The most notable Asian action this coming Saturday comes from Kazakhstan where we'll get the chance to see some of the top Kazakh hopefuls in action.
In one of the main bouts the unbeaten Meiirim Nursultanov (16-0, 9) will be looking to defend his WBO International Middleweight title, as he takes on Argentina's Sebastian Horacio Papeschi (18-3, 6). The talented Nursultanov is now 28 and will be looking to move towards a more serious title fight in the near future, but will have to work his way there and the WBO International title will be his key to climbing up the WBO rankings towards a shot. As for Papeschi this bout will be only his second outside of Argentina, following a 2021 win in Panama. Notably the Argentinian does hold a win of note over over former world title challenger Marcelo Esteban Coceres, but a win here would be regarded as an upset by him.
In another leading bout the once beaten Bekman Soylybayev (13-1, 5) will be up against former world champion Tomas Rojas (52-20-1, 34). The 31 year old Soylybayev suffered his first loss last year, losing a close decision in Dubai against Ramiro Cesena, and has picked up a low key win since then though if we're being honest the jury is still out on how far he can go, especially as a 31 year old in the talent laden Super Featherweight division. If he can come close to a world title fight we would be very surprised. As for Rojas the Mexican veteran, who had his biggest success at 115lbs more than a decade ago, is now 41 and is still, surprisingly, having some success with recent wins coming against Jhonny Gonzalez, Jairo Lopez and Ranfis Javier Encarnacion. It's easy to pick against Rojas here, especially with 4 losses in his last 5, but he is upset minded and will not be there to just roll over for the local.
Arguably the most notable hopeful on this card is former amateur standout Bekzad Nurdauletov (4-0, 2), who is looking to score his 5th win as he takes on Argentinian Durval Elias Palacio (9-2, 6). The talented Nurdauletov is one of the best talents in Kazakhstan and we suspect over the next 12-18 months we'll see him face progressively better opponents with a potential bout against a notable name in late 2023 or early 2024. He is a genuine talent, though his opponents so far really haven't asked many questions of his ability so far. Palacio on the other hand won his first 9 bouts, but has lost his last 2, and will come into this fight with no real confidence or momentum. This should be a good chance for Nurdauletov to get some more rounds under his belt, but we don't imagine Palacio really testing him here.
One other bout of note will see former Kazakh amateur Berik Jedibayev (0-0) make his professional debut, taking on Uzbek fighter Burgut Hodjiboyev (8-4, 3) in a 6 rounder. We can't find much about Jedibayev's amateur days, but he does pop up in a few reports of amateur shows, and when a fighter begins their career in a 6 rounder it is a good sign that they will be moved quickly. As for Hodjiboyev he comes into this on the back of 3 straight losses, but all of his losses so far have come to unbeaten fighters, and he'll be there looking to upset the local hopeful
Rumours International, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
In Queensland we'll see former world title challenger Apinun Khongsong (18-1, 15) take on Steve Spark (14-2, 13). The heavy handed Apinun, also known Downua Ruavaiking, is best known for his 2020 loss to Josh Taylor, in which he was stopped in a round. Since then he has bounced back with two low wins but will be looking to give his career a big shot in the arm here as he takes on Steve Spark, a gutsy and exciting Australian fighter who has plenty of power his own. Although Spark, like Apinun, lost his most notable bout, a 2021 clash with Tim Tszyu, he showed his toughness and fire in that bout, and we'd expect this one to be a genuinely tense, yet exciting bout that could end at any moment.
Hobart Netball and Sports Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Staying in Australia we'll also see Indonesian veteran in action, as Arief Blader (27-33-3, 11) takes on Luke Jackson (19-2, 8), in what looks like an horrendous mismatch against Blader. The 36 year old Blader, dubbed "The Ice" has got some rare momentum coming in to this, having won his last 4 bouts, but that momentum is unlikely to help when you consider those wins came against very poor domestic foes, and he has never scored a win on his travels. As for Jackson a win is expected as he looks to bounce back from a 2020 loss to Tyson Lantry. A bit of a confidence builder for Jackson and little else.
Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
This coming Saturday attention turns to New Jersey for an interesting card from PBC. The show isn't a massive one, but it does feature two very notable bouts with Asian fighters involved, one a world title fight and one a major crossroads fight for two men who can't afford another loss to begin this year.
