Whilst we know almost every boxing fan is looking forward to the action through out Saturday there is plenty going on on Friday to keep fans interested with former world champions, world class fighters and a genuinely great show in Russia.
Surat Thani, Thailand
The earliest action of the day is in Thailand where one time world champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (53-1-1, 19) defends his WBC International Super Flyweight title against Filipino challenger Noli Morales (10-4, 3), who has suffered all 4 of his losses so far in Thailand. This is the best opponent Morales has faced and that should sum up how we expect the contest to go.
The biggest show of the day is the one in Russia as we get a genuinely fantastic show with several world class fighters in action in some very interesting looking contests.
The main event is the pick of the bouts with former WBA Heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18) returning to the ring for the first time since his defeat at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko. Povetkin's opponent will be former WBC Heavyweight title challenger Manuel Charr (26-1, 15) and with both men looking to move back into a world title fight this is effective a title eliminator, despite only officially being a WBC international title fight. We'll be honest we're really looking forward to this one and expect it to be a very, very competitive bout between two top 20 Heavyweights each looking to earn their way to a major bout later in the year.
Whilst the Heavyweight clash is brilliant it's also supported by two world class fighters on the undercard. One of these is former WBC Cruiserweight title challenger Rakhim Chakhkiev (18-1, 14) who will be defending his WBC international Cruiserweight title for the first time as he battles former world title challenger Santander Silgado (25-1, 20). Silgado is somewhat known to Russian fans for his loss to Denis Lebedev back in 2012 and has gone 2-0 (2) since then against opponents with a combined record of 44-5-2 despite that he really shouldn't be a problem for Chakhkiev who is a vicious fighter.
The other world class fighter is Lightweight Eduard Troyanovsky (17-0, 14) who has had a disappointing few months due to an injury that has seen a WBA world title bout with Richar Abril fall through. Sadly Troyanovsky's disappointment won't be softened by his very weak opponent, Anton Bekish (5-10, 4), who is tough but has nothing at all to threaten the very talented Russian contender.
A fourth bout of note on this card will see Sergey Lipinets (1-0) return to the ring for his second professional bout. Lipinets, who debuted just a few short weeks ago, will be hoping to score his second win as he takes on the once beaten Serbian fighter Dzemil Cosovic (3-1-1) in a scheduled 6 round bout. We've heard very promising things about Lipinets and we hope he progresses as the Russian media are suggesting he could. If the media are right this youngster has the potential to be a real star.
In the US we get another Russian in action as Medzhid Bektemirov (13-0, 10) puts his unbeaten record on the line against a yet to be named foe.
Thanks, as always, go out to Pal for his information regarding the action in Thailand. With out him we'd be at a real loss in regards to the Thai boxing scene.
(Image courtesy of the 13th round)
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/)