It's not often we're going to get the chance to talk about world title action this month, but thankfully this Saturday is one of those rare chances, as we get a really interesting day. Not only do we have a solid looking Filipino card, but also a show in California featuring a world title bout and a very highly regarded Uzbek hopeful.
Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA
The most notable of the shows will be taking place in California on a Golden Boy Promotions show.
The world title fight will see IBF Super Featherweight champion Joseph Diaz (31-1, 15) defending his title against mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12), from Tajikistan. For Diaz this will be the first defense of the title he won last year, when he fought through a nasty cut to pound out a win against Tevin Farmer, in what was a stellar performance by Diaz. In the opposite corner will be the technically limited, but strong and heavy handed Rakhimov, who has been owed at the title since 2019, when he stopped Azinga Fuzile in South Africa. Although Rakhimov is flawed he does have a fun, exciting style and can make for very fan friendly bouts, much like Diaz. With that in mind we could end up with a genuine instant classic here as two aggressive guys clash in a very meaningful mean event on DAZN. Our full, in depth, preview of this one can be read here Rakhimov takes on Diaz in IBF title fight
We're also expecting two very talented and promising Uzbek's to be in action on this show.
One of those Uzbek fighters is Super Middleweight contender Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5), who was originally supposed to fight at the end of January before Sergey Kovalev failed a drug test. Sadly his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
The other is Lightweight hopeful Elnur Abduraimov (6-0, 6) who will be taking on Colombian veteran Deivi Julio (21-9-0-1, 13), who is now 39 years old. The Colombian veteran was once regarded as a world ranked contender, but he has now lost 7 of his last 9 bouts and it's clear he is not the fighter he once was.
The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Staying in the US Top Rank will be putting on their own show in Las Vegas. The main event here will be a WBO Light Heavyweight title fight, which will pit heavy handed American Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21) against Russian veteran Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26). This should be a really interesting match up and will pit Smith's power agains the skills, movement size and experience of Vlasov. Interestingly the loser of this is unlikely to get another chance, given both are the wrong side of 30, so it could be well be regarded as a must win, for both me. An indepth preview of this one thanks to George Delis can be read here Vlasov and Smith clash for WBO title!
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
As well as the US action there is also a pretty interesting show in the Philippines. It's not a stacked card, but it is certainly an interesting one with plenty of promising talent.
In an excellent looking match up for the GAB Flyweight title we'll see the once beaten Bienvenido Ligas (12-1-1, 9) take on the criminally under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-6-1, 5), in a much better match up than the records suggest. Ligas has bounced back well following a technical draw and a loss in 2018 to Joseph Ambo, and has won his last 6, with 5 of those wins coming by stoppage. Dagayloan on the other hand has continually proven to be better than his record suggests and is 10-1-2 in his last 13, with his loss being a very close one in Japan to Ryota Yamauchi. A preview of this one by Troy Parslow can be read here Proving Ground: Ben Ligas steps up to Alphoe Dagayloan
In another interesting match up we'll see the unbeaten Charly Suarez (4-0, 4), who was a very highly regarded amateur before he turned professional, take on the hard hitting Jon Jon Estrada (11-7-1, 10). At the age of 32 Suarez really is in "now or never" territory, and if he doesn't get a move on this year there's a good chance he fails to ever come close to a world title fight. As for Estrada he's a flawed fighter, but a very serious puncher and a relatively tough guy who has only been stopped twice in his 7 losses, including in his 2013 debut. This should be a test for Suarez, but a test he passes without too many issues.
Another once beaten fighter on this show is Ranelio Quizo (7-1, 1) who takes on Prince Andrew Laurio (10-3-1, 7) in a very good looking match up. The 22 year old Quizo was beaten last February by the under-rated John Mark Tihuk, and will be looking to bounce back from that defeat after more than a year out of the ring. As for Laurio, who is also 22, his career is in some trouble after 3 successive KO losses, and he needs a win here. Interesting Laurio will be fighting for the first time since July 2019 and although his form has been poor he certainly has the power here, with Quizo being a non-puncher. This might not look like an amazing bout, but it's an interesting one, with a glass cannon taking on a non-puncher.
A third fight involving a once beaten fighter will see Lorenz Ladrada (7-1-1, 2) take on Remon Basas (5-4, 4). On paper it is very, very easy to see this as a complete and utter mismatch, however it's not as simple as it looks. In his 9 fight career Ladrada has struggled with the 6 round distance, and had several very close decisions over inexperienced and limited opponents. He could easily have more than just the single loss to his name. Basas on the other hand is a solid puncher, with a decent chin, who has faced better opponents. This is much more competitive than it looks on paper.
Also on this card is unbeaten novice Ali Canega (2-0, 2) who risks his unbeaten record against Glenn Bismanos (6-1-3, 4), yet another fighter with a single defeat to his name. For Canega this will be his first bout against an opponent with a win and his first 6 rounder. It is also expected to be the first time he goes beyond 2 rounds. As for Bismanos he is unbeaten in his last 8, after a loss to John Lawrence Ordonio back in 2016, and has fought at a much higher level than Canega. This could be another very good bout, and it's good to see two fighters with good records risking them against each other, something we rarely see in the Philippines.
January 24th-Russian's in the US!
Camarines Sur, Philippines
On the more significant Filipino show we get some interesting fighters, though unfortunately they tend to be involved in mismatches and sadly we're not expecting a fantastic card of action, despite being fans of a number fighters on the show.
