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.
This coming Friday is a busy day in the world of Asian boxing with Asian fighters in action in the US, Kazakhstan and the Philippines. The day is also a really interesting one with world title bouts, prospects and contenders all in action making it a real great day to sit down and watch some fights.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
The biggest show of the day for Asian fighters is in Florida, where Matchroom and DAZN put on one of their final shows of 2020. It's not a massive show, but it's certainly a noteworthy one.
The main event of the card will see Kazakh Middleweight great Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, 35) defending his IBF and IBO titles against unbeaten Polish challenger Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5). For Golovkin this will be his first defense of the titles since reclaiming them in October 2019, when he narrowly beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and we do wonder what the 38 year old Kazakh has left in the tank, especially given the 14 month break between fights. Sadly however it's unlikely that Szeremeta will ask him any real questions in what is a massive step up in class for the Polish man. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Golovkin returns against unbeaten Szeremeta
A second Kazakh on this show will be the unbeaten Ali Akhmedov (16-0, 12) who clashes with fellow unbeaten Carlos Gongora (18-0, 13) in a bout for the IBO Super Middleweight title. The exciting Akhmedov has been facing very poor competition so far, and this is, very clearly, a step up in class for him, and his team will know that a win puts him on the verge of a "real" world title fight. As for Gongora the Ecuadorian was a stellar amateur, competing in 2 Olympics and 3 World Amateur Championships, but at 31 this is his first real test. This is an excellent match up, and one that promises to be very, very interesting.
In a female world title bout we'll see Korean Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, 4) make her international debut and look to make her latest defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title. The hope was that she would be in with some sort of name opponent or at very least a live foe for her US debut but instead she is matched with late call up Calista Silgado (19-11-3, 14), from Colombia. On paper Silgado looks like she can punch, but her record against opponents of some quality has shown she is limit. Thankfully she is tough, but this should be a straight forward defense for Choi, who deserves better from Matchroom. Our preview of this bout can be read here WBA champ Hyun Mi Choi makes US debut as she takes on Calista Silgado!
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan Tukeshov Promotions will be putting on an event with a staggering 22 bouts on it! Given boxrec currently list 132 bouts taking place anyone where on the globe on Friday it's amazing that a single show will have 22 of them! Of course we won't go through all of them, but there are 3 that have really got our interest.
The best of the bunch is a Cruiserweight bout between Kazakh amateur star Kamshybek Kunkabayev (1-0, 1), who has eyes on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and under-rated Ukrainian Serhiy Radchenko (7-6, 2). On paper a nothing bout, even for a 1-0 prospect, but this should actually be a legitimate test for Kunkabayev given that Radchenko has given the likes of Krzysztof Glowacki, Ruslan Fayfer, Adam Balski and Artur Szpilka real tests. We suspect the big man from Kazakhstan will be too good, but this is not the gimme it looks on paper.
Another potentially tough bout for an unbeaten Kazakh will see Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) take on Vladyslav Melnyk (12-2, 7). Zaurbek has been needing a step up for a while, with MTK feeding him a lot of limited opponents early on and this is a much needed step up in class against a fighter who has proven himself and shown a desire to win. Zaurbek is very talented, but we don't yet know if he's very good. Melnyk is a 22 year old Ukrainian who will be coming in to this with belief and we suspect the hunger to test the Kazakh. Potentially a very compelling match up.
Another prospect worthy of real attention on this card is Talgat Shayken (2-0, 1), who will be up against Russian foe Maxim Churbanov (8-7-1-1). Shayken, who is now just 20 year's old, has got a lot of potential, but that potential needs work and he needs developing. The 34 year old Churbanov is well travelled and tends to be a good test for decent fights, asking questions of fighters like Michal Syrowtka. Shayken should win but bouts like this will help hone and develop his undeniable potential, so we've no issues with him being moved slowly.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we get two shows thanks to Omega Sports who have split an event in two for Covid19 safety reasons.
The first of the two shows is Kumbati 6 and features two interesting prospects on it.
One of the prospects in question is unbeaten Light Flyweight Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6), who takes on veteran Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4) The talented Vicelles comes into this bout with wins against Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas and is very talented, however it's understandable that his team are just looking to keep him ticking over here. Garde was once a a decent opponent, capable of asking questions of good fighters, but he has now lost 6 of his last 7, and been stopped in 4 of those bouts. We see this being another loss for him.
