The biggest card with an Asian interest this coming Saturday is in Nevada, where we have two notable Asian fighters in action.
The main event will see Filipino fighting icon Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39) attempt to add another big name to his incredible resume as he takes on unbeaten American Keith Thurman (29-0-0-1, 22) for the WBA Welterweight "super" title. Coming in Thurman is the "Super" champion whilst Pacquiao is the regular champion, and it's clear that this bout has got a big fight feel to it. The unbeaten American has come across as his usual brash self in the build up, though there seems to be a feeling that Pacquiao can roll back the clock one final time. This is, easily, the biggest bout of the weekend, and a really intriguing main event for a PBC PPV.
Also on this card is a potentially mouth watering clash between Kazakh born Russian Sergey Lipinets (15-1, 11) and American John Molina Jr (30-8, 24). Although both men are certainly flawed fighters, with some serious limitations, both are entertaining, hard hitting and have been involved in some thrilling contests over the years. Expect this bout to be a potential show stealer.
In Japan we're set to see 3 highly regarded prospects. A couple of those hopefuls are fighting in step up bouts, whilst one is staying busy before a more meaningful bout in August.
The main event will see once beaten hopeful Takuya Mizuno (16-1-1, 14) take on former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (25-8-1, 8), in a really good step up for the hard hitting youngster. Mizuno, a 24 year old Super Bantamweight, has won his last 9 in a row but this is a very big step up. As for Gasca, now aged 30 though he's an old 30 given he debuted back in 2007, this will be his second bout since the start of 2018. In his pomp Gasca was a really solid fighter, with notable wins over Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat and Hiromasa Ohashi, but he has now lost 4 of his last 7.
The other prospect on this card is the fast rising Koshin Takeshima (3-0, 3), who is set for a huge test against the tough and hard hitting Jon Jon Estrada (11-6-1, 10). Takeshima has looked solid so far, looking one of the stars of the future back on the March 16th Hatanaka show, but he's only fought 8 rounds as a professional and perhaps needs more seasoning before facing someone like Estrada. The hard hitting Filipino visitor has proven himself to be a limited boxer, but a tough, game and dangerous fighter, who may be too much of a risk at this stage for Takeshima. There is real belief in the Japanese, but this is a big ask.
The guy ina stay busy fight is hard hitting youngster Kento Hatanaka (8-0, 8), who takes on Indonesian visitor Thomas Tope Hurek (3-3-1, 1) in what is expected to be little more than a tune up for Hatanaka. The second generation hopeful has been pencilled in for an appearance on the under-card of Kosei Tanaka's upcoming world title defense, taking on Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12), and so will be looking to take care of business and shake any ring rust here before that big fight.
On the subject of rising hopeful's it's worth noting that unbeaten Uzbek prospect Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14) will look to continue his rise, though his opponent at the time of writing is unknown. The talented Ergashev really needs to build on his win over Mykal Fox earlier in the year but at the moment that tough test seems to have made Ergashev's team doubt their man, and that's a huge shame given his exciting style, power and ability. Too many bouts at a lower level could, potentially, really harm his future, so we hope that he will take another step up in class before the end of 2019.
An Indonesian show is set to be held in Jayapura and will be an IPBC card, with 3 title fights on the show. Sadly whilst sounds enticing the card is a putrid one, with little in terms of standout action.
Of the match ups on the card the pick of the bunch, on paper at least, will see 35 year old local veteran Geisler AP (14-10-1, 11) take on unbeaten Pakistani fighter Muhammad Bilal (6-0, 5) in a match for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Light Welterweight. This is less than great on paper, but is better than either of the other two title title bouts, which are both for IPBC national titles.
Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia
A second Indonesian show will see veteran Roy Tua Manihuruk (20-19-2, 15) take part in his 43rd professional bout as he takes part in his first bout since claiming the UBO Inter-continental title at 140lbs in March.
Also on this card will be Moensaku Yor (6-5-1, 4), who looks to build on a March win of his own, which came over Artid Bamrungauea for a minor UBO title
Attention turns to Nevada this coming Saturday for the biggest card of the weekend, and one featuring several Filipino fighters.
