This coming Friday isn't a huge day for fans of Asian fighters, but there is plenty to get excited about, with several notable names, promising hopefuls and former world title challengers being involved.
York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom
One of the most interesting bouts sees touted Kazakh hopeful Tursynbay Kulakhmet (4-0, 3) defending his WBC International title against Juan Carlos Abreu (23-6-1, 21), in a mouth watering match up. There is not doubting Kulakhmet's potential, and he has looked fantastic at times, though is very much a developing fight and nothing close to the complete product, and we are really glad to see his team putting him in interesting match ups like this so early in his career. The 27 year old has the potential to fight at the top level and him being moved quickly is great to see. Abreu is no world beater, but he's heavy handed and has only been stopped once, by the then 25-0 Jaron Ennis, and a stoppage here would see Kulakhmet's reputation blossom rapidly.
Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, USA
Whilst Kulakhmet is being moved quickly the same can't be said of Chinese Light Heavyweight Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10), who was set for a world title fight in 2020, and has now been out of the ring for 2 years! Sadly his return isn't against someone who will prepare him for a world title contest, but instead he'll face Panama's Israel Duffus (20-6, 17) in what should be little more than a rust shaking, stay busy bout for the Chinese fighter.
Also on this card will be Japan prospects Mikito Nakano (5-0, 4) and Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1), who will be making their US debuts, against yet to be named opponents. Nakano looks like he could be in the mix for a domestic title in the very near future, and looks to be a genuinely special talent. Fujita, who debuted earlier this year, has the tools to be put on the fast track, and it's going to be very exciting to see what he does to impress an American audience.
Sanman Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Over in he Philippines we get an Asian show featuring several former world title challengers, in bouts that should end up being rather predictable and straight forward wins.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Aston Palicte (27-4-1, 23), who will be up against Roland Jay Biendima (15-9-1, 8). Palicte, best known for his bouts with Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka, should be too big, too strong and too powerful for Biendima, who has now lost 4 in a row. Palicte has won his last two, both at domestic level, and we suspect that the plan is to get some rounds here before stepping up in the new year and begin moving towards a third world title fight.
A second former world title challenger on this card is Richie Mepranum (35-8-1, 10), who will be up against the very limited Nicardo Calamba (9-32-5, 6). At his best Mepranum was a very solid boxer, but he's now been pout of the ring for close to two years and we can't help but feel his career is coming to a close. Despite that he should have way, way too much for Calamba here, and could end up retiring sooner rather than later.
A third world title challenger on this card is the incredibly talented Mark Anthony Barriga (10-1, 2), who is set to pick up an easy win here against the very, very limited Ramil Antaran (4-14-2). Barriga has the potential to win a world title, somewhere down the line, and should win this one very, very easily, but it's a real shame that he's fighting at such a low level. His talent deserves to much more, and hopefully in 2022 we see him facing off with one off the bigger names at either Minimumweight or Light Flyweight
Other mismatch with a notable fighter on this card will see the often under-rated Joey Canoy (16-5-1-1, 9) take on Michael Camelion (11-13-3, 9), in what again looks like a horrible mismatch. Canoy might not be a world beater, but he's not too far off world class and should be far, far, far too good for Camelion.
This coming Saturday is a hectic day for fans of Asian fighters, with a host of shows through out Asia, some of which will show case some of the brightest prospects in Thailand and the Philippines. As well as the action in Asia there is also set to be some interesting action in Russia, which could end up stealing the day!
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
The best of the Asian action, at least on paper, comes from Thailand where we get two bright prospects taking on veterans in what should be very good tests for the youngsters.
One of the youngsters on this card is 17 year old sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5), who will be looking to record his second defense of the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, as he clashes with former multi-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-7, 41). The talented Phoobadin has been impressing for a while, and really shone last year, particularly in his title defence against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, but there is a lot of work for him to do before thinking about world titles. The highly experienced Chonlatarn, best known for losing in world title bouts against Vasyl Lomachenkoand Chris John, is going to be a game opponent here, but we suspect the 36 year old will be under-sized and under-powered against the very promising teenage hopeful.
The second notable hopeful on this show will be Tanes Ongjunta (7-1, 4), who takes on Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-11, 41), also known as Suriyan Satorn or Kompayak Porpramook. The talented Ongjunta was upset early last year, when he came undone against an inspired Adrian Lerasan, but since then he has reeled off 3 low key wins and is now taking a big step up, as he tried to give his career a kick start. The 38 year old Kompayak has lost 6of his last 8, but has, typically, been in the ring looking to score wins. We suspect Kompayak will be in there giving his all against Ongjunta, but will come up short, and potentially suffer a late stoppage against the talented Ongjunta.
As well as the action in the Philippines there will also be prospects in action over in the Philippines.
One of the exciting prospects on this card is the once beaten Peter Apolinar (13-1, 8), who looks to record a 9th successive win, as he takes on Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3). There talented 25 year old Apolinar has shown some real potential, but has faced far too many limited opponents to develop his skills properly and he really does need some step ups when the world returns to normality. Sadly Paredes looks like another limited foe for Apolinar, and another man he should easily defeat.
Another mismatch featuring a bright hopeful will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6) take on Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4). The unbeaten 25 year old Vicelles has won his last 9 in a row including solid wins over the likes of Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas but sadly this looks like a massive step backwards for him. Garde has lost his last 4, and 6 of his last 7 and it's unlikely he will pose anything of a test for Vicelles.