The other notable prospect on Kumbati 6 is the twice beaten Tomjune Mangubat (11-2-1, 9), who returns to the ring for the first time since is 2019 epic with Jong Seon Kang, which is a bout everyone should get around to watching. In the opposite corner to Mangubat will be the limited Reymond Empic (7-5, 3), who is looking to avoid a third straight loss. On paper this isn't an awful bout for Mungubat, coming in off a loss himself, but Empic has lost 3 of his last 4 and is unlikely to be a serious test for Mungubat.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
The other show from Omega Sports will be Kumbati 7, and this looks a more stacked one, with prospects and a couple of world title level in action.
The best bout on this show will see the once beaten Christian Araneta (18-1, 14) take on Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8) in what should be a sensational battle. Araneta is looking to score his second win since a 2019 injury TKO loss to Daniel Valladares, and is very highly regarded. He is however also the smaller man and Biendima showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went toe-to-toe with Kento Hatanaka back in February. This should be a real test for Araneta.
Sadly we don't expect to see Albert Pagara (32-1, 23) have any sort of issues at all when he takes on Virgil Puton (18-14-2, 9). Once up a time Puton was good regional level opponent, giving the likes of Shuya Masaki and Masayuki Ito questions to answer. Now a days however he looks about spent and has been stopped in 3 of his last 6. Pagara should be too quick, too powerful and far too good to go too many rounds here with the worn and weary Puton.
The once beaten Peter Apolinar (12-1, 8) looks to score his latest win as he goes up against the limited Danilo Tampipi (9-11-2, 5), who has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. Apolinar has won his last 7, including a very solid win over Jetro Pabustan in October, and shouldn't need to work too hard to pick up a win here.
One other man who should be picking up an easy win is the all action Carl Jammes Martin (15-0, 14), who fights for the first time since December 2019. The 21 year old sensation is one of the most fan friendly fighters in the Philippines and he should be looking at big bouts in the next year or two. Here however he's just looking to take over and shake some ring rust as he takes on Richard Rosales (14-13-2, 8), who has lost his last 4 and 7 of his last 8.
IPI Compound, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
After months and months of waiting boxing is finally back in the Philippines with Omega boxing putting on a card this coming Wednesday. The event isn't a huge one, but it is an interesting one and it is one with huge intrigue given how long it's taken the country to get the sport up and running.
The main event of the show will see world level contender Christian Araneta (17-1, 14) look to bounce back from a 2019 loss to Daniel Valladares. The talented Araneta had given Valladares a great fight before suffering an injury that forced a disappointing early end to a contest that looked like it was set to be a real fire cracker. Given the injury and long lay off it's hard to complain about Araneta getting an easy one, and an easy one he is getting, as he takes on domestic rival Richard Rosales (14-12-2, 8). Rosales has lost 6 of his last 6, including stoppages to Reiya Konishi and Dave Apolinario, and it's hard to imagine this being anything more than an easy work out for Araneta.
In an interesting support bout the once beaten Peter Apolinar (11-1, 8) will take on former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan (30-7-6, 9). Coming in to this Apolinar is riding a 6 fight winning streak since a 2015 loss to Jeo Santisima and on paper this is a really good step up for him, with the hope being for him to shine and move towards some for of title in the near future. At 30 years old Pabustan is a veteran and is a veteran who has taken a lot of punishment recently, including a TKO loss to Hiroaki Teshigawara in 2017 and a KO loss to Carlos Ornealas in 2018. Pabustan at his best would have been a great test for Apolinar but we see this as a very faded version of Pabustan.
In a Light Flyweight bout we'll see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (11-0-1, 5) take on Junuel Lacar (8-5-3, 6). The talented Vicelles has won 8 in a row after a draw early in his career and looks to be slowly making a name for himself, helped in part by wins over Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas. Lacar on the other hand has won just once in his last 7, going 1-4-2, and is not expected to be much of a test for Vicelles here, despite a win last time out against Romeo Tenorio.
In a bout all the way up at, or around, 140lbs we'll see the unbeaten Carlo Bacaro (5-0, 4) look to extend his perfect record as he takes on Jeffrey Stella (4-9-3, 4). On paper this looks like a massive mismatch, but Bacaro has only really been beating novices so far in to his career and it's hard to know what he really has in the tank. Stella on the other hand is a man who was fighting at Super Flyweight in 2018, and has gone 0-8-2 in his last 10!
The big focus this Saturday is in the Kazakh Capital of Nur-Sultan, where the country will be celebrating Capital City day. To celebrate the day MTK will be putting on a stacked card in the city with a world title fight main event, several interesting support bouts and a host of prospects.