The headline bout, and one of the biggest bouts of the month, will see Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39) defending the WBA Welterweight title against controversial American Adrien Broner (33-3-1-1, 24). This will be Pacquiao's first defense of the title he took last July, when he beat Lucas Matthysse, and could potentially help set up another big bout later in the year, if he can over-come Broner. For the American, who was once tipped as the future of boxer, this is a must win bout and another loss, especially to a 40 year old Pacquiao, will be hard to bounce back from. This isn't the bout it could have been a few years ago, but should still be a very interesting must win bout. Our preview of this bout is available here Pacquiao and Broner battle for WBA Crown
Another title fight on this show will see WBA "interim" Featherweight champion Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17) defending his title against Mexican challenger Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33). The unbeaten fighter, from the Philippines, took the title last year in Malaysia and has shown to be a brutally heavy handed fighter, who is lacking in terms of speed and crispness, but is very hard hitting and very dangerous. Ruiz on the other hand made name at Bantamweight, where he was a WBA interim champion, and Super Bantamweight, where he held the WBC title, but has been relatively inactive recently and has shown shaky whiskers. We're expecting this to be very explosive and very exciting, with both having very good power. Our preview of this bout is here Tepora looks to make first defense of "interim" crown, takes on hard hitting Ruiz
Interestingly both Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) and Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) were scheduled to be on this card, though it now appears that neither man will actually feature. Sadly. Libranza was lined up to face former world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17) though only Libranza is actually listed for the show now and Libranza has been removed.
We also get a really notable card in Tokyo, as G+ televise the first Dynamic Glove card of the new year, a card featuring 3 very attractive bouts.
The main event will see former OPBF and Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) taking on Japanese veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-11-1, 13), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two met way back in May 2012, with Nakajima defeating Wake via unanimous decision. Since their first bout Wake has gone on the have notable success, going 15-1 (12) and has fought for a world title. Nakajima on the other hand has gone 9-6 since beating Wake, losing in title bouts to Hidenori Otake and Mark John Yap. This is clearly a bout to give Wake revenge for his last loss at domestic level, but is still an interesting match up, and one with a bit of history behind it.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) face off with Reiya Abe (18-2, 9), in a strange yet compelling match. Sugita, who is a full time policeman outside of the ring, has impressed since making his debut and is tipped for big things, but obviously stiffer tests than he has been getting following a very impressive amateur career. This is however a massive step up in class for Sugita, who has never faced anyone like the world ranked Abe. For Abe the bout is a risky one, given his next bout has already been arranged and is a Japanese Featherweight title bout in the middle of the year. This bout see Abe losing his title fight, if he loses, but an injury or a cut could force his plans to change. We suspect Abe will have too many tools for Sugita, at this early stage, but this is still an incredibly interesting match up. Our preview of this bout is available here World ranked Abe takes on Policeman Sugita!
The third terrific match up on this card pits ranked youngsters against each other. In one corner will be Japanese ranked Teiken promoted 24 year old Kenshin Oshima (4-1-1, 3) whilst the other corner will host 21 year old southpaw Ikuro Sadatsune (9-2-3, 3), who holds Japanese WBO Asia Pacific rankings. Coming into this bout Oshima is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run, including an ugly but notable win over Joe Tanooka back in August. Sadatsune on the other hand has won his last 3, with notable wins over Ryo Suwa and Tatsuya Takahashi. We're expecting to see Oshima's power and aggression against Sadatsune's skills and movement in a very well matched and intriguing contest.
Seoul, South Korea
In South Korea we'll see the first card under the recently announced Annihilation banner, which co-promotes MMA and boxing. The main event of this card will see Korean fighter Jung Kyoung Lee (6-2-1, 2) battling against Australian based veteran Samuel Colomban (25-10-1, 11) for the vacant OPBF Light Middleweight title. The bout will be the first OPBF title fight on Korean soil in quite some time, and seems to suggest that KBF are coming out for 2019 with some new fire in their belly. It should be noted Colomban has seen much, much better days but is still a very live fighter against the inexperienced Korean. Our preview of this bout is available here Lee and Colomban battle for OPBF crown!