The exciting and hard hitting Tomjune Mangubat (12-2-1, 10) will be in action against the very limited Ryan Maano (5-10-2, 1). Although certainly not a big name Mangubat can be involved in some really great action fights, as we saw in his 2019 thriller against Jong Seon Kang. Sadly this looks very much like a tick over for the exciting 23 year old. Maano has scored 2 wins his last 11 and it's hard to imagine him picking up another one here.
The unbeaten Regie Suganob (5-0, 1) has slowly been developing his reputation in the sport and he looks to continue building as he takes on Paolo Sy (6-5-1, 3) here. The talented Suganob isn't being rushed, but this is a good step forward and will be the first time he's competed in an 8 rounder, which should force him to answer some new questions. Although Sy's record is under-whelming he did should some real toughness in his 2019 loss to Shokichi Iwata and we suspect he will serve as a bit of a test for Suganob here.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) will fight for the first time since his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali. The talented Villanueva will be matched somewhat softly here, as he goes up against domestic foe Bryan Tamayo (6-1-2, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for the skilled and experienced Villanueva, but there are question marks about the long lay off and his hunger after losing in several world title bouts. On the other hand this is a gigantic step up in class for Tamayo, who has never faced someone with more than 10 wins. Hard to see past a Villanueva win, though we do wonder about his long term future in the sport.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1), who returns to the ring after more than 2 years out of the ring. The talented Barriga was last out there losing a split decision to Carlos Licona in December 2018 in a bout for the IBF Minimumweight title, sadly he lost that bout by split decision and then took a lengthy break from the ring. His return looks to be a super easy one as he takes on Junuel Lacar (8-6-3, 6) in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout. As with several others on this show the focus seems to be on shaking some ring rust from the A-side and giving them some rounds whilst having plans for bigger things later in the year.
We stay in Asia for a show in Indonesia, which is a much lower quality show but does feature a decent main event.
That main event will see the once touted Patrick Liukhoto (11-2-2, 7) take on veteran Tommy Seran (28-18, 16). Liukhoto won his first 9 bouts in a row before going through a rough patch, where he went 0-2-1, and lost all the moment he was building. Since then he has gone 2-0-1 and is pretty much in "must win" territory. Seran on the other hand is a true stalwart but a man who has been consistently picking up losses in recent years, losing his last 6 and going 5-17 in the last 8 years. This should be a chance for Liukhoto to kick start his struggling career.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
We also get a number of Central Asian fighters in action in Russia on an RCC card in Ekaterinburg, in what is genuinely a solid and exciting card.
The most notable of the Central Asian hopefuls is unbeaten Tajik contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (16-0, 9), who looks to score his 17th win as he takes on fellow unbeaten Lunga Sitemela (13-0, 7). The bout will see Yaqubov looking to make his 4th defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title, which he won back in 2018, and a win here should move him another step towards a world title fight, potentially later this year or early next year. Sitemela is a South African hopeful who will be making his international debut, and fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. On paper Sitemela looks like a good test, but his competition so far has been under-whelming and this should be regarded as a massive step up in class for him.
In another good looking match up Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-1-1, 2) will take on Gaibatulla Gadzhialiev (7-2-1, 3). The Kyrgyzstan born, Russian based, Turgumbekov will be looking to bounce back from a 10th round TKO loss to Albert Batyrgaziev, which he suffered last August, but isn't being matched softly here and is instead in with a live opponent. Gadzhialiev begane his career in the US, way back in 2016, but has been fighting in Russia in recent years. Sadly for him he is 1-2-1 in his last 4, but the losses have all been close and there is a good argument he should have taken a win in his draw. This could end up being the hidden gem of the weekend, and should be a very hotly contested match up.
In a female match up Russian based Kazakh born Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (10-0, 3) will be up against Estrella Valverde (18-6-2-1, 3) for the WBC "interim" female Bantamweight title, a title that has no real right to exist given the WBC female Bantamweght title was defended just a few months ago. The unbeaten Zrazhevskaya has been matched softly, to say the least, and this is a big step up for her on paper, though it's one her team will be confident that she can make without too many issues. Valverde has lost in her 4 bouts outside of Mexico and we suspect she'll lose again here, but she is, by far, the most notable opponent for Zrazhevskaya so far.
The biggest bout for us this Saturday is from the US as Filipino maestro Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) takes on fellow unbeaten Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Minimumweight. The bout, on the same as Deontay Wilder's contest against Tyson Fury, will be for the title Hiroto Kyoguchi gave up, as he moved up to Light Flyweight, and promises to Barriga a notable platform to showcase his skills, which have been compared to those of Floyd Mayweather Jr, Licona is a bit of a mystery to some, but should prove a good opponent for Barriga. Sadly with neither being much of a puncher this has the potential to be a less than thrilling fight to watch, but in terms of skills on show, both are very talented, and this really could be a special one for purists. A preview of this world title fight can be read here Barriga looks to announce himself on world stage, faces Licona for IBF title
As well as the bout in the US there is also a lot of action in Japan, with 7 title bouts spread across 3 different shows.
The main event of this card will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) make his second defense, as he goes up against fellow veteran Takashi Inagaki (20-17-2, 9). The all action Hosokawa won the title late last year and made his first defense in the Champion Carnival earlier this year, stopping Vladimir Baez in May. At the age of 37 Hosokawa is likely fighting father time, but has looked very impressive recently, and a win here will set up a defense against Koki Inoue. Inagaki, fighting in his 40th professional bout, will be getting a third title shot, but will be the clear under-dog against Hosokawa. We expect this will be fun, but it's hard to see Inagaki over-coming the high octane champion. A preview of this Japanese title fight can be read here Hosokawa takes on Inagaki on December 1st!