The world title fight sees WBC Featherweight champion Gary Allen Russell Jr (31-1, 18) end 2 years of inactivity as he takes on his latest mandatory challenger, Filipino fighter Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16). Russell Jr is one of the most talented fighters in the sport, and there is no denying his ability, but there is major question marks as to how the WBC haven't yet stripped him, and a massive question mark about his hunger for the sport. Hunger that doesn't appear to be there, and that's a shame as his career could have been something very special. As for Magsayo this is a huge opportunity for a Filipino fighter who was tipped for huge things right from the off, but has struggled in recent bouts and whilst this is the right time to fight Russell, we do feel Magsayo could have done with a few more tough fights. Especially given how bad he looked against Rigoberto Hermosillo. This is a massive opportunity for Magsayo but also a major ask for him. Our preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Magsayo gets shot at WBC king Russell Jr
In an excellent supporting match up former Russell foe Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2, 9) takes on Vic Pasillas (16-1, 9), in what could be a show stealer. The talented Nyambayar lost to Russell Jr in 2020 and lost last time out, when he moved up in weight and was out pointed by Chris Colbert. He now needs a win to remain relevant after those two losses. Thankfully for him this bout is at his natural Featherweight and he is very dangerous at 126lbs. Pasillas, who is great fun to watch, has been out of the ring for almost a year, and was last seen losing in a brilliant action bout with Ra'eese Aleem, for the interim WBA Super Bantamweight. Notably it is Pasillas moving up in weight for this bout, and that should help Nyambayar out. Regardless, expect fireworks with this one.
Halyk arena sport complex, Aktau, Kazakhstan
As well as the US action there is also a show in Kazakhstan.
In the main event of the card unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight hopeful Meiirim Nursultanov (15-0, 8) will be up against Russian fighter Andrey Sirotkin (19-1-1, 7), with the men battling for the WBO International Middleweight title. Coming in to this Nursultanov will be looking to show what he can do, and to prove himself after really treading water in recent years. He has long shown potential, but that potentially really hasn't been delivered on, yet, but a win over Sirotkin would help him move towards a world title fight. As for Sirotkin, he will be looking to bounce back from a draw last time out with Danny Dignum, but he will know he's the away fighter and the crowd will be backing Nursultanov.
Also on this card will be Bekzad Nurdauletov (3-0, 1) and Bekman Soylybayev (12-1, 4), who are both looking to kick off 2022 and move their careers forward. Although neither are major names Nurdauletov is certainly a prospect to keep an eye on and someone we tend to think has the potential to go all the way, though him reaching those hieghts is, admittedly, still some years away from happening.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The most noteworthy action this coming Saturday is a Japanese national title fight at Korakuen Hall, which will headline this month's Dynamic Glove.
That title bout is the rescheduled bout between Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) and Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4), for the Japanese Light Flyweight title. This was supposed to take place back in September, before Iwata tested positive for Covid at the weigh in forcing the bout to be scrapped at the 11th hour. Given how we've seen Covid effecting fighters this could be a case of Iwata rushing back to soon, given his illness. Ignoring the Covid situation the bout is a mouth watering one, between two young fighters each looking to boost their careers and really move on to the next level. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Iwata and Shiba clash for Japanese title!
In a really good supporting bout we'll see novice professional Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) take on Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3), in what could be a really interesting match up. Kobayashi was a solid amateur, and looked very good in his debut in June, but we suspect that Aoki will look to drag him into a fire fight here, and we could get something a big explosive if Aoki can start fast.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Over in thailand we get the next show under the WP Boxing series of shows, and it's headlined by one of Thailand best young prospects, taking on someone who has long been a gatekeeper to the regional scene.
The prospect in question is Thattana Luangphon (14-0-1, 12), aka Chainoi Worawut, who will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. In the opposite corner to the unbeaten puncher will be Sukpraserd Ponpitak (27-12, 19), , who also fights as Sukkasem Kietyongyuth. Chainoi is regarded as one of the best prospects in Thailand, with nasty power, good skills, and a developing boxing brain, which could see him landing regional level fights in 2022, when Covid restrictions are finally lifted. Sukkasem on the other hand is known for once being a decent fighter, but is now a tune for many in Asia, including future Naoya Inoue opponent Aran Dipaen and current OPBF champion Keita Kurihara among others.
Halyk arena sport complex, Aktau, Kazakhstan
In Aktau we'll see a number of Kazakh hopefuls in action, though sadly the opponents really aren't the most testing and the match ups seem rather predictable, though it's better to see the hopefuls fighter rather than sat, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for interesting opponents to be available.
One of the prospects is Light Heavyweight Bekzad Nurdauletov (2-0, 1), an amateur standout tipped for really big things. He'll be up against Russian based Uzbekistani fighter Farrukh Juraev (6-4-1, 2). Notably Juraev has has never been stopped, and should take Nurdaletov the scheduled 8 rounds, but he is a natural Middleweight and he hasn't really shown much in terms of a being a threat against novices so far, and that includes novices without the amateur pedigree of the Kazakh.
Another notable unbeaten on this card is Meiirim Nursultanov (14-0, 8), who has been in an around the fringes of a world rankings for a whilst. The unbeaten Nursultanov is a 28 year old who looked set to break out after a very strong 2019, but has lost a lot of momentum here. Thankfully for him he shouldn't be tested too much here as he takes on the very limited Dzmitry Atrokhau (16-11, 7), from Belarus. Atrokhau is a 33 year old Southpaw who has been a professional since 2013 and despite picking up a lot of loses he is very much a survival expert, with his sole stoppage loss coming when his team threw in the towel against Andrii Velikovskyi. This should be a great chance for Nursultanov to get some ring time and shake some ring rust, but it would be a huge shock if the bout was at all competitive.