One other bout of note will take place in Onratio, where we see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (3-0, 2) kicks off his 2019 with his first 6 round bout. Bhatti will take on Mitch Louis Charles (5-1-2, 2). Bhatti made his debut in March 2018and picked up 3 low key wins during the year. This is a credible step up, at least on paper, for the unbeaten man. We say on paper, because Charles hasn't fought in over 4 years and it's unclear what he'll look like given that lengthy lay off.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This coming Sunday we get one of the biggest shows of the year, possibly in fact the show of the year, as Pacquiao fever takes over Malaysia for a stacked card with 4 world title fights, and a number of notable under-card fights.
The main event will see Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) challenge WBA Welterweight champion Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-4-0-1, 36) in what is really a must win for both men. The Filipino icon, 39, hasn't fought in over a year with his last outing being a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia. In fact we now need to go back to November 2016 to find Pacquiao's last win, which came against Jessie Vargas. At his best Pacquiao was a destructive dervish in the ring, but he is several years beyond his best. Matthysse also looks to be on the slide, and looked like a shadow of himself last time out against Teerachai Kratingdaenggym. Although a dynamite puncher, with under-rated skills, Matthysse can be out boxed, and can be made to look slow and predictable. We're not sure what to expect here, but with both men being past their prime neither can really afford a loss.
In another of the world title bouts we'll see former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (35-2, 24) look to reclaim that title as he faces South Korean based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem (8-0, 6). The IBF Flyweight title became when Donnie Nietes vacated it, to move up to Super Flyweight, and as a result we have a brilliant match up here. At his best Mthalane was a leading Flyweight, an aggressive but technically sound fighter with wins against the likes of Hussein Hussein, Julio Cesar Miranda, Zolani Tete, Johnriel Casime and Ricardo Nunez. Sadly though the former champion is now 35, ancient for a Flyweight. Waseem on the other hand was on the fast track to the top to begin his career, but financial issues have slowed his rise and he's spent the last year treading water to keep off ring rust. At his best Waseem is an excellent boxer, but this is easily his toughest test to date. This could be a really high class contest.
Another of the title fights could, potentially, be an historic one. The bout in question sees WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (20-0-1, 16) defending his belt against Chinese novice Lu Bin (1-0, 1). The Chinese 23 year old is looking to become the new record holder for the fewest fights to win a world title, doing so in 2 fights, and the confidence of Bin suggests he believes he can do it. He was a former amateur stand out and, like Vasyl Lomachenko, wanted to be fast tracked in the professional ranks. A win for Bin really would raise the bar for what is expected of true “super prospects”. Canizales on the other hand is looking for his first defense, after winning the title against Reiya Konishi earlier this year. The Venezuelan puncher is a fearsome fighter who's only set back was a split decision draw with Ryoichi Taguchi, and coming into this bout he may well be the best fighter at 108lbs, though obviously has stiff competition from the likes of Ken Shiro. We suspect Canizales will be the favourite but Bin is not there to roll over and lose.
The 4th world title bout will see Filipino Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16) battle against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12) for the WBA “interim” Featherweight title. The talented Tepora has long been tipped as one of the most promising young Filipino fighters and has picked up a number of minor titles in recent years but this is a big step up from the likes of Lusanda Komanisi, who Tepora stopped in eye opening fashion last September. The Filipino is flawed but has lights out power and will be a very dangerous fighter to go toe-to-toe with. Ortega is an all-action fighter with a come forward pressure style. He has scored notable wins over the likes of Juan Carlos Carlos Sanchez Jr, Tomas Rojas and Drian Francisco, but has never been in with someone who has power like Tepora. We're expecting to see Ortega bring the action and Tepora look for counters in what could be an absolute barn burner.
The under-card here is littered with great match ups, including a bout between unbeaten Chinese fighter Yongqiang Yang (10-0, 7) and once beaten Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), in what really could be a very special bout. Another good looking contest will see the hard hitting Filipino Jayar Inson (16-1, 11) taking on Aussie foe Terry Tzouramanis (20-3-3, 3) in what could be a very exciting contest.
As well as the big Malaysian show there will also be a smaller, though somewhat notable, card in Aichi.