A potentially exciting supporting bout will see ranked Light Welterweights facing off. In one corner will be Hosokawa's stablemate Yusuke Konno (13-4, 7), the #2 ranked Japanese contender, whilst the other cone will play host to recent Japanese title challenger Vladimir Baez (24-4-2, 22), the same man who was stopped by Hosokawa. Konno will know that he could get a title fight next year, but needs to over-come Baez. Baez on the other hand is ranked by the OPBF and the WBO Asia Pacific as well as the JBC. The winner here will go into the new year with their eyes on title glory, but the loser will have some serious rebuilding to do.
Another supporting nout will see former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (19-2-1, 7) return to the ring for the first since losing the world title to Ryosuke Iwasa In September 2017. The talented Oguni will be easing himself back into action here as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Arega Yunian (6-11, 1) in what should be little more than a tune up for bigger and better things in 2019.
As well as the action in Tokyo there is a busy day in Osaka, with a couple of shows there, featuring a combined 6 title bouts! One of those shows is a female card with 4 title bouts on it.
The most significant of the title contests on the female show will see Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) defending her WBO female Minimumweight title against former WBA and IBF champion Etsuko Tada (17-3-2, 5), in what looks like a brilliant must win bout between two veterans. This will be Ebata's second defense of the title she won in May 2017, when she finally won a world title in her fifth shot. Sadly for Ebata she is now 42 and her desire to have a long reign, after all the time she spent chasing a belt, does seem unlikely. At 37 Tada is no spring chicken, but the former 2-time champion does have the edge in youth, experience and winning mentality. We're expecting both to show their age, but that will likely lead to more exchanges and more intense action, which we won't complain about. This world title bout was previewed here Ebata looks to defend WBO crown against Tada
In the chief support bout fans will see former amateur standout Kasumi Saeki (2-0, 1) fight in her first title bout, as she takes on Thai visitor Wassana Kamdee (3-4, 2) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. Saeki is seen as one of the top Japanese female prospects and will be expected to do a number the Thai, who has been stopped in all 4 defeats, though her performance may decide whether her team fasts tracks her to a world title fight in early 2019 or not.
In an OPBF female Featherweight title bout we'll see Wakako Fujiwara (6-2-2, 2) take on the woman she took the title from, Kimika Miyoshi (13-11-1, 5). Fujiwara's win over Miyoshi for the belt, back in July, saw her extend her unbeaten run to 6 fights, and add the Oriental title to her reign as the Japanese national champion. Sadly for Miyoshi the loss to Fujiwara is her third in a row, and she's now without a win since June 2016. Fujiwara's first win over Miyoshi was an upset, but we suspect this will be a repeat, given the form of both fighters coming into the fight.
The remaining title bout is another OPBF title bout, which will see novice professional Eri Matsuda (1-0) look to set a Japanese record by claiming an OPBF title in just her 2nd professional bout. The talented Matsuda will be up against Minayo Kei (6-3, 1) in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Atomweight title, and if Matsuda wins there's a chance she could set a Japanese record for fewest fights taken to win a world title. Matsuda was a good amateur and it's clear that she believes she can be a very good professional, but this is a genuine test.
The second show in Osaka will also be a Shinsei promoted card from the EDION Arena Osaka, this time however the fous will be men, with two WBO Asia Pacific male title bouts on the show.
One of those bouts will see WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight champion Reiya Konishi (16-1, 6) defending his title against Filipino challenger Richard Rosales (13-7-2, 7). For Konishi this will be his first defense, following a victory over Orlie Silvestre for the belt earlier in the year, and he's said to be expecting a world title fight next year, if he wins here. Rosales will play the part of a game challenger, be we suspect he will be ground down by Konishi, and his high intensity work rate and body shots. Despite strongly favouring the champion to retain we do expect this to be a very fan friendly bout. We've previewed this bout here Konishi looks to end year with defense against Rosales
The other title bout will see Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) and Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12) battle for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight. Both of these men have held the OPBF version of this title, and both are talented fighters in their own right. Of the two Nakamura is the more pure fighter, and he's a damned good boxer-puncher, but also the more vulnerable. The much shorter Magali is the more defensively sound and has regularly found ways to get inside bigger fighters and breaking them down. This has the potential to be a genuine thriller, with both men capable of hurting the other. A full preview of this bout can be read here Nakamura and Magali to battle for regional crown!
Originally the card was also announced as having former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-1, 9) facing off with Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (33-25-2, 18), but this bout was cancelled back in November due to an injury suffered by Kubo. As a result Manakane will face off with 19 year old prospect Ryo Suwa (9-1, 1), who will be looking to score his third win of the year.
The most significant card this coming Sunday will come from Rizal where we get a world title eliminator as well as a card featuring a host of notable Filipino fighters, who are sadly taking on a number of over-matched foes.
