Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA
The main action to involve Asian fighters this coming Friday comes from California, and is part of a Golden Boy promoted card. Interestingly not only is the notable action in the US but it's also two bouts featuring veteran female fighters getting their chance to shine in front of a global audience, something both deserved to do much earlier in their careers.
The most interesting of the two bouts will see Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (28-12-1, 16) defending her WBO female Light Flyweight title against the sensational Seniesa Estrada (20-0, 8). Tsunami is one of the true veterans of female boxing, having been around the world level for over a decade, and she's also a very well travelled fighter who has shown the toughness, engine and work rate in a brilliant career. But a career which is now heading to the end. Unfortunately for Tsunami she's in against one of the best of the new wave of female fighters in Estrada who looks like the sort of fighter who could, and maybe should be, the new face of female boxing. In her prime Tsunami would have made this very interesting, but right now we really don't see anyone between 105lbs and 115lbs beating Estrada, who is a genuine star in the making. Our full, in depth, preview of this bout can be read here Tenkai Tsunami takes on "Super Bad" Estrada!
The other bout on this card of note will see WBA female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) make her long over due US debut as she defends her title against Sulem Urbina (12-1-0-1, 2). Fujioka, Japan's only 5 weight world champion, has long been one of the best female fighters in the world, but with her 46th birthday coming in August and with more than a year of inactivity we do wonder what she can actually show here. At her best she belonged very high up the female pound for pound lists, but right now it's really hard to know what she has left in her legs. As for Urbina this is a massive leap up in class and comes on the back of a 2020 loss to Marlen Esparza. It's hard to back Urbina given her record, competition and form, though being 15 or so years younger, without the wear and tear and fighting relatively close to home, she may well be in the right place at the right time. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Fujioka makes long awaited US debut as she takes on warrior Urbina!
Airport Hilton, Miami, Florida, USA
Over in Miami we're expecting to see two more Asian fighters in action, albeit in rather low key bouts.
The more notable of the two bouts will see heavy handed Kazakh fighter Serik Musadilov (9-0, 9) take on Reuel Williams (8-1, 3) for the NABA Cruiserweight title. On paper this looks like an interestingly match up, even more when you consider Williams has won 8 in a row. Sadly however Williams is now 45 year old and hasn't fought in over 4 years. Even at his best he wasn't very good either and is a natural Light Heavyweight. It really is a shame Musadilov is still wasting his time with this type of fight, when it's very clear he's now needing a test, not just bouts to pad his record, like this one.
The other Asian on this card is Kazakh fighter Mark Bernaldez (22-4, 16), who takes on Mexican veteran Juan Kantun (21-11-3, 15). Bernaldez has picked up two wins since losing to Albert Bell in July 2020 and he'll be looking to keep that run going here, as he continues to plug along as a decent fighter, but an unspectacular one. Kantun on the other hand is without a win since 2013, having lost his last 7. As with the Musadilov bout, this is just padding the record of Bernaldez and little else.
Tacoma, Washington, USA
Staying in the US we have also seen that unbeaten Uzbekistani hopeful Ravshan Makhamadjonov (12-0, 8) is pencilled in to fight in Tacoma. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, though the 22 year old has been matched softly, on the whole, so far and we're not expecting that to change here. Sadly this is likely to be another easy win for the unbeaten Makhamadjonov
Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Japan we also get action, in fact we get a second successive day of East Japan Rookie of the Year action as the Shinjuku FACE place host to some qualifying bouts. In total there are 7 bouts scheduled for this show, but we'll only take a look at a few of them.
On paper the one that stands out the most is a bout between unbeaten novices Kanta Kawamura (1-0-1, 1) and Shingo Koyasu (2-0, 2), who clash at Flyweight. The 21 year old Kawamura made his debut in December, with a quick win over Koyo Nakayama, but was held to a 4 round draw in his second bout, this past August. Koyasu on the other hand has looked explosive since debut in September 2020 and has stopped his first 2 opponents. We expect this one to be explosive and genuinely exciting, as both look to impress in the Rookie tournament.
Surprisingly there's only a single all debutant bout on this card, and that will be between Shuhei Hanadate (0-0) and Hiroto Sato (0-0), who clash at Bantamweight. Neither of these men are from particularly big gyms, and whilst that is an issue longer term it also shows that the Rookie of the Year can be used as a shop window for fighters and these two men will know that going all the win in the tournament could open major doors for them. Don't be surprised if this ends up being a very compelling bout.
One other bout that needs mentioning is the clash between Keisuke Imabuchi (0-9-2) and Tsubasa Yamashita (0-0). The 35 year old Imabuchi has a genuine weird record, going winless in his first 11, and it would be great to see him score a win before being forced into retirement. Yamashita on the other hand is at the complete opposite end of his career, aged just 18 and kicking things off here. With 17 years difference and 11 bouts difference this is a very unique Rookie of the Year bout, but one that is certainly intriguing.
Four Ambassadors Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA
This coming Friday is set to be a quiet day for Asian boxing though there is set to be an appearance by Filipino fighter Mark Bernaldez (21-4, 15), who looks to build on a 2020 win over Julian Evaristo Aristule. The 26 year old "Machete" will be expected to pick up a win here as he takes on the very limited Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez (12-12-2, 6), from Mexico, in a scheduled 8 rounder.
Bernaldez has been a professional since 2011 and began his career 15-0, though has gone 6-4 since then, including a stoppage loss to Tsuyoshi Tameda and decision losses to Andy Vences and Albert Bell. He's not the best out there, but he does have power, and he does try to win, even if we have seen him being over-matched in recent years.