The main event will see WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18). The talented French-Moroccan is a real talent, and he was one of the many top Bantamweights frozen out of the WBSS, but is getting on in age and won't remain the skilled boxer-puncher that he's looked for much longer. Despite being the older fighter Oubaali will be strongly favoured here against a challenger who has lost his 3 biggest bouts, and would need a career best performance to even come close against the Frenchman. Villanueva isn't a bad fighter, but his ability is more that of a gatekeeper than a true contender. A full preview of this bout is available here Villanueva takes on Oubaali for WBC Bantamweight crown
In the main supporting bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16) take on Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (31-4-1, 16) in a bout for the WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight title. The unbeaten Turarov returned to the ring in June after almost 21 months out of the ring, and took a really disappointing win over Richmond Djarbeng, who sat in his corner complaining of stomach cramps after the second round. Godoy should prove to be a good test for Turarov, but the Argentinian has lost 3 of his last 7 and may be on the slide from the fighter he once was. Still this is easily Turarov's best test on paper, so far.
Another notable supporting bout will see the unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov (9-0, 4) taking on Jairo Lopez (24-10, 16), who was once regarded as a fringe contender. On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten Kazakh but Lopez is 3-4 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 3 of those 4 losses. This should be easier than it looks on paper for Kotochigov.
This card will b stacked with other Kazakh prospects, as MTK go all out to put on a show for local fans with Kazakh talent. Among the prospects are Ali Baloyev (8-0, 7), Sultan Zaurbek (7-0, 5), Nurtas Azhbenov (5-0, 1), Abay Tolesh (2-0, 2) and Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (5-0, 4), who are in relatively easily here and won't face too much of a test as they continue to build their careers and move towards bigger bouts.
As well as the Kazakh show there is also a notable card in Tokyo thanks to Teiken. This card is a really interesting one, with a notable name in the main event, a really good chief support bout, and a host of notable prospects
The main event will see Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-0-1, 17) take on limited Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-5-1, 6) in what will be little more than a stay busy bout for Ogawa. Originally the Japanese puncher was scheduled to have an IBF world title eliminator eliminator with South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), but Fuzile failed to secure a visa in time for the bout leading to Medura, who is 0-4 in Japan, getting the bout. We don't see this going very long at all.
A much better Japan Vs Philippines bout will see Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) take on Al Toyogon (10-3-1, 6) in an excellent match up. The once beaten Masaki, who's only loss came to Hironori Mishiro, hasn't really shined as Teiken would have wished and this is a long way from a gimme. Masaki is talented, but really needs to get prove he can put on good performances, something we don't really see from him with any consistency. Toyogon on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a recent loss to Ryo Sagawa, and will be coming into this out with a point to prove. A very interesting bout contest.
One of the other main supporting bouts will be a Welterweight bout between Masaya Tamayama (12-1, 6) and Riku Nagahama (9-2-1, 4), with both men wanting to tak a big step towards a potential Japanese title fight in the near future. Nagahama is looking to secure a second win since his TKO loss last year to Yuki Nagano, who has since gone on to win the Japanese title, whilst Tamayama is looking for a 9th straight win, and a chance to take a huge step towards a big bout.
Among the other supporting bouts we will see Japanese Super Flyweight prospect Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9) take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-18-2, 5), in what looks to be a chance for Kaji to take a huge step towards a Japanese title fight. It feels like Kaji has been on the verge of a break out fight for a while and whilst this isn't going to be it, it seems like a win and his next one will be his long awaited break out bout. For Orais questions should be asked why he's continuing to fight, rather than focus more on the training role he has at the Flare Yamagami gym.
Lower down on this card we'll see two more touted Japanese prospects both take big steps up in class against Filipino foes. One of those is the fantastic Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2), who takes on Arvin Yurong (12-2, 3) in a genuinely good test. Nakano looks like he has the ability to move through the rankings quickly, and could fight for a title as early as late 2020, and Yurong is a very under-rated young fighter who should force answers from Nakano.
The other is Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1), who's debut saw him look fantastic against an opponent who didn't want to be there. Here Lee takes on unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-0-1, 5) in what should be a much, much better match up. Sadly not much is known about the visitor, so it's unclear what type of a test he will actually pose for the very talented Lee.
A smaller show takes place in the Phillipines where we see a few interesting Filipino fighters in action with a really good main event.
The main event will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (10-0-1, 5) take on the once touted Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11). The 23 year old Vicelles isn't well known but comes into this on the back of an excellent win over Robert Onggocan, and this is a logical step up in class. As for Espinas this is a slight step backwards, but is one that makes sense given he was beaten last time out in an OPBF title bout against Edward Heno. A very interesting match up, and rightfully the main event of the card.