The main event of this Aichi card will see 2017 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Musashi Mori (6-0, 5) battling against Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-2, 9). The 18 year old Mori is one to watch, blessed with natural power, speed and skills he appears to be a fighter who could find himself in the title mix in 2 or 3 years, if he can continue to rack up wins. On paper this is a notable step up in class for the Japanese teenager, given that Vallespin's only losses have come to very decent fights in the form of Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk. This is a a really interesting bout and a very tough test for Mori.
Also on this card is the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (5-1, 5), who takes on Suntorn Panhom (2-2, 1) on Thailand. The Japanese fighter came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight and has since bounced back with a stoppage over Shuto Takase in April. This will be his first bout against a non-Japanese fighter. Panhom comes into this on the back of back-to-back losses and we're not expecting him to to handle the power of Iimi, at all.
There is also a small card in Korea courtesy of the KBA.
The headline bout here will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) defending her title against Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-7, 4). Choi, the only current Korean world champion, will be looking to extend her reign and increase her profile with this win as she attempts to make her 6th defense of the title. The champion, a tall and rangy fighter, should be strongly favoured, but Gomez has fought at world level before and has proven to be no push over against the likes of Jackie Nava.
Also on this card will be Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), who will be up against a Thai foe. The Korean is a IFBA, WIBA and WIBF world champion who will be looking to add a WBF International Minimumweight title to her collection. Although she's a multi-time title winner Park was beaten last time out in a WBO world title fight by Kayoko Ebata, in what was her first defeat in over a decade. We suspect she'll be back to winning ways here.
Attention turns to Australia this coming Sunday as Top Rank host a major card, headlined by one Filipino star, and acting as a potential show case for the another.
The main bout will see the iconic Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38) defending the WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten Australian challenger Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11). Although Pacquiao is coming to the end of his great career he is expected to still have too much for Horn, who is stepping up massively to face the “Pacman”. Although the bout does see Pacquiao defending his title the contest has lacked the big fight feel of most Pacquiao bouts and it certainly hasn't caught the attention of international fans, but is set to do big numbers in Australia where demand for the tickets has been high.
A second world title fight on this card will see talented Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1,17) defending his IBF Super Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8), who enters the bout as the mandatory challenger. Coming into this Ancajas will be seeking his second defense of the title that he won last year, when he upset McJoe Arroyo, and he will be hoping that an impressive win here opens the door to major bouts in the red hot Super Flyweight division. For Kinoshita the bout will see him making his international debut, and getting his second world title fight, following a loss to Zolani Tete. The bout is potentially a huge opportunity for the winner to move into divisional super fights but it a bout where the champion will be strongly favoured.
Also on this card is Filipino youngster Jonel Dapidran (8-1, 4), who will be making his international debut. The Filipino youngster will be looking to score his second successive win here as he takes on Australian local Brent Dames (5-3), who was beaten last time in a 10 rounder. This is a tough ask for Dapidran, but he has shown plenty of promise and will be coming in to this one with the hope of scoring a huge win on a card headlined by his older cousin Manny Pacquiao.
As well as the action in Australia there will also be a small card in China. The most notable bout on the card will see rising local puncher Pui Yu Lim (3-0, 3) battling against Indonesian foe Skak Max (8-14, 7). Although Lim is relatively unknown he has impressed so far, and last time out the confident Chinese fighter stopped Chaloemporn Singwancha in Thailand and will now be looking to continue his rise here. Max has never won outside of Indonesia and it's hard to see him winning here.
The biggest card of the weekend comes from Nevada where fight fans will get 4 world title bouts, all involving Asian fighters, in fact from the 4 bouts there are 5 Asian's in action.
The highest profile of the bouts sees multi-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38) battle against WBO Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10) in what will be Pacquiao's ring return after a short lived retirement. The Filipino sensation is the clear betting favourite but is close to 38 years old and will be the much smaller man in the ring. For Vargas the bout sees him facing his first legend and a win for the once beaten American will open huge doors, and legitimise his world title reign.
