This coming Thursday is an intriguing day for fight fans who will get a genuinely brilliant bout in the US featuring an unbeaten Kazakh, and the chance to see several notable Filipino's in action, over in General Santos City. It's not a huge day, but it is a very, very interesting one.
Wild Card Boxing, Los Angeles, California, USA
For once we'll start in the US where we expect to see the bout of the day as unbeaten men collide in this week's Ring City USA show.
In one corner will be unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (14-0, 7), taking a long over-due step up in class, as he takes on touted American fighter Charles Conwell (13-0, 10) in a mouth watering match up. The 32 year old Ashkeyev has struggled to get notable opponents in the ring with him and has pretty much floundered due to a real lack of notable competition. When he's been in the ring however he looks talented and strong. Just a shame he's not had the competition to prove it against. Conwell on the other hand might be the pick of the bunch in terms of unheralded US hopefuls. The 23 year old had an emotional 2019, with his bout against the well liked Patrick Day ending in tragedy, but he has bounced back well and looked very good last time out, stopping Wendy Toussaint in October. This is a really, really good match up and should push the winner towards a world title fight.
Sanman Boxing Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Although the best single bout is in the US the card that has the most notable names in action is in the Philippines where we see three former world title challengers and a very highly regarded prospect in action.
The highly regarded prospect on the show is the sensationally talented KJ Cataraja (11-0, 9), who takes on former Bantamweight world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5). The brilliant Cataraja looked like he had the talent to be fast tracked but sadly he was stuck with ALA Promotions when they were on a downturn and was unable to get the fights he needed to progress his career. Now with ZIP it's expected Cataraja will be moved very aggressively in 2021. This should be a good way to shake some ring rust before big fights in the new year. As for Apolinario he's been in the ring with some solid names, including Koki Kameda and Roberto Vasquez, but he's very much looked like a fighter at the end of his career in recent bouts, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 5.
Another former world title challenger on this show is Jeo Santisima (19-3, 16), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on novice foe Marjon Piencenaves (6-1-1, 4). This will be Santisima's first bout since losing to Emanuel Navarrete in a WBO Super Bantamweight title and despite that loss we expect him to pick up a very straight forward win. However Piencenaves will come into this with an upset mentality and know he can really boost his career if he can get the shock win here.
Another world title challenger on this show is former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who has previously given Wanheng Menayothin an incredibly tough test. Jerusalem is currently very highly ranked by the WBC and will be looking at potentially getting a second world title bout in 2021, though he will need to get past fellow Filipino Jayson Francisco (5-2, 1) here. As with Cataraja's bout it's hard to see this as anything more than a tick over bout for the favourite who will be looking for bigger and better things next year.
Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Over in the Dominican Republic we'll get action involving several Japanese fighters.
One of those is Masayuki Suwa (22-13-2, 14), previously known as Cobra Suwa, who takes on Jean Carlos Rodriguez (8-6, 4). The 40 year old Suwa has had a really interesting career seems to be just ploughing on with boxing well beyond the typical Japanese retirement age, with this being his third straight bout since his last Japanese bout in April 2018. Aged 28 Rodriguez is the much younger man, however he has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and has only beaten 1 opponent with a winning record. We wouldn't be surprised at all by Suwa picking up the win here.
Another is Naoki Inaba (7-5-1, 3), who takes on Angelo Munoz (18-17, 11). On paper this looks a relatively even match up, but Inaba has gone unbeaten in his last 4 whilst Munoz has lost his last 9, falling from 18-8 (11) to 18-17 (11), and has been stopped in 8 of those 9 losses.
Another was Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24), also known as Vladimir Baez, who takes on Mario Beltre (17-6, 12). This will be Baez's first bout since losing to Mongolian sensation Tuguldur Byambatsogt back in January whilst Beltre will return to the ring for the first time since June 2018.
This coming Saturday is a really exciting day in Asian boxing thanks to a brilliant card in Tokyo. The support bouts across the Asian scene aren't the best, but we do have good main events in Ibaragi and New South Wales, Australia, as well.
As mentioned the best card of the day is in Tokyo, and is Dangan card with 4 bouts worthy of attention.
On paper the most significant bout is a Japanese Super Featherweight eliminator. This bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) battle perennial regional contender Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21). On paper Minamoto is the one to back here, he's the more polished boxer and the bigger puncher, with higher level of wins. However Watanabe is no puch over, and he's as rugged as they come, with under-rated skills and will be the naturally bigger guys. We're expecting this to come down to Minamoto's power and skills against Watanabe's toughness and will to win. We are thinking this could be something special between two men who should have styles that gel really well here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
In a God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final we'll see a very exciting match up between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) and the always entertaining Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). On paper it's hard to see what Yamashita has in his locker to over-come Tsutsumi, but he's never been one to just take a loss with putting up a fight. We really expect this to be an all out war between men who are very similar in their styles and mentality and this could be the hidden gem of the month.