TMMA San-Chong Gym, Taipei, Taiwan
We also get a small card in Taiwan, with a few local fighters facing off. The most notable of which will see the unbeaten Ching Hsin Wang (2-0-1) face off with Chian Huei Chin (0-1-1), in a second bout between the two ladies. These two fought to a draw in 2019, and Wang hasn't fought since then, so will be coming in with more than 2 years of inactivity. Chin has fought since that draw, but has been inactive since November 2019, and has almost 2 years of inactivity herself.
December 5th- Thai double header, Nakano in action in Japan and Central Asian's set for Russian show!
It's fair to say that this coming Saturday is set to be an busy day, despite not being one lined up with super-fights. Instead we get some evenly matched bouts and some prospects in action.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
For us the most interesting show this coming Saturday is the latest in the WP Boxing series thanks to NKL and Workpoint, who will be streaming the bout on their Facebook and Youtube channels.
The card is a rare double header on Thai TV and in fairness both of the main bouts are very solid ones.
One of those main bouts will see the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (7-0, 2) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Musheg Adoian (7-2, 7) in the second bout between the two men. These two fought back in October with Apichet taking a controversial 8 round decision over Adoian, who scored 2 knockdowns and seemed to do enough to take at least a draw. The controversial nature of their first bout lead to calls for a rematch and now, just 2 months later, we see them go again. We can't help but think that Thai based Russian Adoian will be looking to make a point here following the controversial first bout, and Apichet will need to be at his very best to avoid defeat this time around.
The other main bout will see highly touted prospect Thai prospect Phongsaphon Panyakum (10-1, 5) take on former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (60-10, 41), with Phongsaphon looking to defend the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title. The 20 year old Panyakum has been really impressive since losing on debut to Kai Ishizawa, and has gone from a scrawny, under-developed teenage, into a promising, tough and aggressive 20 year old with real raw potential, though potential that certainly needs ironing out. Kompayak on the other hand is a 38 year old who is very much one the back end of his career, but is still a hungry and aggressive fighter who has been testing prospects regularly in recent years, and he could have the style, toughness and energy to be a real handful for the youngster here. Interestingly Kompayak did only get this bout on a few weeks notice, replacing former world title challenger Sarawut Thawornkham, who had to pull out of the bout and then retire, due to health issues.
Also on this card will be 23 year old hopeful Chainoi Worawut (12-0-1, 11), who is already in the WBC world rankings and is tipped for big things. Chainoi, also known as Thattana Luangphon, will be up against Anurak Madua (7-5, 5), in what should be little more than an early blow out win for the unbeaten youngster.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in Thailand we also have some televised action in Japan thanks to Yokohama Hikari and G+ with the latest in the Dynamic Glove series of shows. Compared to many Dynamic Glove cards this is a smaller show, but the two main bouts are certainly worthy of attention.
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13) take on the somewhat limited Masafumi Ando (6-10-2, 3) in an 8 rounder. For Nagano this will be his first bout since losing the Japanese title to Keita Obara back in February, so we do under-stand him having an easier bout, especially when his last 5 have included Riku Nagahama, Yuki Beppu, Ryota Yada and the aforementioned Obara. Whilst Ando is no world beater, and his record makes it fairly clear he's pretty limited, he is only a few fights removed from a big upset win over Toshio Arikawa and if he's in the mood he could be a potential banana skin here. Yes, Nagano is the clear favourite, but this isn't the gimme the records may suggest, especially not after Nagano took a beating to Obara.
In the main event the very promising Mikito Nakano (4-0, 4) will be looking for win #5 as he takes on his first Japanese opponent, Ruito Saeki (7-3-1, 1). The very talented Nakano has looked like a potential star in the making since turning professional in October 2018, and he has been matched hard recently with two good wins against solid Filipino visitors. A win here and we suspect Teiken will begin looking at title fighters for the 25 year old Featherweight hopeful. Saeki on the other hand is a 22 year old in need of a big performance. Entering this bout Saeki has failed to win any of his last 3, but has been matched hard, facing the likes of Takenori Ohashi, Shingo Kawamura and Ken Osato. On paper this should be the best test so far for Nakano, but one we expect him to pass on route to bigger and better things.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
After the two cards in Asia we get another card that will be streamed on the RCC YouTube channel for those interested and will feature several notable and interesting Asian fighters.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card will be 29 year old Uzbek Welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (8-1, 5), who won an Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Sadly since turning professional Gaibnazarov has failed to light up the pros, and had struggled before losing to Mykal Fox in May 2019. This will be his second bout since then and he'll face off with Russian based Armenian Manuk Dilanyan (11-4-1, 4), who should have real size advantage over Gaibnazarov, but we suspect the skills and amateur pedigree of the Uzbek should be enough to see him to a victory here.