At Featherweight we see little known Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19) take on WBO champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18), in what is Valdez's first defense. The Japanese fighter is a former OPBF champion but this is a massive step up in class for him and he hasn't really fought anyone of much renown in a while, with perhaps his best recent win being over prospect Kosuke Saka. Valdez is earmarked as a potential Mexican super star and with his style, power and skills he has the potential be one of the biggest things in boxing, and we think that will be shown here.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Filipino champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24) defending his WBO title against the unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17), in what is likely to be the best bout on the card. Donaire will be making the second defense of his title and although there are question marks over what he has left in the tank this is a massive step up for the challenger. The bout should tell us how good Magdaleno is and just how much Donaire has left.
In an all Asian bout we'll see Chinese star Zou Shiming (8-1, 2) battle Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym (39-1-2, 24) in a second bout between the two men, with them now fighting for the WBO Flyweight title. These two have fought before, fighting in Macau where Shiming dominated Kwanpichit on route to a very wide decision, and we suspect we'll see the same again here, though he has has been relatively inactive whilst Kwanpichit has been stringing together low level stoppage wins in his homeland.
In Japan we get another live televised card courtesy of G+, who are showing a Gushiken card featuring several notable names.
In the main event of the show we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) defending his title for the first time as he takes on Filipino challenger Felipe Cagubcob Jr (6-2-5, 2). The exciting Higa is one of the fastest rising prospects in world boxing today and is looking to build on quick victories over Romel Oliveros and Ardin Diale earlier this year. Cagubcob is looking to build on a career best win over Donny Mabao back in July and avenge Higa's wins over several Filipino fighters in recent years.
Originally one of the key support bout was supposed to see former OPBF and JBC title challenger Shingo Eto (17-5-1, 9) take on the fast rising Shuya Masaki (5-0, 2). Sadly Eto has been injured in the build up to the show and has been replaced by Thailand's Tienchai Yoongkaogym (2-6, 1), in what is a much less interesting bout. We are looking forward to seeing Masaki back in action but it's hard to deny that what we've been left with is a long way from what was originally announced.
There is still one Eto brother fighting on this card with former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (18-4-1, 13) taking on Jun Blazo (5-1-3, 5) in the chief support bout. The bout will be Eto's second since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras in a WBC Super Flyweight world title bout, and he'll be hoping for a much more fluent performance than he had in May against Michael Escobia, in a bout that was surprisingly competitive. Blazo is limited but has won his last 3 by stoppage and is the type of fighter we've see Eto over-look before.
Mox Power Promotions put on their next Chinese card with a low profile card in Zhengzhou. The show is low profile but features 5 bouts, all scheduled for 6 rounds, and all featuring at least one debutant.
On another lower profile show, this time in Australia, we'll see the win-less Maks Chylewski (0-2) take on tough Thai loser Pramool Boonpok (1-26-1),in what could potentially be an interesting bout, despite the obvious limitations of both fighters.
The highest profile bout of the weekend comes from the US where fans get the chance to see the third meeting between Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38) and American Timothy Bradley (33-1-1-1, 13). At the moment the men are officially 1-1 when facing each other, though the series really should be 2-0 to Pacquiao, though what makes this bout bigger than the rivalry is the fact that's expected to be Pacquiao's final bout. Interestingly it's Pacquiao's first bout since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr and his first since recent comments about regarding gay marriage, both things that could hurt the profile and attention of this bout.
Dangjin, South Korea
In Korea fans get a really deep novice show courtesy of a KBF Rookie of the Year card.
Originally the main event of this card was set see former world champion Yong Soo Choi (29-4-1, 19) return to the ring, at the age of 43, to face Kazuya Nakano (9-5-1, 7), however this bout has been delayed by a week.
In Australia fans will get the chance to see several Thai's in action.
One of those bouts will see Anrey Onesongchaigym (8-3-1, 3) battle against popular Australian Shannon O'Connell (11-4-1, 6) for the WBC Silver female Super Bantamweight title. The Australian is best known by some for her world title challenger against Hyun Mi Choi, almost 3 years ago, since that bout O'Connell has struggled going 4-2-1 though has faced some very competition during that run. Anrey on the other hand has lost 2 of her last 3, and hasn't scored a win of any note so far.
Another female bout will see Hongfah Tor Buamas (19-5, 2) take on the talented Susie Ramadan (23-2, 8). Hongfah's record is less than stellar, but she has gone 15-1 in her last 16 with her only loss during that run being a stoppage to the fantastic Ava Knight. Ramadan is the clear favourite here but at 36, and with more than a year of inactivity, she probably isn't the fighter she once was.
