This coming Friday features 2 notable shows, one of which will end a saga that has dragged on for over 2 months with some frustrating moments and the other being a lesser notable, though perhaps more interesting, card.
After months of rescheduling we finally see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) face off with former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) in what will be their second bout. This was originally scheduled for early March, then late March then April and finally the end of May. It's a bout that we're looking forward to, given that Fukuhara gave Wanheng fits in their first bout, but are thoroughly annoyed by, due to all the scheduling changes. Wanheng, although still unbeaten, has looked more and more beatable in recent years but has found a way to maintain his winning run and title. Fukuhara on the other hand will likely know that he won't be getting too many more shots in the near future, and really needs to make the most of this. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Wanheng and Fukuhara battle again for WBC crown
As well as the world title show in Thailand we also have a compelling lesser card in Japan, where we get a number of faltering youngsters in action.
One of the most talented fighters on this card is the skilled but light punching Izuki Tomioka (5-2-1, 1), who gave Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title bout. The talented Tomioka will be up against Filipino journeyman Marbon Bodiongan (15-8-2, 11), in what should be a straight forward win for Tomioka, who desperately needs a victory after going winless in his last 3. The Filipino does usually come to fight, but will struggle with the movement of Tomioka.
On the subject of someone who desperately needs a victory Kiyohei Endo (2-2, 2), a former talented amateur, cannot possibly have another defeat at this stage of his career, but he's in hard against Daiki Maniwa (7-3-1, 4). Endo was touted when he turned professional but was shocking stopped by Piyanut Sintao, in what could be classed as a fluke, and he hasn't lived up to his talent since. Whilst Endo needs a win, he may not get it here, and Maniwa, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, will be looking to save his own career in what is a must win for both men.
On paper the best of the bouts will see Jin Miura (10-3-1, 1) battle against the talented, and exciting, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14), who is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Ryoichi Tamura in a Japanese title fight. It's hard to see anything but a Nakagawa win, but this should be a fairly entertaining contest, as most Nakagawa bouts are.
One other bout of some note will see the light punching Ryo Narizuka (9-8-1) battle against Seiya Fujikita (12-4, 5), in what should be an interesting bout though one that isn't likely to be particularly explosive.
This coming Tuesday Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get a title doubler header, with a regional title fight, and a female world title fight.
The main event of the card sees the popular Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title against Filipino foe Marbon Bodiongan (14-5-2, 11). The Japanese fighter, best known for his match up with Omar Figueroa, looks to make his first defense of the title and extend a good 4 fight winning run. Aged 35, and having had a very hard career, Arakawa is likely to age over-night but should have too much for Bodiongan, who has lost 4 of his last 7 including a stoppage last year to Masaru Sueyoshi in Japan.
The world title bout on the card will see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) attempt to make her 6th defense of the title as she takes on former foe Saemi Hanagata (13-6-3, 7). Last year the two fought to a split decision draw and a rematch always looked like it would make sense, and be genuinely exciting. At the age of 47 Ikeyama is the oldest ever Japanese world champion and will be looking to extend that record further here, whilst Hanagata will be in her 4th world title challenge, having yet to win one.9
A really nice looking under-card bout here will see Masayuki Ichikawa (6-4-1, 2) take on Hizuki Saso (6-4-1, 2) in a real 50-50 on paper. The two men have identical records, and both have similar form with a a 3 fight win-less run, with the most recent of those bouts being a split decision draw between the two men in January. This really could be a very intriguing and competitive bout.
It's worth noting that Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7) will take part in the show, despite cancelling his bout with former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27). Instead of fighting Kimura will discuss his upcoming bout with WBO Flyweight world champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2).
Some days are busy, this coming Sunday is one such day with a host of bouts through out Asia, even if they aren't the biggest fights of the year.
The most interesting of the numerous Asian shows today will come from the Philippines where we see one of the sport's most exciting little men in action.
The aforementioned little man is Filipino slugger Denver Cuello (34-5-6, 22) who will be fighting against experienced Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-27-2, 3) in a 10 round bout. This will be Cuello's second bout in quick succession this year having lost more than a year of his career to inactivity following a nasty arm injury that he suffered in a WBC world title fight in 2013 against Xiong Zhao Zhong. As for Tehuayo, AKA Sammy Hagler, this will be his second fight this month following a loss to Pigmy Kokietgym back on November 14th.
The co-feature bout on this show is also a notable one as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (37-13-5, 27) battles against Arjet Caballes (6-31-5, 3) in another complete and utter mismatch.