In a good supporting bout Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5) and Prince Andrew Laurio (10-2-1, 7) will face off for the Philippines Visayas Professional Boxing Association Super Flyweight title. The 22 year old Remandiman has turned around a 2-4-1 start with 8 straight wins and has great momentum coming into this bout, as well as a good win last time out against Renz Rosia. Interestingly Lauio's career is going in the opposite direction, and he is 2-2-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses in his last 2 bouts. His early potential appears to have been massively over-hyped and he is now really faltering.
One other bout of note here will see the one beaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-1-1, 9) take on Joffrey Garcia (6-10-4, 5), in what should be another straight forward win for Mangubat.
This coming Friday fight fans in Japan will get two different shows in major areas, on in Osaka and one in Tokyo, there's also two shows in the Philippines and one in Dubai!
Of the two cards it's the Osaka one which will get most of the attention, featuring a major name in Japanese boxing along with a couple of bouts featuring interesting hopefuls.
The major name is that of Juiki Tatsuyoshi (10-0, 7), the son of former world champion Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who despite not being anywhere near to the fighter his father was, is still a noteworthy prospect. Tatsuyoshi will be up against Daichi Matsuura (6-3-2, 2), who doesn't look likely to be much of a test for Tatsuyoshi, even if Tatsuyoshi is a long way from being a world beater himself.
The chief support bout on this card will see the heavy handed Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (9-1, 8) take on Japanese based Korean fighter Tae Il Atusmi (15-2, 7) in a very interesting contest that could prove to be the highlight of the show. The 23 year old Tsutsumimoto enters this bout on the back of 5 stoppage wins, but this is a step up for him. Atsumi on the other hand will be looking to score his third straight win following a 2017 loss to Shingo Kawamura. This should be a very exciting and competitive contest between two guys who can hit hard.
Also on this show is former Rookie of the Year finalist Hibiki Jogo (8-2, 4), who looks to rebuild from a 2018 loss to Yoshihiro Utsumi. From what we under-stand the talented Jogo will be up against experienced Filipino foe Marzon Cabilla (17-17-1, 6), in what should be a straight forward win for the local hopeful.
In Tokyo we'll see the next Golden Child card. This is a smaller card, but should be a pretty entertaining one, with several good looking bouts.
The main event of the card will the always fun to watch Shusaku Fujinaka (16-10-2, 11) take on Toshiro Tarumi (11-3-3, 6) in a Welterweight bout between Japanese ranked fighters. Coming in to this Fujinaka has lost 4 of his last 5, but they have included defeats in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, to Keita Obara, and a Japanese title bout, to Ryota Yada. Tarumi on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC, and has won his last 6 to be on the verge of his first title bout.
The chief support bout is a fantastic match up, which will see young Japanese Middleweight prospect Riku Kunimoto (3-0, 1) take on the heavy handed, but flawed, Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) in a really intriguing contest. Kunimoto is taking a massive step up in class, but a win here will help him race towards a Japanese national title fight. On the other hand a loss for Fukumoto, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, could be the end of his dreams. A must win for Fukumoto, but one that comes against a former national amateur standout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kunimoto steps up to take on Fukumoto
Also on this card is a rare Japanese Heavyweight clash, as Yamato Fujinaka (7-5, 3) and Ryu Ueda (7-1-1, 4) face off for the second time. These two fought in November 2015, with Ueda taking the win by decision, and since then neither has really done too much of note.
As well as the Japanese cards, there is also a show in Cebu, featuring some pretty interesting local hopefuls.
One of the main bouts on this show will be a WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Featherweight title bout, as the unbeaten Tomjune Mangubat (10-0-1, 9) takes on Arnel Baconaje (10-3, 8). This genuinely looks like it could be something really, really fun. We're not a fan of just how many regional minor titles there are out there, but if they are responsible for bouts like this, we can't complain too much!
A second title fight will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (9-0-1, 5) take on the under-rated Robert Onggocan (11-4, 7) , for a low key title on the domestic, or rather local, scene. The reality is that they could have used this bout as a major regional title eliminator, it's a fantastic match up, and should be some really special for the fans in attendance. It's a bout that clearly doesn't need a very low level title to be on the line, and the fight clearly overshadows the belt that they will be fighting for.
A second Filipino show will take place in Bukidnon.
The main event of this show will see Jerry Tomogdan (26-10-4, 14) battle against Dexter Alimento (13-5, 9) in what should be a pretty interesting match up between two under-rated Filipino's. Both have suffered recent losses and both need a win to remain relevant, but this not an easy one for either guy.