The main bout is an IBF Minimumweight final eliminator with unbeaten Filipino sensation Mark Anthony Barriga (8-0, 1) battling against Colombian Gabriel Mendoza (29-5-2, 23). The talented Filipino has been waiting for an eliminator for some time, having seen various foes drop out, and will now be looking to dazzle as he takes on the limited but hard hitting Mendoza. As for Mendoza this will be his second bout since losing to Jose Argumedo in an IBF title fight, and although he's not world class he can hit hard and could test Barriga chin, if he can land on the slippery Filipino. Interestingly the winner of this will likely face Hiroto Kyoguchi later in the year, if Kyoguchi can retain his title against Vince Paras later this year
One of the most notable names on this show is recent world title challenger Genesis Servania (30-1, 13), who fights for the second time since his loss to Oscar Valdez. The talented Servania will be up against Indonesian journeyman Jason Butar Butar (27-23-1, 18), in what should really bee little more than a show case for Servania. Although a mismatch the bout will see Servania fight in the Philippines for the first time since February 2015.
Another very notable name in action is the enigmatic Marvin Sonsona (20-1-1, 15), who looks once again to kick start his frustrating career. The former WBO Super Flyweight champion hasn't fought since May 2015, when he struggled past Jonathan Arrellano. Whilst Sonsona is a genuine talent there is real question marks surrounding the Filipino and his desire to make the most of his skills. He'll be up against Arief Blader (23-27-2, 8) in what should be a really easy ring return, though we really don't know what Sonsona will turn up.
Also on this card are AJ Banal (35-2-1, 23), James Enterina (10-0-1, 4), Lolito Sonsona (21-2-4, 9) and Dave Apolinario (6-0, 4) among others.
A second Filipino show will be held in Bulacan, and will be a much smaller show.
The most notable bout here will see Jose Roda Jr (3-1-1) take on Richard Morales (3-2, 2) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. Both men will come into this feeling confident of picking up the win and as a result this should make for an interesting contest, but we're not expecting anything in terms of high quality, at least compared to the other Filipino show which is much, much better than this card.
As well as the action in the Philippines there is also two shows in Japan, one of which is being held in Yamaguchi by Kanmon Japan.
The chief support bout on this card is a terrific match up as the unbeaten Kudura Kaneko (6-0, 4) takes on Change Hamashima (10-2-1, 4) in a rematch of their 2017 clash. In the first bout between these two Kaneko won a wide decision over 6 rounds but will be stepping up to the 8 round distance here. Interestingly this will be the first time either fighter has been scheduled in an 8 round bout, and should be a good test for the stamina of both men. Given how clearly Kaneko won the first bout however it's hard to see why these two are having rematch so soon after their first contest.
The main event of this card is fantastic on paper with Accel Sumiyoshi (10-4-2, 3) taking on Shogo Yamaguchi (11-3-2, 6). Since losing to Masayoshi Nakatani in an OPBF Lightweight title bout back on 2015 we've seen Sumiyoshi go 6-0-1 with notable wins over Tatsuya Yanagi, Allan Tanada, Naotoshoi Nakatani and Motoki Sasaki and really build himself a solid record at this level. As for the 24 year old Yamaguchi we've seen him begin to struggle. Yamaguchi went 9-0-1 (4) to begin his career but has since gone 2-3-2 and was stopped last year by Andy Hiraoka. Given the momentum in both men's careers it's hard to pick against Sumiyoshi, but it is a very good bout on paper.
The second Japanese show is from Ibaragi, where the fans will get the chance to see a number of unbeaten men in action.
One of the unbeaten fighters is Fumiya Fuse (5-0, 1), who is scheduled to face off with an Indonesian visitor. Last year we saw Fuse claim the Rookie of the Year crown at Bantamweight, when he stopped Hiroki Tokuyama in the final, and he'll be looking to build on that success here as he kicks off his 2018 and looks to secure a 6th straight win.
The bout scheduled as the final bout on the card is all unbeaten contest as Hideaki Onuki (3-0) takes on Akihiko Kurita (2-0) in a bout scheduled for 4 round. This looks almost certain to go the distance but should still prove to be a very interesting and well matched bout between two fighters with similar records and similar experience.
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day with a lot of action as we continue to race towards Christmas!
In many ways the most significant bout to include an Asian this coming Saturday comes from Mexico where former world champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-2, 4) resurfaces, to take on the limited Delia Lopez (10-6-2, 5) for the WBC Female interim Flyweight title. For Yoshikawa a loss is likely to be the end of her career, and it would be a huge disappointment given her amateur background. Lopez however is a less than great opponent and should pose little threat for the Japanese fighter.
Staying on the theme of Japanese fighters there is also a low key card in Hyogo, thanks to Senrima Kobe.
The main event of the card will see 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8) take on a Thai foe in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for Kinoshita. The Japanese fighter was last seen in action this past July when he was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in Australia, and it's clear that he's not going to win a world title. Despite that it's good to see him back in the ring, and hopefully he'll be moved towards an OPBF title fight in 2018.
Another notable Japanese fighter on this card is Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4), who sadly will also be facing a less than testing Thai foe. The talented Hirai has a misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest, as shown by recent wins over Takumi Sake and Ryoya Ikema. Although this bout is a step backwards for Hirai it should be noted that he was injured earlier in the year and this looks like an easy run out to test how he's recovered.
The most interesting bout on this card will see Japanese ranked fighters collide as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (10-2, 6) battles Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is on a 4 fight winning streak, including a big win over Ukyo Yoshigai, and looks to be slowly but surely working his way to a domestic title fight. Whilst Kanda is in good form the same can't be said or Fujita, who was stopped last time out by Koki Inoue, though prior to that loss he had been on an 8 fight winning run and is a live fighter here in what looks like a genuine 50-50 match up.
For a second day running there will be action in Zhongshan, with several titles on the line.