Despite being limited Suarez is tough and does tend to go rounds, even if he does come up short. Interestingly Suarez is 0-8-1 in his last 9 bouts, though he has shared the ring with the likes of Hector Tanajara, Denis Shafikov, Antonio Lozada Torres, Adam Lopez, Robson Conceicao and Jayson Velez.
This coming Saturday is a bizarrely quiet day for Asian boxing, though of course is a much, much bigger day for fighters outside of Asia. Despite being quiet for Asian fighters there is still plenty of action taking place around the globe, including one particularly big fight in the US.
As for Asian fighters in action lets take a look at what we have coming up.
Philips Halle, Duesseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
In Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) look to build on his unbeaten record as he takes on American veteran Steve Vukosa (12-1, 4). The unbeaten Kossobutskiy will be looking to defend his IBO minor title and also claim a minor WBA title here, as he looks to give his career a massive boost, something needed as he's now on the wrong side of 30. Vukosa on the other hand is a 42 year old American, who got this fight on short notice and will be looking to build on a surprise upset win last year, against Joe Cusumano. We really don't see this as being anything other than a straight forward win for Kossobutskiy, who looks to move to 3-0 for 2020.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
In the US we see the biggest action of the weekend, up in Las Vegas, however there is also some Asian action over in Florida, with two Filipino fighters in action. Sadly though both of these bouts are total mismatches.
One of the Filipino fighters is Mark Bernaldez (20-4, 14), who looks to bounce back from a July loss to Albert Bell. Against Bell we saw Bernaldez being totally nullified by the reach, speed, and size of Bell. Thankfully Bernaldez will be expecting an easier bout here as he takes on limited Argentinian veteran Julian Evaristo Aristule (34-13, 17). Given that Aristule has lost his last 4, including 3 by stoppage, this should be regarded as little more than a confidence builder for the Filipino.
The other Filipino on this show will be Jameson Bacon (23-4, 15), who takes on Gonzalez Carlos Dallera (6-8, 4), who is also from Argentina. This should be am easy win for Bacon, especially given that Dallera has gone 1-8 in his last 9 and has been stopped 7 times in his 8 losses. As with Bernaldez's bout this should be regarded as a mismatch, but a chance get Bacon a win following a loss last November to Darragh Foley.
In Asia we get a small show from China, where the action really will be low profile stuff. Thankfully there are a couple of 6 rounders worthy of some attention.
One of those 6 rounders will see Jiangtao Cao (2-4) take on XiaoAn Liang (2-0, 1). Coming in to this Cao has lost his last 4, he's limited, he's low on confidence, but it's going to be interesting to see how Liang copes with him here. Liang began his career in January 2019, picked up a win in July 2020 and now looks for his third win, in what is his toughest bout, on paper, so far.
The other 6 rounder will see the unbeaten YuanHai Liu (2-0, 1) take on the debuting Ze Wang (0-0). Not much to say here, but we are always interested when a fighter debuts in a 6 rounder, so hopefully Wang will have something about him, and will show us something to be excited about.
Our attention turns to Florida on Friday night as we get the chance to see a couple of Asian fighters compete.
The more experienced, in terms of professional experience at least, is Filipino fighter Mark Bernaldez (18-2, 12), who takes on Argentinian fighter Nicolas Atilio Velazquez (11-5, 3). Although relatively unknown outside of the Asia-Pacific region Bernaldez is a solid fighter who's only losses have been to Tsuyoshi Tameda and Kye MacKenzie, sadly though both of those losses have been by stoppage. The Argentinian fighter has been stopped in 3 of his last 4, including a 15 second loss to Shakhram Giyasov, but has been fighting at a heavier weight than Bernaldez. We favour the Filipino, but we do expect Velazquez to be a tough test physically for the Filipino.
The other Asian on this card is American based Kazakh Serik Musadilov (5-0, 5), who returns to the ring 18 months after his last pro bout. The unbeaten Musadilov, who will be making his US debut, will be up against Daniel Najera (8-3-1, 4) in what is a notable step up in class. To day Musadilov's 5 pro bouts have all been in Mexico, against total novices, so this should see him answering some questions about his potential
As well as the action in the US there will also be a card in Egypt featuring a somewhat notable Thai in what is likely to be a tough assignment. The Thai in question is the once touted Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-6, 22), who has now lost 4 of his last 6 including shock losses to Yangcheng Jin and Sitthidet Banti. The now 36 year old Saddam will be up against big punching Greek born Egyptian Andreas Valavanis (13-1, 11). On paper this is a step up for Valavanis but given Saddam's recent form it shouldn't be any problem for Egyptian based fighter.
Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
Our attention turns to Spain this coming Friday for a female world title fight, as IBF female Minimumweight champion Joana Pastrana (13-1, 4) defends her belt against Thai veteran Samson Tor Buamas (40-4, 22). The champion will be making her first defense, following her title win this past June against Oezlem Sahin whilst Sampson, also known as Siriporn Taweesuk, will be looking to claim another title after having held the WBC female titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. On paper this is a huge step up in class for Pastrana, but it's hard to know what the 35 year old Sampson still has left in the tank, given she has been inactive recently, and has had a very long career. A full preview of this bout is available here -Samson battles Pastrana for IBF crown!
Western Australia, Australia
As well as the bout in Spain there is also action in Australia as once beaten Filipino fighter Mark Bernaldez (17-1, 12) takes on once beaten Australian Kye MacKenzie (19-1, 16) for the interim WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title. The Filipino suffered his only loss in 2015, when he was stopped in 7 rounds by Tsuyoshi Tameda in an exciting contender, and since then he has bounced back with a couple of low key wins. MacKenzie was also stopped in his only loss, also in 2015, when Jack Asis stopped him in 8, but since then he has won this title which he will be defending for the first time. Both are flawed fighters but they should make for an exciting contest here.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.