on the other hand has been stopped in both of his losses, including a 2018 loss to Jin Sasaki, but should have a real size advantage over the much smaller Ryo. Despite being an easy to overlook novice bout this could, genuinely, be a very fun one to watch.
In the first of the two 8 rounders on this show Kosuke Ando (8-2, 3) will take on the JBC ranked Shuri Hasebe (8-5, 2). Ando is best known for his 2019 campaign, which saw him reach the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, before losing a majority decision to Sho Omote. Since that loss he has fought just once, taking a decision last October against Hidetoshi Takane. For this bout he will be competing in his first 8 rounder. As for Hasebe he earned his Japanese ranking in 2019, with an upset win over Desierto Nagaike and is unbeaten in his last 2, however he didn't at all in 2020 and we do wonder how ring rust may affect him after 21 months out of the ring.
The main event of the card will see JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Naoto Mizutani (7-6-2, 2) look to build on a 3 fight unbeaten run, including wins over Joe Tanooka and Naoya Okamoto, as he takes on 22 year old puncher Seigo Hanamori (6-3, 4). The 31 year old Mizutani is in some of the best form of his career, but without a fight in 2020 the momentum he had been building has been lost and it's hard to know whether he can keep up the good results he was having in 2019. As for Hanamori he has won his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, by stoppage and shown solid power in recent performances. Despite his wins Hanamori has been fighting at a low level and this is very much a step up in class for him.
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Over in Mexico we'll see the excellent Eye of the Tiger Management put on their next card.
For us the most notable bout on this card will see outstanding Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (11-0, 10) take on Dutchman Stephen Danyo (17-3-3, 6) in a bout for 4 titles, including the NABF, WBA Continental and WBC Francophone titles. The talented Akhmedov has been highly impressive since making his professional debut in 2018, though did spend the entire of 2020 out of the ring. Danyo on the other hand is no world beater, but has proven himself to be a tough fighter and will be expected to take Akhmedov 10 rounds here in what should be a great chance for the Kazakh to shake some ring rust before tougher bouts later in the year.
Notably this will be Akhmedov's second professional bout outside of Canada, with the other being a 10 round decision in his native Kazakhstan in 2019. As for Danyo he is well travelled, but has lost his last 3 bouts outside of his homeland and that run is expected to continue here.
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
There will be more Central Asian prospects in action over in Russia on a Patriot Boxing show.
The most notable of the Asian hopefuls here will be Rustam Tulaganov (3-0, 1), who will be looking to records his fourth professional win. Tulaganov will be up against 33 year old Colombian puncher Beibi Berrocal (17-7, 16), who looks like a threat on paper, but has been beaten in his last 4, including by the debuting Arthir Kyshenko. The talented Uzbek Light Heavyweight has had a stop start career since making his professional debut in 2017 though we really hope that 2021 is the year where he begins really build momentum in his career.
The other is Uzbek debutant Lazizbek Mullajonov (0-0), who was a standout amateur and will likely be one to watch over the next decade or so. He will be debuting in a Heavyweight 6 rounder, but his original opponent, Igor Vilchitsky (4-2, 1), appears to have been pulled from the show. Mullajonov was very highly regarded in the unpaid ranks and has signed with Patriot boxing who have the power to move him quickly, though may appreciate that he is a very young fighter and there is no need to rush him. Either way he is certainly going to be one to keep a very, very close eye on.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
We finish what "should" be the most meaningful bout of the day, but it's also one we wouldn't be surprised to see fall into the ether and not take place. That is a WBA "regular" Cruiserweight world title bout between defending champion Beibut Shumenov (18-2, 12) and the completely undeserving Raphael Murphy (14-1, 11). If this bout takes places it should be regarded as one of the least notable "world" title bouts in history, though with it being set for a Don King card it really wouldn't be a surprise if the bout didn't take place. Our preview of this one can be read here Shumenov, Murphy and the WBA cover "world title" in shame