Also on this card is Robert Paradero (17-0, 11), who will be fighting for the first time in a year following visa issues with arranged bouts outside of his homeland. He will be expecting to pick up an easy win as he takes on 19 year old Jonathan Almacen (5-2-2, 1).
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the bouts in the power houses of Asian boxing there will also be Asian action in Dubai, as MTK Global take their show on the road and show case a number of prospects.
One of those Asian fighters is Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (2-0, 1), who will be battling against Teimuraz- Abuladze (9-6, 7) of Georgia. Another in action is Sultan Zaurbek (5-0, 3), who takes on Chinese foe Chenghong Tao (7-5-1, 5).
The biggest hopeful on the card however is 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Shakhobidin Zoirov (0-0), who will be making his professional debut against Indonesian foe Anthony Holt (5-4-1, 3), who was stopped inside a round last June by the then debuting Jin Minamide. This should be little more than a cameo for Zoirov.
Another central Asian fighter in action this Friday is Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-1-1, 5), who looks to score his second win following a 2018 loss to Marquis Taylor. The Uzbek will be up against unbeaten puncher Keith Hunter (9-0, 7) in what looks like a fantastic bout, at least on paper.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Ateention turns to the Philippines this coming Saturday as ESPN5 televised their first show of the new year. It's not a bumper card, but does feature some notable names as the channel looks to increase the profile of a number of Filipino fighters.
One of the notable bouts on this card will see the unbeaten pairing of Dave Apolinario (9-0, 6) and Mark Vicelles (9-0-1, 5) battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. We've been impressed by Apolinario since he made his debut back in 2017 and the 20 year old looks like a dynamite prospect with speed, skills, power and a lot of potential. This however is a step up in class and Vicelles will be coming to do more than just make up the numbers. The 23 year old Vicelles has already ruined 22 unbeaten records, and will be looking to expose another touted domestic rival here. We're expecting real fireworks and excitement here in what should be the show stealing bout.
In a good supporting bout Reymart Gaballo (20-0, 17) will be taking on Japanese foe Yuya Nakamura (9-2-1, 7) in what should be an interesting assignment. Gaballo will be favoured, he really impressed last year with wins against Stephon Young and Julias Kisarawe, but Nakamura is no push over, and he impressed in December when he should have had a win over Yougu Yu, though the judges found a way to score that a draw. Gaballo should win, but Nakamura won't be there to just make up the numbers.
In another supporting bout the hard hitting Romero Duno (18-1, 14) will face off with Indian Kuldeep Dhanda (7-1, 1) in what is expected to be little more than a stay busy bout for Duno. The Filipino puncher is on a 9 fight winning run, including his break out win over Christian Gonzalez from March 2017, and looks like a potential world title contender. Dhanda on the other hand has never previously fought outside of India and lacks a win of any note, suggesting he will be completely unable to cope with Duno's power and skills.
Jeonju, South Korea
In Korea fans will be getting a double title show, with domestic Cruiserweight and Welterweight titles up for grabs. The theme of the show is Korea Vs Japan Vs China, but sadly the international bouts are over shadowed by the title bouts.
The Welterweight title will see either Yong Hwan Jun (4-4-1, 2) or Dong Young Kang (4-5-2) being crowned as the new champion. Neither of these two are great, but the Korean Welterweight scene isn't very good right now and hopefully getting the title scene up and running will kick start that, with fighters vying for a shot.
The Crusierweight title fight on the other hand will see Hyun Tae Bae (5-1-1, 3) battle against Kyung Hak Lee (3-5-1, 1). The 29 year old Bae returned in December, after more than 2 years out of the ring, and stopped Tae San Kil to earn his shot at the title. Lee on the other hand is without a win since March 2011, and it seems like this is little more than a coronation event for Bae.
One other bout of note here will see the unbeaten Dong Myung Shin (1-0), who impressed on debut in September, battle against Chinese fighter Yiping Gao (3-5, 1). Shin looked really good, defeating Hiroyuki Sagehashi on debut, and we're expecting him to shine again here. At the age of 30 Shin will need to be active to make any mark on the sport, but could be one of the few Korean with the skillset to impress internationally.
Another Asian fighter in action in the US is Filipino Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10), who will be looking to make his US debut following an aborted bout in January against Carlos Buitrago, who failed to make weight for a bout with Libranza. He will be up against Gilberto Mendoza (11-6-2, 4), who is a 29 year old who has yet to score a win of note. This should be seen as a showcase to Libranza if we're being honest.