One of those titles will be the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title, which will see Filipino Joe Noynay (12-2-1, 4) battle against Chinese fighter Yongcai Liu (6-4-3, 3). Noynay was last seen losing in a very competitive contest to Reiya Abe, in what was his second loss in 4 bouts, but he should be favoured here. The local has won hist last two against veterans, but a win here would be a surprise given that he is stepping up quite notably here.
A second bout for a WBC Asian Boxing Council title will be at Super Middleweight and will see once beaten Chinese puncher Ainiwaer Yilixiati (11-1, 9) take on Georgian foe Tornike Gikashvili (15-7-1, 3). For Yilixiati this bout will be his second since losing to OPBF champion Jayde Mitchell back in August, and it's hard to see anything but a win for the aggressive Chinese slugger. The 20 year old visitor has gone 1-5 in his last 6, including 4 stoppage losses, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance here.
Another bout at Super Middleweight will see Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (9-1-1, 7) take on Pavel Semjonov (21-7-2, 8), in a non-title bout. The exciting Maimaitiali will be fighting for the second time since his very close loss to Vijender Singh in August and he will be looking to make a statement here. The visitor, from Estonia, may be recognisable to European fight fans, as he has fought a variety of notable fighters, but regularly comes up short in performance that show his toughness. We're expecting to see Maimaitiali win, and if so we can hopefully move towards a bout between him and the aforementioned Yilixiati.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most significant of three shows in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila and features a trio of title bouts, along with a scattering of other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see the promising Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8) battle against countryman Renan Portes (10-5, 6) for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Saulong has won his last 3, and rebuilt well following his 2015 loss to Lwandile Sityatha. On paper Portes looks the much lesser fighter, and his loss to Hayate Kaji earlier this year does show he can be blasted out, but Portes will know this is a big opportunity and hopefully he looks to take it with both hands.
A second title bout, for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title will see the once beaten Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8) take on the upset minded Jaysever Abcede (15-7, 10). Coming in to this Soriano is riding a 12 fight winning run, dating back to 2010, though he has taken a significant break from action during that run and has fought only 4 rounds in the last 4 years. Abcede is best known for a 2015 upset win over Pigmy Kokietgym, though has only gone 5-4 since then and lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura and Wanheng Menayothin. This could be a really intriguing match up, though it does look like one that Soriano should pick up the win in.
A third title bout, and by far the weakest on the card, will see Danny Tampipi (7-8-2, 4) battle Noel Adelmita (13-11-2, 2) for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. We'll be honest and admit we really are struggling to get excited about this one with both fighters being out of form and neither likely to really shine here.
Other fighters on this card include Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1), Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15) and AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23), all of whom are expected to pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes. Barriga and Daniega are two real prospects with genuine potential, whilst Claveras and Banal are both aggressive and exciting and aggressive fighters who should be looking to make statements.
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second Filipino show in Metro Manila will take place, though to much less fan fare than the one above.
The most notable bout on the card is a huge mismatch between Cris Paulino (14-3, 4) and Roy Lagrada (3-18-1, 3). The talented Paulino is the much better fighter here, despite losing successive bout to Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, though has taken 2 years out of the ring and will be looking to ease himself back into action against the over-matched Lagrada.
This show will also feature the once beaten Giemel Magramo (19-1, 15), who looks to secure his third win since a close and competitive loss to Muhammad Waseem back in November 2016. Sadly at the time of writing Magramo's opponent hadn't been announced.
There will also be a small card in Cebu.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Jayar Aliasot (6-1, 5) take on domestic foe Carlo Demecillo (8-4, 2). Aliasot is stepping up big time here, but will feel his power can do a number on Demecillo, like Satoshi Shimizu's did last December, and that he can get the lighter punching man out of there. As for Demecillo the game plan will be able dragging his man into the later rounds, and out working him, showing the toughness that gave Hisashi Amagasa problems in October 2016.
Also on this card is a very interesting looking match up between 32 year old Clyde Azarcon (10-1, 4) and 21 year old Royder Lloyd Borbon (5-1-1, 5). Coming in to this Azarcon has won his last 9, but the competition during that run tells us very little about how good he is and none of the opponents had records to suggest they were really going to be tests. Borbon on the other hand will come in on the back of 3 stoppages, and will be looking to score his best win to date here. This should tell us a lot about both men.
In Ukraine we see a Filipino fighter go to the Lion's den to face one of the more over-looked Ukrainian fighters of recent times. The Ukrainian in question is the outstanding Denys Berinchyk (7-0, 4), who was a Silver medal winner at the 2011 World Amateur championships and the 2012 Olympics. In the opposite corner to the Ukrainian will be once beaten Filipino Allan Vallespin (11-1, 8), who was stopped in his only bout outside of the Philippines by a thunder bolt from current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi. Vallespin could test Barinchyk but it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
We have another bout involving a Filipino in France, as local prospect Nordine Oubaali (12-0, 9) takes on the highly experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (34-7-3, 15) in a bout for the WBC “Silver” Bantamweight title. The talented Oubaali is a 2-time Olympian who was once tipped for big things, but at 31 years old it does seem like now or never for him. Aged 26 Geraldo has been able to be a busy professional and has shown real touches of brilliance, but has never quite managed to put on a full performance at the higher levels. Coming in to this Geraldo is 3-3, including a loss to Takuma Inoue, and although he could give Oubaali a good test, it would be regarded as a real upset if Geraldo picked up the win.