One such fighter is very talented Michael Dasmarinas (18-2, 11) who will be fighting against the chinny Aroel Romasasa (11-7, 5). Dasmarinas came to our attention last year when he defeated Hayato Kimura in Japan and although he lost last time out, to Lwandile Sityatha, we do have a feeling that this young man is going far.
Another man looking to rebuild after a recent loss is youngster Renerio Arizala (12-1-1, 5) who will be looking to score his second win since suffering a stoppage loss to Ardin Diale. Arizala will be fighting former world ranked fighter Lionel Legada (12-7-1, 5) in what looks to be a real crossroads bout. Whilst Arizala is rebuilding it's fair to see that Legada needs a win having lost 5 of his last 8!
One fighter hoping to extend a 5 fight winning streak is the once touted Nino Magboo (17-2-1, 8) who should have an easy time with journeyman Mike Espanosa (12-9-1, 7). Magboo is unlikely to ever move into world title bouts but he should be more than capable of picking up easy win here.
Others on this card including Bernabe Concepcion (32-6-2, 18) and Al Sabaupan (23-2-1, 18) though at the time of writing neither of these men had opponents listed.
NOTE-BOXREC NOW LISTS THIS SHOW FOR JANUARY 23RD. We are sorry IF this show does take place a day earlier than suggested here.
The second Filipino show looks a lot less interesting as Diarh Gabutan (19-4-3, 10) battles against a yet to be named opponent. This will be Gabutan's second bout since he suffered a trio of defeats in 2013 and it's fair to say that his career depends on a win here.
In the US we have three talented Russian's in action with both of them being involved in very good looking bouts.
The tougher of the bouts sees the once beaten Maxim Vlasov (30-1, 15) go up against the very highly touted Mexican Super Middleweight Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (30-0, 24). We'll be honest we suspect this could be very painful for Vlasov who is up against a sensationally talented fighter here.
The second Russian is the unbeaten Konstantin Ponomarev (26-0, 13) who will be hoping to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on Canadian fighter Steve Claggett (20-2-1, 14) in a very interesting 10 rounder. We have to suspect that the 22 year old “Talant” from Miass will continue his unbeaten start however this is likely to be his toughest bout to date and a real chance to see just how good he really is. A clear win for Ponomarev will almost certainly take him into the world rankings.
The third is Aik Shakhnazaryan (15-0, 6) who will be battling against Abner Lopez (21-4, 19) in what we suspect will be a great test of Shakhazaryan's chin. Lopez's record is inflated with a lot of low level KO's though on paper he represents a good test for the world ranked Russian.
It's rare to have mid-week fights that we are really looking forward to but that's exactly what we have this week courtesy of a big show in Thailand that had us excited from the moment it was first mentioned.
The first world title bout in the month of October comes form Thailand where we get a collision of unbeaten fighters battling for the WBA interim Minimumweight world title. The bout will see Thailand's wonderfully named Knockout CP Freshmart (8-0, 5) stepping up massively to fight Nicaraguan youngster Carlos Buitrago (27-0-1-1, 16) in what looks to have been a very risky match up to make from Knockout's team. We're unsure if Knockout's team know something we don't but from footage of the two men we suspect the Thai may have bitter off more than he can chew here and Buitrago really impressed us in his performance against Merlito Sabillo last year, as with that fight Buitrago is travelling with a point to prove.
The world title fight won't be the only bout with a title on the line here and in the co-feature WBA Asia Light Flyweight champion Palangpol CP Freshmart (4-1, 4) will be defending his title against Indonesian visitor Tommy Seran (24-2, 15). Reports suggest that is Palangpol wins here will be matched with Alberto Rossel in the near future as he attempts to become a world champion. Palangpol was a top level Muay Thai fighter and it appears his team believes he can also be a world class boxer. It's a high target given his boxing inexperience but we are excited all the same.
Talking about world class another bout on this show will see former WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (55-1-1, 21) in action. Oleydong, now fighting as Oleydong CP Freshmart, will be up against against Indonesian Paulus Baransano (0-4) in what appears to be another stay busy fight for Oleydong before a possible world title bout in 2015. We do like Oleydong though he really needs to step it up again seen as these mismatches are become a tiresome joke internationally with some wondering whether Oleydong will ever fight another meaningful opponent before his career peters away into obscurity
The other bout on this card that we're aware of will see Denkamon Pakdee Gym (12-3, 5), returning after 3 years out of boxing, fighting against the unbeaten Petchmai Chor Sungnork (1-0, 1). This looks like a very interesting match up on paper and the winner will likely know that their career gets a boost whilst the loser may consider walking away from the sport.
Not only is this an interesting card with 2 interesting bouts but that show is also interesting for the fact it will be held in Thailand's new race track which will be used for various motor sports over the coming years.
One of those will see world ranked Russian Maxim Vlasov (30-1, 15) take on the unbeaten Isiah Thomas (13-0, 6). This is a step up for Thomas, who at 6'4" is a huge Light Heavyweight, whilst for Vlasov this really is a must win contest given that he is risking his world rankings and is unlikely to get another opportunity in the US without something to offer. One thing to note is that Vlasov is himself a tall fighter for a Light Heavyweight and may be one of the few fighters in the division that Thomas doesn't tower over.
The other bout will see Kazakhstan fighter Isa Akberbayev (12-0-0-1, 8) battling against the limited Geovanni Sarran (5-7, 1). In all honesty this is a poor bout and Akberbayev should be competing at a higher level. The one relieving factor however is that the card it's self is a strong one and it seems that Akberbayev is merely having a bout to stay busy rather than to progress his career.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)