Another Thai on this card is Napaporn Ruengsuwan (0-0) who will be facing Cherneka Johnson (0-0)
If there's been a date marked down in every boxing fan's calendar this year it's been May 2nd. Whilst we may not have had “The Fight” signed until several months into the year it always seemed like a date set to have a big fight. Thankfully for everyone in boxing it's “The Fight” and not just “A fight”.
Of course the bout in question needs no real introduction just 2-words “Mayweather” and “Pacquiao”. That's right, they finally get on and at a long last we get to see the mega-popular Filipino Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38) battle against unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26) in a bout that many are regarding as the “Fight of the Century”. The contest will be the richest fight in history, it will see the WBA/WBC and WBO Welterweight titles all being unified and it will almost certainly see the sporting world come to a halt. There is nothing that needs saying about this one other than “it's really happening”.
We'll admit it should have happened years ago, but better late than never, right?
Prior to the big one fans in Tokyo get some interesting,action of heir own at the Korakuen Hall.
The first of the interesting bouts here will see the fast rising Japanese based Filipino Johnreil Maligro (12-0, 9) battle against Ribo Takahata (10-5-1, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Takahata has mixed with some solid opposition, such as Rikki Naito and Shingo Eto , and he certainly has the ability to test good prospects. Whilst Takahata could be a good test we have to say we were very impressed with Maligro last year who scored a trio of good wins, including an 88 second blow out win over Kazuma Sanpei.
The chief support bout will see Hayato Kimura (22-7, 15) face off against Filipino slugger Jomar Fajardo (14-6-2, 7). Originally Kimura was set to fight Takuya Kogawa though it appears that Kogawa has pulled out ahead of a proposed Japanese Flyweight title fight. Despite the change of opponent this should still be a really good bout with Fajardo proving his ability with his two bouts against Francisco Rodriguez Jr, the first of which saw him scoring a draw with the talented Mexican. This could well end in an upset.
In the main event fans will see the exciting Shinya Iwabuchi (24-5, 20) take on the well matched Ryusei Yoshida (26-6, 13) in a potential war. We like Iwabuchi a lot, despite his faults, and we expect him to be able to draw Yoshida into his fight, if he manages that then this will almost certainly catch fire and become a very fun bout for the fans in attendance. We do however need to admit that Iwabuchi didn't look great last time out.
We have two shows this Sunday, local time, in Asia with one of those boxing a huge, monster show with one of the biggest names in the sport.
The biggest show of the day for almost every boxing fan is in Macau where Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions returns for another huge show with some of the biggest names in Asian boxing and some genuinely compelling match ups.
The main event, as is often the case, is the main talking point as Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) risks his WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten American Chris Algieri (20-0, 8). For Pacquiao this will be the first defence of the title he regained when he defeated Timothy Bradley earleir this year, following a highly controversial loss to Bradley in 2012. As for Algieri this is a chance to continue an unlikely rise to stardom which is all the more shocking considering his lack of power. Pacquiao is of course one of the biggest names in world boxing and he is strongly favoured to retain his belt here though will need to over-come a notable size disadvantage to defeat the gutsy Algieri who really shocked many when he defeated Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.
In a second world title bout fans will see Thailand's experienced Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33) attempt to claim the WBO Featherweight title from former amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1). Lomachenko will be defending the belt he won earlier this year when he defeated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr and we suspect the talented Ukrainian will just have too much of everything for the experienced but limited Thai, who is of course best known for his loss to Chris John in his only previous world title bout. On paper this looks like a very odd contest given the huge gulf in professional experience but in reality the gulf in in skills and not experience.
A third world title bout on this show will see the controversial Jessie Vargas (25-0, 9) defending his WBA Light Welterweight title against former Lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (31-3-1, 23). Vargas always appears to get the rub of the green in close fights and we wouldn't be shocked if he did the same here however this will be his first bout outside of the US and DeMarco is as gutsy as they come, as seen memorably in his bouts with Edwin Valero and Jorge Linares. This could be the most competitive contest on the show even if there is no Asian involved in the bout.