In Canada we see one of the most exciting prospects from Kazakhstan in action. That man is the heavy handed Batyrzhan Jukembayev (10-0-0-2, 9), who takes a credible step up in class to take on 22 year old American Wilberth Lopez (20-8, 14). The hard hitting Jukembayev does look like a destructive force and is carving out a promising career in Canada but does need to win here to continue that run. Lopez will come in as the opponent but he will be a very live one. He has gone the distance with decent prospects, like Alex Saucedo, Ivan Baranchyk and Juan Ruiz, whilst also proving he can score the odd upset, as he did against Jose Roman. This is not likely to be a walk in the park for the Canadian based Kazakh.
The first “big” show of December will take place this Friday, kicking off one of the most insanely busy months since we started this site!
The card will be headlined by a female world title fight, as Japanese sensation Naoko Fujioka (16-2, 7) chases a 5th divisional world title and drops down to Light Flyweight to take on the unbeaten Yokasta Valle (13-0, 6), who is moving up from Atomweight. The bout could see Fujioka further solidify her place as the greatest Japanese female boxer or could, potentially, see her ending her career with a loss likely to push her into retirement, ending what has been a legendary career.
Another title fight on this card will serve as the chief support and will see the big punching Kosuke Saka (16-3, 13) defending his Japanese Featherweight title against Takenori Ohashi (14-4-2, 9), in what looks like a straight forward first defense. The champion claimed the title in impressive fashion earlier this year, stopping Shota Hayashi, and will be looking to move into 2018 as the champion, and as a man looking for bigger and better things. Although a big under-dog Ohahsi will believe he has a chance, especially if Saka has over-looked him, and the challenger will almost certainly see this as his only chance to claim a title.
In another very interesting supporting bout fans will see the heavy handed Keita Kurihara (9-5, 8) take on unbeaten Filipino Ryan Lumacad (13-0-3, 7). The Japanese fighter is certainly is no world class fighter, but he is a powerful fighter and is a real danger, especially in the early stages of a bout. For Lumacad the bout sees him returning to Japan for his first bout in the country since a very controversial draw against Go Onaga in January, and he will be hoping to keep this bout out of the hands of the judges. A really interesting support bout here.
Also on the card are recent OPBF Super Bantamweight title challenger Kinshiro Usui (27-6, 11) and the experienced Akihiko Katagiri (17-9-2, 8) who are facing less experienced domestic foes. Both Usui and Katagiri suffered losses last time out and both will be wanting to get back to winnings ways here.
As well as the Japanese card there is also a notable card in the Philippines, with several notable names involved.
One of those name fighters is the under-rated Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8), who faces off with fellow Filipino Renan Portes (10-5, 6) in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. The bout won't make much noise internationally, but should see the winner move towards an IBF top 15 position. Of the two Saulong has been the more impressive, but he can't continue fighting domestic level Filipino foes for too much longer, or his career will begin to stagnate massively. For Portes this will be his second bout since Hayate Kaji stopped him in 2 rounds, and he really shouldn't pose much of a test for Saulong.
The unbeaten Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8) makes his ring return, after almost a year of inactivity, as he takes on low key foe Jerwin Mejes (4-2-3, 3). Prior to his break from the ring Daniega had began to get some real momentum and had scored 4 wins in 2016, and will be looking to ease himself back into action here, before kicking on next year. For Mejes the bout will see him looking to continue a 4 fight unbeaten run, which has seen him score 2 wins and two draws. Although not the most talented of fighters Mejes does hold a win with Lloyd Jardeliza and could prove to be a tough foe for the returning prospect.
The hotly tipped Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1) will be looking to continue his development as he takes on the once beaten Glenne Calacar (3-1-6, 1). The talented Barriga, a former top amateur star in the Philippines, has had a busy 2017 with 4 wins already including a very good 10 round decision win in September against Samartlek Kokietgym, and will be expecting another one here. As for Calacar, who has a very strange looking record, he comes into this bout having drawn his last two, and will be looking to place the spoiler once again, as he has done against every unbeaten fighter he has fought. Although Calacar will be the under-dog he is, strangely, 0-0-4 against unbeaten fighters!
Another very notable fighter on this card is the debuting Pete Panitente (0-0), who was recently a sparring partner for Jerwin Ancajas prior to Ancajas's world title defense against Jamie Conlan. The debutant will be facing off with journeyman Jomar Borbon (4-29-2, 2) and should have no issues showcasing his skills on route to inflicting Borbon's 30th career defeat.
Outside of Asia we'll get the chance to see former Kazakh amateur stand out Ivan Dychko (2-0, 2) continue his professional development, as he fights for the third time in just over 9 weeks. The talented and touted Heavyweight will be fighting in his first 6 rounder as he takes on 32 year old Lamarco Ellis (2-4, 1) in what should be another straight forward win for Dychko. It's worth noting that Ellis is a big lump, weighing in over 300lbs for all of his bouts to date, and is unlikely to have anything to trouble Dychko.
Rhode Island, USA
In a really interesting match up the once touted Toka Kahn Clary (23-1-0-1, 16) will take on unbeaten Filipino prospect John Vincent Moralde (19-0, 10). To date Clary's only loss was a shock opening round defeat to Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino, in a highly surprising 90 second blow out, and and this will be Clary's first fight with a Filipino since that loss. For Moralde the bout will serve as his US debut, and he comes into the bout on a 3 fight stoppage run, albeit against limited domestic foes. A win for Moralde will help put him on the international boxing map, and it's clear he will be fighting with that in mind.