An interesting under-card bout here will see the unbeaten Kyota Otsuka (4-0, 2) fighting against the much more experienced Ricky Oyan (4-22-2, 2). On paper this is a a good step up for Otsuka but it's a step up he should manage with out too many problems.
In Ishikawa, on one of the three Japanese shows, we see a number of bouts featuring international fighters.
The main event will feature promising Filipino Daryl Basadre (13-1-1, 9) fighting against unbeaten Thai Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (6-0, 4) in what looks to be a genuinely interesting contest for the WBC Youth Bantamweight. Basadre is unbeaten since being stopped by Suriyan Sor Rungvisai back in September 2013 and has since ran up 4 wins, 3 by stoppage, as he's redeveloped his confidence. Yodsingdaeng is a bit of a mystery Thai though hopefully will prove to be better than some other Thai's we've seen fighting on the road recently.
The show will also feature two other bouts between a Filipinos and Thais. One will see Mark Gil Melligen (20-4-1, 11) battling against a Thai opponent, though sadly one we haven't the name of. The other will see the very exciting and promising Neil John Tabanao (9-0, 6) fighting against the win-less Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (0-3). We suspect we'll see the Filipino's going 3-0 here.
The 5 other bouts on this card will see Japanese fighters fighting against Chinese fighters. The most notable of these bouts is a 6 rounder between Yukiya Hanabusa (6-2-2, 1) battle against Chinese novice Xu Yuan Cai (0-1).
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card is going to be held in Zamboanga and will be headlined by a bout between the unbeaten and promising Dexter Alimento (6-0, 4) and the limited but experienced Jherom Tuyor (6-19-2, 3) in what we suspect will be a relatively straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
A second Japanese show comes from Tochigi and is only a small one featuring a total of 7 bouts, though only 2 are worth noting.
The main event here is a 10 round featuring OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender Yoshitomo Watanabe (5-1, 4). The 22 year old Japanese fighter will be fighting against a Thai opponent though unfortunately we don't have any information about the Thai in this bout.
In the chief support bout fans will get an 8 rounder between Yuki Furuya (6-6, 2) and Masahide Shinabe (6-11-2, 3). This isn't a great bout on paper but it should give the fans something to enjoy before the main event.
In Kagoshima we get the weakest of the three Japanese cards. The show will also feature 7 bouts and it's most notable bouts are both relatively poor.
One of the co-features will see Naoya Haruguchi (5-5, 2) fighting against Takeshi Nakayama (3-6-2, 1) whilst the other will see Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2, 1) battling against Takuya Taniguchi (4-5-1, 1). Both of these bouts are 6 rounders and sadly it does leave us feeling under-whelmed with nothing on the show being particularly interesting.
In China there is a small show as well, with yet more Chinese fighters in action. That card, from Wuhan, appears to have a number of novices in action with no real stand out bout.
One of those novices is Wang Kun (1-1, 1) who will be battling against limited Georgian Giorgi Gochishvili (3-4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. Kun fought both of his bouts in 2012 and will be returning to the ring after a notable break. Gochishvili started his career 3-0 though has failed to record a win in his last 6 bouts and suspect that run will be continue here.
The other bout will see A Mu (0-0) making his debut. The debuting Chinese fighter will be in action against Georgian visitor Renat Samedovi (10-11-1, 3). We suspect that Mu will be given a good test here and this isn't a gimme as we would usually see from a debutant.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We get two more Asian fighters in action in South Africa as we get a pair of IBO title fights, strange the Asian's on this show have actually fought each other in the past.
One of the fighters is is the heavy handed Filipino hopeful Marbon Bodiongan (11-1-2, 9) who will be fighting against Xolani Mcotheli (10-1, 8) in a bout for the IBO Super Featherweight title. This is a great bout on paper and one we're excited by given that both guys are talented and both guys appear to have real power.
The other Asian on this show is another Filipino, the talented and very promising Michael Dasmarinas (18-1, 11) challenging for the IBO Super Flyweight title against Lwandile Sityatha (17-3-1, 7). Dasmarinas was actually stopped by Bodiongan back in April 2012 though has since ran off 15 straight wins, including an impressive one on the road against Hayato Kimura in Japan. Sityatha comes into this bout following a very narrow win over Edrin Dapudong and we suspect Dasmarinas has been given a heads up about how the South African fighters ahead of this coming contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)