Another notable Asian on this show will be unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov (13-0, 8), who looks to be fighting in tune up bout after a year away from the ring. The talented Nursultanov will be up against Ilya Balandin (4-3-1, 2), and it's hard to see anything but an easy win for Nursultanov, who we suspect will be looking to shake some ring rust and move on to bigger things in 2021.
Another Asian on this show will be Turat Osmonov (4-0, 3), from Kyrgyzstan, who will be seeking his third win of 2020 as he takes on Zafar Parpiev (8-2, 1). This is a very clear step up in class for Osmonov who has been treat with kid gloves so far, so it'll be interesting to see if he can develiver against someone coming to win. The 32 year old Parpiev tasted a loss last time out and will be looking to avoid successive defeats here. On paper not a great bout, but a fairly interesting one and one that could end up being pretty competitive, more than we can say for some bouts on this show.
Also on this card will be Uzbek opponent Sardor Muzaffarov (4-3, 2), who clashes with former world title challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (22-3, 12). On paper this should be an easy win for Chuprakov, who has struggled mightily since losing to Masayuki Ito at the end of 2018, however this might not be the gimme it first appears. Muzaffarov has been unlucky in all 3 losses, that could easily have swung his way and is likely to be a nightmare for Chuprakov, if he's got any doubt at all in his mind. Yes the Russian former world title challenger should be the favourite, but this should be regarded as a genuine test given his inconsistent recent form
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian boxing, with a two notable shows in Japan and very high profile bouts in the US.
The most notable of the bouts takes place in California, and is world title fight, with a supporting that also features an Asian fighter.
The main event will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) battle against Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15). For Ancajas this will be his 8th defense, though it's not the type of defense which will really improve his profile. Ancajas is incredibly talented, but seems to have been kept away from most of the other top Super Flyweights, which is incredibly disappointing and frustrating. For Rodriguez this bout is a big step up, and despite a win over Felipe Orucuta last time out there's very, very little quality on his record. Our full preview of this bout can be read here IBF king Ancajas takes on Rodriguez
On the same show we'll see Japan's Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, as he takes on 2008 Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8) in a very interesting looking bout. Okada was stopped last time out, by Raymundo Beltran in a very entertaining bout, and is not being given an easy comeback bout here. Molina isn't a big puncher, but is skilled and has won 3 in a row since his most recent loss, a 2016 decision loss to Jamal James.
Las Vegas, USA
A second US show of note will see two very interesting looking match ups.
The most interesting of those will see the once beaten Romero Duno (21-1, 16) take on unbeaten American Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15). The talented Duno has won 12 in a row since suffering his sole defeat, a 2016 loss in Russia to Mikhail Alexeev. During his winning run he has scored some solid wins but a win here would put him on the map in a big way. On the other hand Garcia is a hotly tipped prospect, and is a hugely popular fighter who will be expected to get a real test here. Garcia has been able to build his record with noteworthy wins over the likes of Jayson Velez and Jose Lopez, but has yet to fight a young prime fighter. This is a big step up for both men and the winner will be ear marked to go a very long way.
The second bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Kazakh fighter Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8) take on tough Mexican fighter Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13). The talented Kazakh has looked good coming through the ranks but this is set to be a genuine test against a flawed but tough and heavy handed for. A very interesting match and a great test, on paper, for Nursultanov.
The most significant show in Asia for the day is at the Korakuen Hall and will be shown on G+ in Japan. The card has 6 bouts scheduled for it, but 2 of those really stand out.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) defending his belt against Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6). The talented and exciting Matsunaga will be looking to make his first defense of the belt, following his title win over Nobuyuki Shindo earlier this year, and is riding a real hot streak with 9 straight wins. For Koshikawa, who was once tipped as a future star following a strong amateur background, this will be a big step up and marks his first title fight. A very interesting match up, and a very hard one to call. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Matsunaga seeks first defense as he goes up against talented Koshikawa
The chief support bout on this show will be a Japanese Light Middleweight title eliminator, as former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) takes on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5). This a match that will decide who challenges for the title in next year's Champion Carnival and is another hard one to call. Shindo is the more accomplished fighter but Shimizu has impressed in recent fights and will be there to build on a recent win over Charles Bellamy. Our preview of this eliminator can be read here Shindo and Shimizu battle in eliminator
As well as the two main bouts there will supporting bouts featuring former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (17-4-1, 7) and the once beaten Kai Chiba (11-1, 7).
A second show at Korakuen Hall on Saturday, though the one which will actually take place first, is a Teiken show featuring 6 of their brightest hopefuls all in 8 round bouts.