West Midlands, United Kingdom
In the UK fans will see English based Indian born fighter Dilbag Singh (4-0, 1) in action, with Singh seeking his 5th straight win. The unbeaten man hasn't had his opponent named at the time of writing, and we're not expecting anyone too testing, but if he keeps his winning run intact for the next 12-18 months he could well find himself fighting for titles on the British scene.
This coming Friday is a crazy day in the world of Asian boxing with a trio of Chinese cards, as well as a notable Japanese show. The bouts aren't likely to have much global attention, but they range from a really high profile debut, to a potentially thrilling war on the verges of world class.
For us the biggest show of the day is from Beijing, where we see a number of prospects in action, in bouts of varying quality.
One of the really good looking bouts will see Filipino Ronnie Baldonado (9-0-1, 6) defending his WBO “interim” Oriental Flyweight title against touted Indonesian puncher Iwan Zoda (14-2-1, 13). For the champion the bout will be his first defense of the title he won back in April, when he stopped Yiming Ma inside a round whilst Zoda will be looking to rebuild after a year that has seen hi suffer a stoppage to Robert Onggocan and a surprising draw with Ical Tobida. It's fair to say Zoda can ill afford a set back but Baldonado is on a role with a trio of first round blow outs.
Another really interesting contest will see Filipino prospect Mark Anthony Barriga (6-0, 1) take a huge step up to face former 2-time world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (33-6, 12) in a contest for the WBO International Minimumweight title. The 24 year old Barriga was a top Filipino prospect and it's clear his team view him as a special talent but this is a massive step up in class, and should tell us a lot about just how far Barriga could go. Samartlek, who is best known for losing in world title bouts to Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, does have a padded record, but is a very decent fight and will certainly not be afraid of Barriga's amateur background.
Another title bout featuring an unbeaten fighter on this show will see Jin Xiang Pan (7-0, 4) take on James MacDonald (8-1-1, 4) for the WBO Youth Super Featherweight title. On paper this bout doesn't have the appeal of the ones above, but it's a step up for both fighters and it should be very interesting to see where both men are going in their career.
Arguably the most notable title bout on the card, yet potentially the most one-sided, will see former Chinese amateur stand out Lu Bin (0-0) take on Thai foe Chatchai Or Benjamas (8-9, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight Title. Making his professional debut in a 10 rounder is clearly Bin and his team looking to make a statement and given his background in amateur boxing and the APB there is real star potential here. It should be noted that Chatchai isn't great, and was an early opponent for the likes of Yohei Tobe and KJ Cataraja, but Bin's willingness to fight for a title early is still a statement from his team.
One other bout of note from this show will see big punching Filipino Jayar Inson (13-1, 9) take on China's Yangcheng Jin (5-1-2, 1). This is likely to be a straight forward win for the visitor, but he is coming in to the bout on the back of a loss on the road in South Africa, and may be wearing the mental scars of that defeat.
Xi An, China
We get more title action in Xi An as novices Yiran Li (3-0, 3) and Super Top Singnamchai (2-0, 1) battle for the WBC Youth Featherweight title. Li made his professional debut back in April and has needed just 7 rounds to despatch his first 3 foes whilst the Thai visitor apparently debuted in 2012, and hasn't had a boxing contest in more than 5 years, making this a very perplexing contest on paper.
Staying in China just a little longer fans will get card in Jinan where the headline bout will see Indonesian veteran Hero Tito (23-12-2, 8) battle with local Aizi Aili (5-2-1, 2), in what could be a pretty solid match up between well matched fighters at different stages of their career.
As well as all the action in China there will also be a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, which will be available on the A-sign service.
The main event of the card is a potential war as former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (33-6-2, 21) takes on Richard Pumicpic (19-8-2, 6) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, essentially securing the winner a top 15 WBO ranking. Of the two men Amagasa is the more well known, given his bouts with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Josh Warrington, and will be favoured, however Pumicpic is no pushover and he has has pushed fighters like Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Yohei Tobe all really close in thrilling fights. We're expecting this fight to be the bout of the day.
In another good looking contest we'll see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (28-9-1, 12) take on Jin Miura (9-2, 1). Coming in to this Nakajima has a little bit of momentum, with 3 straight wins to put back to back losses behind him, whilst Miura comes in on the back of a narrow loss in Russia. This could be a highly skilled battle with both men looking to really boost their hopes of a potential domestic title bout.
One other fighter of note on this card is Naoki Mochizuki (11-2, 6), who will be facing off with a Thai visitor.
In Mexico we'll see a local former world champion take on a little known, yet unbeaten, Filipino hopeful. The former champion is monstrous punching veteran Jhonny Gonzalez (63-10, 53), who has won titles at Bantamweight and Featherweight, who battles 25 year old Pinoy Jessie Cris Rosales (21-0-1, 9). For Gonalez the bout is supposed to be another step towards a Super Featherweight title fight, potentially facing off with Miguel Berchelt, whilst Rosales will be looking to make a name for himself and claim the biggest win of his career.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be a small card featuring a few hopefuls taking on domestic journeymen.
The most interesting of those fighters is 20 year old puncher Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), who takes on the limited Rey Ramos (7-8-2, 3) in a 10 rounder. It should be noted that Ramos has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but did beat Landy Cris Leon last time out and is the naturally bigger man, having fought at much higher weights than Ramos.