Yet another 12 rounder on this show will pit unbeaten fighters together as China's former amateur sensation-turn professional hopeful Zou Shiming (5-0, 1) risks his perfect record against Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (27-0-2, 12). On paper this is one of the most compelling bouts on the show though we do suspect that Shiming will end up having a relatively easy time with his Thai opponent. Kwanpichit is world ranked by 3 of the big 4 organisations however we are in the "he's lucky to be unbeaten" camp having seen him narrowly escape an opening round defeat to Ben Mananquil in 2013 in a bout that could so easily have been stopped, and having narrowly taken a decision over the limited Jay-Ar Estremos earlier this year. Shiming might not be as good as advertised but he really should have more than enough to see off Kwanpichit who has feasted on smaller and less experienced men throughout his career so far. This is a must win for Shiming but if he loses then he isn't going to be good enough to ever win a world title.
On the under-card we have 4 bouts that we rather like the look of, for one reason or another. One of those will see the exciting Jerwin Ancajas (21-1-1, 13) take on the tough Fadhili Majiha (15-5-4, 7) in an 8 round bout. Ancajas impressed on his Macau debut s he blew away Inthanon Sithchamuang however he'll be expecting a much, much more competitive contest here with Majiha having proven his toughness in recent decison losses to Marlon Tapes and Pungluang Sor Singyu with the Punglunag bout being a surprisingly competitive one. In another under-card bout the always entertaining Rex Tso (14-0, 9) battles late fill in Espinos Sabu (11-2-1, 5) who has taken the fight on short notice after Kenta Okumura was forced to pull out with a hand injury. Tso is one of the sports more exciting fighters but unfortunately the popular Hong Kong fighter is somewhat limited and we suspect that he will find his level sooner rather than later. With that said, the tough Sabu is unlikely to be the one who does take the unbeaten record of Tso. It wouldn't be the biggest upset of the year if Sabu won but it would be somewhat a shock.
In 6 round action fans will see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Qu Peng (6-0-1, 4) fight against Andrew Robinson (3-2, 2) in what looks like a step up for Peng. Also in another 6 rounder is the popular Kuok Kun Ng (5-0, 2) who faces fellow unbeaten Steve Attard (5-0-2, 2). We'll admit we like Ng, a lot, and view him as potentially the best of the emerging Chinese novices and if he's as good as we think he should come out on top here.
Their is only one show in Japan this Sunday as Hatanaka put on one of their “Soul Fighting” cards which will be shown, at some point, on CBC TV in Japan, which we've been informed is a regional channel so fans likely won't be able to find this one available for streams.
The main event here is a WBC Youth Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (12-0-3, 8) looks to make the third defense of his belt. Unfortunately for fans, and Tanaka, this defense looks like a mismatch as the promising Japanese youngster battles against Indonesian visitor Rendi Stone (3-2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge step backwards for Tanaka following recent wins over Vergel Nebran and John Bajawa. Whilst Stone does enter this bout on a trio of wins we do wonder several things about him, including what his complete record looks like as we have real doubts that he is “only” 3-2-1 (2) considering his career began back in 2006.
In the chief support bout Shota Hayashi (23-5-1, 15), the #7 ranked Japanese Featherweight, will be fighting against experienced but limited Indonesian fighter Jason Butar Butar (16-14-1, 12). Hayashi will enter this bout on a 9 fight unbeaten streak, including 4 successive stoppages, and will know that if he can continue running up wins he can move towards a title fight of some kind. Butar Butar may be a recognisable name for some fans who may remember his loss, in Macau, to Harmonito Dela Torre, and sadly for the Indonesian fighter he is better known for his losses than his wins and is 0-8-1 on the road.
In Yemen we see a collision of unbeaten fighters as Muhammad Harazi (4-0, 1) battles against Hasan Dhubaibi (1-0, 1) in a bout for the Yemeni Minimumweight Title. The title will be defended by the 16 year old Harazi who won the belt with a 12 round decision ove Ali Rafik in October and it would seem plausible that the winner here will be looking for a big domestic show down with Ali Raymi.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is a busy one with 2 major cards featuring Asian fighters in world title bouts. It may not be the busiest day of the year but it is certainly one of the most interesting.