One of those hopefuls is Shuya Masaki (13-1, 5) who looks to be heading towards a title fight in the near future. He will be up against Filipino foe Roman Canto (14-13-3, 8) in what should be a relatively easy bout for Masaki. The Japanese fighter is only a bout or two from a title of some kind, though is likely to head for an OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title fight in 2020. Canto has lost in 5 previous visits to Japan and it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
Another bout pitting a Japanese hopeful against a Filipino will see unbeaten Japanese puncher Hayate Kaji (13-0, 9) take on Diomel Diocos (14-4-3, 4). Early in his career Kaji looked like a star in the making, he looked like he had all the tools to go to the top, combining skills, power, speed and ambition. Sadly he's not really progressed as we'd hoped and his career seems to faltered, and he's had disappointing performances in his last two bouts. The Filipino has lost 2 of his last 3 and was stopped in 4 rounds last time he fought in Japan, being stopped in 2017 by Daigo Higa.
Former amateur stand out Kuntae Lee (2-0, 1) takes his next step up as he takes on unbeaten Indonesian hopeful Rivo Kundimang (9-0-1, 5). As an amateur Lee really was a stand out, and he is hotly tipped to be a a future star in Japan. Despite only being a novice Lee he has already taken one unbeaten record, beating Marlon Paniamogan back in July. Kundimang will be fighting outside of Indonesia for the first time, and has win his last 9 bouts in a row, following a draw on his debut back in September 2017.
In a good step up we'll also see Mikito Nakano (3-0, 3) take on Filipino foe KJ Natuplag (8-1-2, 7), in an excellent bout. The talented Nakano has adapted well to the professional ranks and looks to be on his way to real success at Featherweight in the coming years. On paper this is a step up, but Nakano has looked very good, and last time out he really impressed against Arvin Young. Natuplag has shown real promise, and back in March he stopped Robert Udtohan, but was beaten last time out by Joe Tejones. We're expecting an excellent showing from Nakano who will likely find himself in the title mix next year.
Also on this card will be Kenshin Oshima (6-1-1, 3) and Masaya Tamayama (12-2, 6), who look to continue their rise through the ranks and move towards a title fight in the coming 18 months or so.
One of the other interesting bouts for the day will see the unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (14-0, 9) take on the once beaten Abraham Montoya (18-1-1, 13), in what will be Yaqubov's second defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The talented Yaqubov has impressed recently and moved towards a world title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Mark Urvanov, Victor Alejandro Zunigaabd Emanuel Lopez, and another win here would leave him on the verge of a shot. Montoya, from Mexico, is unbeaten in 19 but this will be his first bout outside of Mexico.
Unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Issa Akberbayev (20-0-0-1, 15) takes on his biggest test so far as he battles against 2016 Olympic champion Evgeny Tishchenko (5-0, 3), who is of course best known for his controversial Olympic win over Vasiliy Levit in the Olympic final. Despite being unbeaten the Kazakh will be the very clear under-dog and the Russian will be the favourite. Notably Akberbayev has been away from the ring for almost 2 years, and it's hard to not imagine that being a major issue here, against his most notable foe so far.
In Australia we'll see the unbeaten Chris Brackin (7-0, 3), an Australian local, take on Indian fighter Balkar Singh (3-1, 1). Singh lost last time out, when he was out pointed by the unbeaten Andrew Hunt over 4 rounds, and we suspect he will suffer another loss here to the talented Brackin.
This weekend is a big one for fans of Asian boxing! The biggest show comes from Aichi on Saturday but that's not all we have, with notable action in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Russia!
The big card in Aichi, will be headlined by a world title fight, and will have support bouts featuring a fast rising local prospect and a former world title challenger. It's not a monster card, but it is a very good one.
The main event will see 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending the WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13). For Tanaka this will be his second defense of the title he took from Sho Kimura last year, and sees him looking to build on his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year. For Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and finally a chance for him to live up to the potential he showed as an amateur. This should be a really high speed and very technical bout, but the champion will clearly be the favourite. Interestingly if Tanaka wins there are murmurs he could be set for another step up in weight and another world title. Our preview of this world title bout can be read here Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting and wonderfully exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) take on world ranked Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). The unbeaten Hatanaka has needed just 32 rounds to get to 9-0 and already looks like he's a star in the making with major titles clearly in his future. On paper Abcede should be a straight forward step up for Hatanaka hwever the Filipino is no push over and he has regularly proven to be a banana skin, with upset wins against the likes of Pigmy Kokietgym, Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really good test for Hatanaka. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hatanaka steps up in class for Abcede test!
Another notable name in a supporting role is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), who will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Carlos Castro back in February. The talented Japanese based Filipino is getting a clear confidence builder here as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3), in a clear mismatch. Don't be surprised if this one ends very early!
A much more interesting match up on this card will see the limited but hard hitting Kanta Fukui (6-2, 5) take on the very talented and promising Shuma Nakazato (8-1-2, 6). Fukui came runner up in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, losing a razor thin decision to Takuya Ota in the final. Since then he has bounced back with a single win, but will be stepping up massively here. The 22 year old Nakazato is genuine talent, and someone who should be on the radar of hardcore Japanese. He's the son of former world title challenger Shigeru Nakazato, and has already held his own with Hironori Mishiro, losing a competitive decision to the current OPBF champion and beaten Lorence Rosas. Although in the middle of the card this is a very interesting match up, and one that could end in explosive fashion.