Another potential gem for the month comes in the other God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final, as unbeaten fighter Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) and Kuzuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) face off for a place in the final. Both men have been very exciting and shown real power and aggression since their debuts. Both men are in their mid 20's and whilst the loser will see the bout as a notable set back they will likely be able to pursue a rematch down the line. This is a fantastic match up and another that we are expecting to be a war.
Also on this card is the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be fighting for the first time since being upset by Lito Dante earlier this year. Given how badly Koura lost to Dante, suffering a beating and being stopped in round 12, we can't complain too much about him facing a very limited foe, and that's what he's doing against Indonesian foe Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2). This is little more than a confidence rebuilder for Koura, and that's very understandable.
In Ibaragi we get another Japanese card. This one is much lower profile than the Tokyo show, but does appear to have an excellent main event.
That main event will see the flawed but entertaining Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-6, 21) take on Filipino foe Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4), in a really good looking 50/50 style bout. The Japanese local is a rather unpolished fighter, but he has great energy and toughness and it always worth watching for his aggression and pressure. On the other other hand Mannaquil is typically a tricky, skilled boxer-mover who has picked up good results on the road, though was stopped last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi. This will be a very interesting test and it's a hard one to call either way
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines. This is a much lower level card, with a main event between John Magagmoc (6-2-1) and Gary Tamayo (3-1, 2). Given the quality of action in Japan this is a very poor bout, but it is a clash between teenagers and we do like those, and do expecting an interesting out, even if it's not at the highest of levels.
New South Wales, Australia
Surprisingly it appears we could be in for a shoot out down under as the unbeaten pairing of Luke Boyd (7-0, 7) and Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) face off for the interim WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. Boyd, a 32 year old Australian, has been crushing low level opponents in double quick time, with only 1 of his 7 bouts going beyond the second round, with his most notable opponent being Inthanon Sithchamuang. At 25 years old Jet is one of the more promising Indonesian fighters, but his competition has been awful and it's hard to get a read on how good Jet may, or may not, be. This should be explosive, though is hard to know how good either man is given their competition to date.
In the US we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (13-0, 6) take on American veteran Walter Wright (17-8, 8). The 31 year old Ashkeyev has been a professional for close to 4 years and really needs to get a move on before he gets too old to make a mark. Whilst 2019 has been a better year for him he really does need to step it up again next year, in a big way. Given that Wright is a late replace, for a late replacement, this is unlikely to be a test for the Kazakh but Wright has only been stopped once, and that was way back on his debut in 2003.
Attention turns to Kazakhstan this coming Friday for a Qazaq Promotions card from Almaty. The card isn't a massive one, but it is a notable one, with the ring return of a popular unbeaten Kazakh contender, who has had his career ruined by injury, a Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful against a former world title challenger and several rising hopefuls.
The main event of the show will see the unbeaten Kanat Islam (25-0, 20) return to the ring, for the first time since September 2017, to take on Dominican puncher Julio De Jesus (27-1, 24).Islam was on the verge of a world title fight when he beat Brandon Cook in his last bout, but repeated injuries have kept him out of the ring since then really destroying his chances of a world title fight. De Jesus, on paper, looks like a good test though is the naturally smaller man and we do wonder how his power holds up here against a solid fighter like Islam.
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Ruslan Myrsatayev (5-0, 5) take on English Heavyweight veteran Danny Williams (53-26-0-1, 40). The unbeaten Kazakh is talented and heavy handed, but at 34 years old time is running out if he's really after a big fight he needs to make his move this year. Williams, best known for beating Mike Tyson and being dominated by Vitali Klitschko in a WBC world title bout, is now 45 and needs to really consider walking away from the sport before getting seriously injured.
Another bout will see Madiyar Ashkeyev (12-0, 6), fresh off throwing water over a journalist, take on Estonian journeyman Pavel Semjonov (24-11-2, 9). This should be a straight forward win for Ashkeyev, but Semjonov tends to be a tough foe so we're expecting a decision win for the unbeaten Kazakh here.
Also on this card will be unbeaten teenager Dastan Saduuly (3-0, 3) and Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6), though it's unclear who these two will be up against at the time of writing.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Madiyar Ashkeyev (11-0, 6) will be looking to extend his unbeaten record this coming Thursday when he takes on 34 year old American Cecil McCalla (21-3, 8). The talented Ashkeyev is really in need of a step up and at 30 years old can't waste much more time if he's wanting to move on to a bigger and better fight in the near future. On paper this is a solid step up for the Kazakh, though McCall has scores just a single win in the last 4 years, and that came against the limited Jairo Jesus Siris. What is notable about McCalla is that he's tough, he's never been stopped and has gone the distance in loses against Chris Van Heerden, Ishe Smith and Tony Harrison. Ashkeyev will likely be forced to go 10 rounds, but should pick up a straight forward victory.