As well as the Macau show we are also looking forward to a Japanese show promoted by Japanese promotional power house Teiken promotions who are putting on a small, 8 bout, card though one that features several very interesting looking contests including 2 world title bouts.
Prior to the world title action fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Ryo Akaho (24-1-2, 16) battle against recent world title challenger Antonio Tostado Garcia (14-3, 6). Akaho isn't one of the sports most talented fighters but he is certainly entertaining and with his power we suspect he'll stop Garcia in the middle rounds of the bout, if not earlier.
The first of the two world title fights will see Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34) make the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Gonzalez, one of the sports most impressive fighters, will be battling against tough Filipino Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20) in what looks likely to be a very entertaining bout though one that Gonzalez has to be favoured in, especially considering the way he won the title back in September by stopping Akira Yaegashi.
The other world title bout on this show will see the heavy handed Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) defending his WBC Super Featherweight title in a mandatory defence of his belt against heavy handed Mexican slugger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) in what could potentially be a FOTY contender. Miura is earning himself a reputation as a Mexcutioner after 3 successive wins over Mexican foes, including his thrilling win over Sergio Thompson, and he'll be hoping to extend that run as he takes on a fighter who is similar to him in terms mentality in the ring. Expect this one to be violent and highly exciting as long as it lasts.
The final world title bout involving an Asian fighter comes from the United Kingdom as former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Hidenori Otake (22-1-3, 9) battles the unbeaten Scott Quigg (29-0-2, 22) in a bout for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. When this bout was signed Otake was unranked by the WBA, though he is now ranked #9 rather mysteriously. Otake is seen as a huge under-dog and with good reason considering his best wins are against domestic opponents and with that in mind we'd be shocked to see win, though like the two title bouts in Japan this should be entertaining as long as it lasts due to the styles of the men involved.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
Over the past few weeks every day seems to have been packed with a lot of boxing. Some of it was genuinely great, other bits were unmemorable and relatively forgettable. This Saturday however promises to be a night to remember despite their not actually being a lot of fighting going on.
The reason it's such an exciting day is because we get the return of the great Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino ring legend who fights for the first time this year.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38) returns to the US to look for revenge as he battles unbeaten American Timothy Bradley (31-0-0-1, 12) in an attempt to avenge a very controversial loss from back in 2012. With the WBO Welterweight title on the line and honour to be reclaimed for Pacquiao a lot is on the line for the Filipino though Bradley is no push over and he'll be hoping to prove the first fight was no fluke.
On the same card we also get WBA Light Welterweight champion Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9) who will be defending his title for the second time as he battles the unbeaten, and once very touted, Jessie Vargas (23-0, 9). Vargas doesn't really impress us though he does keep winning and Allakhverdiev will need to make sure he's at the top of his game to over-come the unbeaten Mexican-American who Floyd Mayweather Jr once hyped. Vargas has good speed and heart but Allakhverdiev, if he's on forum, certainly has the ability to grind him down late.
Staying with same card Filipino fighter Mark Anthony Geraldo (29-4-3, 13) will be battling against Mexico's Raul Hidalgo (21-10, 16) in a fight that could give the US Audience their first chance to see Geraldo who we live. The Filipino kid isn't the biggest puncher or the most skilled but he's a very good fighter who has shown guts to travel for bouts against Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Hirofumi Mukai in the past. Had Geraldo had a decent promoter behind him he could well have been looking at having had world title fights, heck Mukai's had 2 and Geraldo managed to wipe him out in double quick time just a year ago.
Also on this card is Afghan born Canadian based Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10) who is a late fill in for Roman Martinez. Usmanee will be in a very tough bout with Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17) with the winner expected to face Terence Crawford in a WBO Lightweight world title fight later this year.
In Germany Heavyweight fans can see the Lebanese born Manuel Charr (25-1, 15) in action as he takes on Kevin Johnson (29-5-1, 14) in what looks like a really good Heavyweight match up. Fans have given both fighters abuse over the years but on their day they are a handful for anyone not named "Wladimir Klitschko" and they could well give us a great bout as they both try and shoot themselves back into world title contention.
(Image courtesy of http://www.insidefortlauderdale.com/)