Also on this card will be Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) who battles in an 8 round bout against Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Wahid impressed us, in some ways, this past May when he stood and took a 6 round pounding from Lap Cheon Cheong in Hong Kong, and he showed his bravery. We suspect that Wahid will again have to be brave, but can't see him lasting 8 round here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we also get a notable card in Metro Manila, featuring a great mix of fighters from world class to prospect level.
The world title bout, or rather the WBO "interim" world title bout, will see John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) defend his Interim Bantamweight title against the limited Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11). The talented Casimero, a true road warrior, won the title in April and will be looking to make his first defense here. Ramirez is yet to prove he belongs any where near world level, especially in this talent stacked division that we currently have. Although can blow hot and cold, it's hard to imagine him really being tested here. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero set to face Ramirez in first interim title defense
In a pretty interest all Filipino bout between regional contender types we'll see Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5). Astrolabio will be defending the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, which he won in Indonesian back in April, for the first time. Aserniero on the other hand will be looking to stretch a 4 fight unbeaten run.
The most notable prospect on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a big step up in class to face the under-rated Virgil Puton (17-12-2, 8). The 30 year old Suarez, who made his debut in January, will be looking to get his career back on track after a 5 month break from action. He's incredibly talented, but doesn't have time to waste. In Puton we have a true regional journeyman, who picks up losses, but pushes good fighters, such as Ye Joon Kim and Shuya Masaki. This is a tough test for Suarez, but one he must pass if he's to make any noise at all in the pro ranks.
Amazing we'll have a third world title fight, with WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) making his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) in Puerto Rico. The under-rated champion, who won the belt in July 2018, was successful this past February when he beat Masataka Taniguchi in his first defense and now fights outside of Asia for the first time. Although not a major global name Saludar is very talented, heavy handed and has under-rated boxing skills. For Mendez this will be his first world title fight, and it looks like a massive step up in class for the talented, though rather negative, Puerto Rican hopeful. This could be a very interesting clash of styles, though will of course be over-shadowed by the other world title bouts earlier in the day. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Vic Saludar and Wilfredo Mendez clash for WBO title!
In Russia we get a pretty big card headlined by Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. Although that bout doesn't have an Asian interest the under-card does, and it has quite a few in fact with several different bouts featuring an unbeaten Central Asian fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the Central Asian hopefuls on this card is the always fun to watch Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0, 7) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Originally he was pencilled in to face off with Sibusiso Zingange (13-3-2, 3), though Zingange was removed from the bout and at the time of writing, his replacement hasn't been named. Uulu, whilst flawed, would have been strongly favoured to beat the South African.
Another really interesting bout will see Uzbek Super Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) risk his WBC Silver title against once beaten Russian Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5). The talented Uzbek has been out of the ring since beating Wuzhati Nuerlang last November, and has lost much of the early momentum his career once had. Despite that he will be favoured over the 34 year old Sirotkin, who is best known for being stopped last October by John Ryder in the UK.
Unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Erzhan Turgumbekov (6-0-1, 2) looks to bounce back from a draw against Javokhirbek Karimov just a few weeks ago, as he takes on unbeaten Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko (9-0, 5). The unbeaten Turgumbekov rushed to 6-0 in just over 13 months but the draw last time out certainly slowed his momentum. Lashko on the other hand scored his biggest win in March, when he beat Ryo Takenaka in China, and will be looking for his 5th win of the year here. Takenaka aside there is little on his record of any note at all.
Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) will also be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the once beaten Artur Osipov (15-1, 10). The 26 year old Kazakh, who is managed by Egis Klimas, has been out of the ring since beating Luis Hernanez in March, and will be looking to impress on what will be his first bout outside of the US in close to 2 years. Osipov on the other hand is coming in to this bout after a loss in March to Evgeny Terentiev, and will likely be low on confidence, for what looks like his toughest bout so far, on paper.
Another bout on this Russian card worthy of interest ins a contest between Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10) and Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24) in what is a must watch bout on paper, promising a lot of explosive fireworks and a real feeling that this one will not see the final bell. A full preview of this bout is available here Dynamite meets TNT as Papin and Makuba clash!
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.
We'll see a couple of Kazakh hopefuls in action this coming Friday as they compete on a small card in California.
One of those Kazakh hopefuls is 30 year old Light Middleweight Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0, 6), who takes on Luis Hernandez (16-6, 9) in an 8 round bout. The unbeaten Kazakh fighter has faced most limited opponents since his December 2015 debut, and it's a shame to have seen him treading water so much, given that he has got a fair bit of talent. Hernandez, from Puerto Rico, has lost 4 of his last 5, and 5 of his last 8, but is durable and should force Ashkeyev to work for a win here.