We'll see a couple of Kazakh hopefuls in action this coming Friday as they compete on a small card in California.
One of those Kazakh hopefuls is 30 year old Light Middleweight Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0, 6), who takes on Luis Hernandez (16-6, 9) in an 8 round bout. The unbeaten Kazakh fighter has faced most limited opponents since his December 2015 debut, and it's a shame to have seen him treading water so much, given that he has got a fair bit of talent. Hernandez, from Puerto Rico, has lost 4 of his last 5, and 5 of his last 8, but is durable and should force Ashkeyev to work for a win here.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (9-0, 7), who will be up against Ramon Aginaga (13-1, 9), who is the third opponent Nursulatanov has had to prepare for following his opponent changing twice. On paper this is another step forward for Nursultanov, who claimed the NABF Junior Middleweight title last time out. We're interested in seeing how the Kazakh develops and would expect him to be given a real test by the end of 2019, given that he has been impressing time and time again. Aginaga hasn't had great notice but is dangerous and has picked up wins on the road before, including a win over Shakeel Phinn in Canada, though was stopped in 5 rounds by exciting French prospect Christian Mbilli.
New Jersey, USA
Our attention will mostly be on New Jersey this coming Saturday as one Central Asian fighter defends a world title, and two others look to progress there careers.
The champion in question is the extremely talented and really exciting WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11), who defends his title against Malawi born challenger Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2, 10). The heavy handed and exciting Bivol comes into this bout on the back of his excellent victory over Sullivan Barrera this past March, in what was Bivol's 5th straight stoppage win. The Kyrgyzstan born fighter is making a name for himself and a win over Chilemba will help him there. Sadly for Chilemba it does feel like his career is coming to an en and he has lost 3 of his last 4, including a stoppage loss in November 2016 to Oleksandr Gvozdyk. At his best Chilemba was a handful for anyone but he's now a very old 31 who has been in a lot of wars during his career.
One of the guys looking to move forward with their career is unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (9-0, 5), who is set for a notable step up in class to take on Cleotis Pendarvis (21-4-2, 9). The Kazakh has looked close to flawless in recent bouts and has been impressing on US soil through his career. American southpaw Pendarvis has had a stop-start career, and his last 4 bouts really haven't been great to know what he has left, but at his best he was a solid fighter who managed to stop Michael Clark, though that was almost 6 years ago now. A prime Pendarvis would have made for an interesting test, but we now expect Ashkeyev to step up and put on a showcase performance against his more experienced foe.
Another Kazakh on this card is Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (7-0, 6), who will be looking for this third win of 2018. His opponent for this bout hasn't been announced but we're not expecting anyone too testing for the 24 year old, who we think will be stepping up in class at this end of this year, or early next year. Heavy handed, talented and exciting Nursultanov has a lot going for him, but we wouldn't be surprised if he team just waited a year or two before throwing him in with notable names.
In Japan fans only get a single show from Okinawa, and even that show isn't massively great with two low key title fights and some small fights on the under-card.
One of those title fights is a WBO Asia Pacific female Bantamweight title fight, which will see Yuko Henzan (6-6-4, 2) take on unbeaten Chinese fighter Fan Yin (3-0, 1). The Japanese fighter started her career 0-3-1 but has managed to turn things and had gone 4-0-2 in her last 6 bouts, and claimed the OPBF female Bantamweight title, so a win here for Henzan would see her become a unified champion. The Chinese fighter made her professional debut last December, and scored 2 wins in the space of 2 weeks, but her activity has slowed significantly and she has only fought once since the turn of the year.
The other title fight will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his belt against the promising Hiroki Inamine (2-1, 2). The 23 year old champion won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight but has since struggled, going 5-4-1 (1). To help rectify things Oho has dropped to Light Flyweight which appears to be a more suitable weight class for him, given his relative lack of power. Inamine's record suggest he's a heavy handed fighter but he's only stopped two Thai's since making his debut, though he was a well regarded domestic amateur. Inamine was beaten last time out, by the ultra promising Rikito Shiba, but will feel he has the power to take care of Ono, in what could be the fight of the day.
In a supporting bout fans will see once touted youngster Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) look to get his career back on track after going 0-1-2 in his last 3. Ogido hasn't been softly matched but he has failed to win any of his last 3 bouts, which were all title contest, and is clearly being matched softly here to get some confidence back. He'll be up against Takayuki Teraji (9-15-1, 4) who has won just 3 of his last 10 and should manage to give Ogido rounds with out really coming close to winning them.
One other fighter on this card worthy of note is American born Japanese fighter Marcus Smith (5-0-1, 5), who looks to secure his second win of 2018 as he takes on Koji Igarashi (4-2, 3). It's hard to see Igarashi coming out on top here, given both of his losses have been by stoppage, but he does have power of his own and could well chin check Smith here.