Arguably the biggest names in regards to the prospects is former amateur stand out Mark Anthony Barriga (5-0, 1) who takes on Joel Taduran (8-6-1, 2). Although a proven quality in the amateur ranks Barriga hasn't yet shone as a professional and his lack of power could be a serious issue going forward, but he did stop his last opponent, and may well be finding his footing as a professional fighter.
Another of the hopefuls is the once beaten, but heavy handed, Joepher Montano (7-1-2, 6) who takes on veteran Gabriel Royo (10-17-3, 8). Royo once showed some promise but that promise is now long forgotten and he's gone 1-10-1 in his last 12 bouts, and it's clear that he's there to merely make up the numbers against Montano.
The final prospect of note for us is teenager Daniel Lim (4-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Jerry Salivio (1-5, 1). Give he's 17 there is no problem with Lim fighting at this level for now, but we're looking forward to seeing him step up in the near future.
North Carolina, USA
We'll also get the chance to see two promising central European fighters fighting in the US.
One of those is Kazakh Light Heavyweight Ali Akhmedov (6-0, 4), who faces 40 year old veteran Brad Austin (12-25, 9). It's hard to see this being anything more than an easy night for the 22 year old unbeaten man, but it's hopefully more about getting him used to the US than really trying to develop his fighting style. He's promising, but will need more serious tests in the near future.
On the same card Tajik fighter Mekhrubon Sanginov (3-0, 2) will be in action making his debut. The 21 year old Middleweight has fought got an active passport with this being the 4th country for him to fight in in the space of 10 months. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been named.
Makati City, Philippines
The most notable of two Filipino cards comes from Makati City and features several fighters of note.
The main event will see Drian Francisco (28-4-1, 22) who will face veteran Mateo Handig (13-12, 7). Handig is on a poor run of form, however he may like his chances here given that Francisco has been out of the ring since his November 2015 loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. At his best Francisco was a fringe world class fighter and although Handig has got an excellent win on his record over Katsunari Takayama it's hard to see him lasting long with Francisco here.
In a notable supporting bout we'll see 2012 Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (3-0) battle Jeven Villacite (4-5-4, 1) in a 10 rounder. Barriga was a top class amateur and should be able to prove his skills here, as he looks to show that he is a top level prospect. Although Villacite will look for the win it's hard to see him having anything to test Barriga with.
Cebu City, Philippines
On a second Filipino card fans will see Jhaleel Payao (14-1, 8) face off with puncher Jason Tinampay (8-3-1, 7) in a bout for the PBF Bantamweight title. Payao is one of the hidden gems of the Filipino boxing scene and should be favoured here, but Tinampay can certainly punch and shouldn't be over-looked here.
Russian fans also get a show on the 18th of February that features several fighters from an Asian background.
The most notable of those bouts will see the unbeaten Shavkat Rakhimov (8-0, 6), originally from Tajikistan, take on the once touted Filipino Rogelio Jun Doliguez (21-3-2, 15) in about for the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. Rakhimov is coming in to this one on the back of two stoppages over Filipino foes, in Jerry Castroverde and Roldan Aldea, and will be looking to make it 3 from 3 here, but he is facing a big step up in class here. Doliguez has never been stopped, though has lost 3 of his last 6 and his career has certainly lost a lot of the hype he had early one. If the visitor can win here he could give his career a much needed shot in the arm.
In another title bout we see another Tajik born fighter, Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (5-0, 3), battle with veteran Colombian Yogli Herrera (28-17, 20) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight title, which Yaqubov will be defending for the first time. It's hard to know how good Yaqubov is, but this bout should tell us something about his potential. Aged 21 Yaqubov has time to mature into a good fighter but so far there is a lot of questions about how good he could become.
There isn't much action this coming Friday, with only a single notable show from the Philippines.
The main event of the card is the only title bout but also features real intrigue as the unbeaten, and highly touted, Jack Tepora (18-0, 13) takes on Indonesian foe Galih Susanto (12-6-1, 2) for the vacant WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. On paper this looks like an easy one for Tepora but Susanto has proven to be a tough guy and has been the distance with the likes of Marlon Tapales, Mike Tawatchai and Denkaosan Kaovichit.
An intriguing match up will see Kenny Demecillo (11-3-2, 7) face the upset minded Jestoni Autida (9-5, 4). Demecillo will be the favourite, and has mixed with good company facing the likes of Jetro Pabustan, Edward Mansito, Edrin Dapudong and Daryl Basadre, though did suffer a surprising stoppage loss in 2 rounds to Dondon Narvaez. Although the under-dog Autida has been a surprise package in fights in the past and holds wins over Jeffrey Francisco and Ratchasak Kokietgym, and almost Petch Sor Chitpattana back in 2015. Although this looks like mismatch it should vbe very competitive.
In an interesting under-card bout we'll see unbeaten puncher Christian Araneta (12-0, 10) face off with the upset minded Philip Luis Cuerdo (9-2-1, 4). Cuerdo is beatable, but has only been beaten by the pairing of Vic Saludar and Toto Landero. Whilst Araneta will be the favourite we suspect Cuerdo will ask some new questions of him here.
Also on the under-card is former amateur stand out Mark Anthony Barriga (2-0), who looks to extend his unbeaten run as he takes on domestic foe Rodel Kirk Pelenio (3-1-1, 2) in an 8 rounder. Barriga is tipped as a future star of Filipino boxing, but he will have to show more than he has so far, especially in terms of power, if he's going to reach the heights some have suggested he can reach. Pelenio will be the under-dog but will come in to this one on the back of a 4 fight unbeaten run.