The other Kazakh on this card is 25 year old Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (9-0, 7), who will be up against Ramon Aginaga (13-1, 9), who is the third opponent Nursulatanov has had to prepare for following his opponent changing twice. On paper this is another step forward for Nursultanov, who claimed the NABF Junior Middleweight title last time out. We're interested in seeing how the Kazakh develops and would expect him to be given a real test by the end of 2019, given that he has been impressing time and time again. Aginaga hasn't had great notice but is dangerous and has picked up wins on the road before, including a win over Shakeel Phinn in Canada, though was stopped in 5 rounds by exciting French prospect Christian Mbilli.
New Jersey, USA
Our attention will mostly be on New Jersey this coming Saturday as one Central Asian fighter defends a world title, and two others look to progress there careers.
The champion in question is the extremely talented and really exciting WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11), who defends his title against Malawi born challenger Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2, 10). The heavy handed and exciting Bivol comes into this bout on the back of his excellent victory over Sullivan Barrera this past March, in what was Bivol's 5th straight stoppage win. The Kyrgyzstan born fighter is making a name for himself and a win over Chilemba will help him there. Sadly for Chilemba it does feel like his career is coming to an en and he has lost 3 of his last 4, including a stoppage loss in November 2016 to Oleksandr Gvozdyk. At his best Chilemba was a handful for anyone but he's now a very old 31 who has been in a lot of wars during his career.
One of the guys looking to move forward with their career is unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (9-0, 5), who is set for a notable step up in class to take on Cleotis Pendarvis (21-4-2, 9). The Kazakh has looked close to flawless in recent bouts and has been impressing on US soil through his career. American southpaw Pendarvis has had a stop-start career, and his last 4 bouts really haven't been great to know what he has left, but at his best he was a solid fighter who managed to stop Michael Clark, though that was almost 6 years ago now. A prime Pendarvis would have made for an interesting test, but we now expect Ashkeyev to step up and put on a showcase performance against his more experienced foe.
Another Kazakh on this card is Middleweight prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (7-0, 6), who will be looking for this third win of 2018. His opponent for this bout hasn't been announced but we're not expecting anyone too testing for the 24 year old, who we think will be stepping up in class at this end of this year, or early next year. Heavy handed, talented and exciting Nursultanov has a lot going for him, but we wouldn't be surprised if he team just waited a year or two before throwing him in with notable names.
In Japan fans only get a single show from Okinawa, and even that show isn't massively great with two low key title fights and some small fights on the under-card.
One of those title fights is a WBO Asia Pacific female Bantamweight title fight, which will see Yuko Henzan (6-6-4, 2) take on unbeaten Chinese fighter Fan Yin (3-0, 1). The Japanese fighter started her career 0-3-1 but has managed to turn things and had gone 4-0-2 in her last 6 bouts, and claimed the OPBF female Bantamweight title, so a win here for Henzan would see her become a unified champion. The Chinese fighter made her professional debut last December, and scored 2 wins in the space of 2 weeks, but her activity has slowed significantly and she has only fought once since the turn of the year.
The other title fight will see Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) defending his belt against the promising Hiroki Inamine (2-1, 2). The 23 year old champion won the 2013 Rookie of the Year at Flyweight but has since struggled, going 5-4-1 (1). To help rectify things Oho has dropped to Light Flyweight which appears to be a more suitable weight class for him, given his relative lack of power. Inamine's record suggest he's a heavy handed fighter but he's only stopped two Thai's since making his debut, though he was a well regarded domestic amateur. Inamine was beaten last time out, by the ultra promising Rikito Shiba, but will feel he has the power to take care of Ono, in what could be the fight of the day.
In a supporting bout fans will see once touted youngster Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) look to get his career back on track after going 0-1-2 in his last 3. Ogido hasn't been softly matched but he has failed to win any of his last 3 bouts, which were all title contest, and is clearly being matched softly here to get some confidence back. He'll be up against Takayuki Teraji (9-15-1, 4) who has won just 3 of his last 10 and should manage to give Ogido rounds with out really coming close to winning them.
One other fighter on this card worthy of note is American born Japanese fighter Marcus Smith (5-0-1, 5), who looks to secure his second win of 2018 as he takes on Koji Igarashi (4-2, 3). It's hard to see Igarashi coming out on top here, given both of his losses have been by stoppage, but he does have power of his own and could well chin check Smith here.
This coming Saturday we get a world title in the West and we'll also see two very interesting and notable Japanese cards, both taking place in the Kanto region of Japan.
New York, USA
The world title bout is one of a trio of bouts at Madison Square Garden to feature Asian fighters, in what should be a great chance for a number of fighters to shine.
The world title bout will see Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Light Heavyweight Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10) defending his title against once beaten Cuban Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14). For both men the bout is a major step forward for their career with Bivol facing his most notable opponent to date and Barrera really fighting in a must win, against his second most significant opponent to date,only behind Andre Ward who beat him 2 years ago. The bout pits two top Light Heavyweights against each other, and could well be a very special bout.
This card will also feature a pair of Kazakh hopefuls. One of those is Meiirim Nursultanov (5-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against Alejandro Torres (9-3-2, 4). Nulrsultanov has looked really good since his debut in late 2016 and will be looking to launch himself up towards the world rankings by the end of 2018, with Torres being his first bout of the year. As for Torres the Mexican 24 year old has proven to be tough and should serve a good test for the Kazakh, who will be hunting his 5th straight stoppage.
The other Kazakh on this show will be Madiyar Ashkeyev (8-0, 4), who faces live under-dog Jose Antonio Abreu (13-3, 8). The Kazakh isn't as touted as his aforementioned countryman but is a skilled operator who will be looking to make up for lost time after having fought just once in 2017. Abreu, from the Dominican Republic, has lost 3 of his last 4, all in the US, and will likely come up short again here, though has been matched hard in those losses and is certainly no push over.
New York, USA
On a separate US card in New York, fans will see Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (5-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, but it's unlikely to be too much of a step up in class for the unbeaten man.
On paper the Japanese card with the best single bouts take place in Kanagawa on a Kawasaki Nitta promoted card where fans will get two Japanese title fights and another solid support bout.
The main event of the card is a Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) and mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10), who meet in a Champion Carnival bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense of the title, and will be expecting a much tougher bout than his last defense, which saw him dominate the limited but entertaining Mako Matsuyama. Nagamine on the other hand will be getting his first title bout, and, on paper, his toughest bout since his sole loss to Ken Shiro.
The other title bout is likely to be even better and will see teak tough Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) take on the explosive Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) in another of the 2018 Champion Carnival bouts. Nishida has held the title for almost 2 years, but has only managed a single defense, due to an out of the ring accident which forced him out of the ring for a while. Despite the lack of defenses he's a tough, aggressive and exciting champion with a solid mentality and style. Takesako is a talented slugger, and should take the fight to Nishida in a potential war. We are expecting this bout to be a potential Japanese fight of the year and something very special.
Also on this card will be the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (20-8-1, 9), who faces Masashi Kamon (7-2-1, 4) in an 8 rounder. Furuhashi has long been one of the fringe contenders on the domestic scene, and is far better than his record suggests, despite 3 losses in his last 6. Kamon on the other hand began his career 1-2 but has gone on a good run, going 6-0-1 in his last 7. Despite being on a good run Kamon is taking a notable step up in class here.
The other Japanese card will be televised on G+ and despite being higher profile in it's coverage it's arguably a lesser card, despite having a number of notable fighters on it.
The main event here will see WBO #1 ranked Super Featherweight contender Masayuki Ito (22-1-1, 11) take on under-rated Filipino Vergil Puton (17-9, 8), in a bout which appears to be a world title prelude for Ito. The talented Japanese fighter, a former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, will be expected to easily over-come Puton but the visitor is no push over, and has asked genuine questions to the likes of Paul Fleming, Ibraham Balla, Shuya Masaki and Ye Joon Kim. Ito should win, but this will be much tough than a public spar for the Japanese fighter.
In a really good chief support bout fans will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (12-2-1, 8) take on Hajime Nagai (15-9-2, 5), with both men risking JBC rankings. Coming into this Tobe is ranked #7 by the JBC and Nagai is ranked #10. Tobe is riding a 4 fight winning run since losing the Japanese title to Sho Ishida, in a very competitive bout back in 2014, and despite issues with activity he is still a top domestic talent. Nagai on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, bith technical decisions,but does have under-rated skills, as he's shown against the likes of Yuji Shimizu back in 2016. This should be Tobe's to lose, but is a very good test on paper for the Misako gym fighter.
Another support bout will see the often fun to watch Koki Eto (21-4-1, 16) take on Filipino journeyman Marzon Cabilla (16-15-1, 5). Eto is currently riding a 4 fight winning run, albeit against limited competition, since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras. Despite his low level of competition the Japanese fighter is a fringe world class talent, and is well known for his thrilling bouts against the likes of Kompayak Porpramook, Yodmongol Vor Saengthep and Ardin Diale. Cabilla enters this bout in the form of his career, riding a 7 fight winning run, but is stepping back up in class here and is likely to see that run of success come to an end.
One other bout of note will see Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Kenji Ono (11-2-1, 6) take on former Japanese Minimumweight contender Masashi Tada (11-5-2, 7). Ono is best known for his up-and-down war with Jun Takigawa from 2016, and has gone 1-1-1 since that bout, suffering an opening round loss to Seigo Yuri Akui in late 2016. He needs a win if he's to move into a title bout. As for Tada he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3, and over 4 years removed from his last win, however at the age of 28 he does still have time to rebuild his career and a win here would see him move into the JBC rankings.