This coming Thursday is an intriguing day for fight fans who will get a genuinely brilliant bout in the US featuring an unbeaten Kazakh, and the chance to see several notable Filipino's in action, over in General Santos City. It's not a huge day, but it is a very, very interesting one.
Wild Card Boxing, Los Angeles, California, USA
For once we'll start in the US where we expect to see the bout of the day as unbeaten men collide in this week's Ring City USA show.
In one corner will be unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (14-0, 7), taking a long over-due step up in class, as he takes on touted American fighter Charles Conwell (13-0, 10) in a mouth watering match up. The 32 year old Ashkeyev has struggled to get notable opponents in the ring with him and has pretty much floundered due to a real lack of notable competition. When he's been in the ring however he looks talented and strong. Just a shame he's not had the competition to prove it against. Conwell on the other hand might be the pick of the bunch in terms of unheralded US hopefuls. The 23 year old had an emotional 2019, with his bout against the well liked Patrick Day ending in tragedy, but he has bounced back well and looked very good last time out, stopping Wendy Toussaint in October. This is a really, really good match up and should push the winner towards a world title fight.
Sanman Boxing Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Although the best single bout is in the US the card that has the most notable names in action is in the Philippines where we see three former world title challengers and a very highly regarded prospect in action.
The highly regarded prospect on the show is the sensationally talented KJ Cataraja (11-0, 9), who takes on former Bantamweight world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5). The brilliant Cataraja looked like he had the talent to be fast tracked but sadly he was stuck with ALA Promotions when they were on a downturn and was unable to get the fights he needed to progress his career. Now with ZIP it's expected Cataraja will be moved very aggressively in 2021. This should be a good way to shake some ring rust before big fights in the new year. As for Apolinario he's been in the ring with some solid names, including Koki Kameda and Roberto Vasquez, but he's very much looked like a fighter at the end of his career in recent bouts, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 5.
Another former world title challenger on this show is Jeo Santisima (19-3, 16), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on novice foe Marjon Piencenaves (6-1-1, 4). This will be Santisima's first bout since losing to Emanuel Navarrete in a WBO Super Bantamweight title and despite that loss we expect him to pick up a very straight forward win. However Piencenaves will come into this with an upset mentality and know he can really boost his career if he can get the shock win here.
Another world title challenger on this show is former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who has previously given Wanheng Menayothin an incredibly tough test. Jerusalem is currently very highly ranked by the WBC and will be looking at potentially getting a second world title bout in 2021, though he will need to get past fellow Filipino Jayson Francisco (5-2, 1) here. As with Cataraja's bout it's hard to see this as anything more than a tick over bout for the favourite who will be looking for bigger and better things next year.
Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Over in the Dominican Republic we'll get action involving several Japanese fighters.
One of those is Masayuki Suwa (22-13-2, 14), previously known as Cobra Suwa, who takes on Jean Carlos Rodriguez (8-6, 4). The 40 year old Suwa has had a really interesting career seems to be just ploughing on with boxing well beyond the typical Japanese retirement age, with this being his third straight bout since his last Japanese bout in April 2018. Aged 28 Rodriguez is the much younger man, however he has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and has only beaten 1 opponent with a winning record. We wouldn't be surprised at all by Suwa picking up the win here.
Another is Naoki Inaba (7-5-1, 3), who takes on Angelo Munoz (18-17, 11). On paper this looks a relatively even match up, but Inaba has gone unbeaten in his last 4 whilst Munoz has lost his last 9, falling from 18-8 (11) to 18-17 (11), and has been stopped in 8 of those 9 losses.
Another was Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24), also known as Vladimir Baez, who takes on Mario Beltre (17-6, 12). This will be Baez's first bout since losing to Mongolian sensation Tuguldur Byambatsogt back in January whilst Beltre will return to the ring for the first time since June 2018.
For us the most interesting card of the day takes place in China, where we see a a really talented local look to continue his impressive winning run, a once beaten local looking to add to his record and an unbeaten prospect look to build on his good start.
The main event will see the world ranked Jing Xiang (16-4-2, 3) take on Filipino visitor Jomar Caindog (10-1-1, 4) in a very interesting looking match up on paper. The talented Xiang, who is world ranked at 108lbs, will be dropping to Minimumweight for this match up as he attempts to claim the WBO International title. On paper Caindog is a good opponent, but this will be a big step up for the Filipino, who fights outside of the Philippines for the first time. The winner of this will be in the mix for WBO Minimumweight title so this is a very significant fight for both men and should be a bout that has a lot of skills on show. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Xiang moves down to take on Caindog in International title fight
In a good support bout local fighter Xiao Tao Su (10-1, 5) will take on Shota Yukawa (11-5-3, 4) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Coming into this the local is on a 6 fight winning run, including a KO win over the once touted Konthara KKP and another over Riki Hamada. Su is certainly not a big name prospect but has got momentum coming into this bout. Yukawa on the other hand is a 31 year old who has been facing very poor opposition since being stopped in May 2018 by Takura Uehara and will come into this bout as a clear under-dog.
A third bout of interest will see the flawed but hard hitting Chinese Xiang Li (4-0, 3) take on Korean teenager Do Jin Lee (6-2-3) for a pair of minor titles. For Li this will be his second second bout of the year, following January's win over Arvin Yurong. In that win over Young we saw plenty to like about the 24 year old Li, who really does look a powerful young kid, but he really needs a lot of polishing before being moved through the rankings. Lee on the other hand comes into this bout on the back of a very wide loss to Mirai Naito back in June, and that loss showed his level.
ALA have been really quiet this year, though they do have a show this coming Saturday in Leyte, featuring two of their biggest hopes, both in matches that look like mismatches.
The most clear of those mismatches will see the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (17-2, 14) take on Indonesian foe Alvius Maufani (6-3-2, 3). Santisima hasn't fought since last November, when he scored a solid win over tough Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez, and has lost much of his momentum as a result of the lay off. On the other hand Maufani has failed to win any of his last 3, and was stopped last time out, by Yamato Hata.
The other stand out fighter on this card is Albert Pagara (31-1, 22), who takes on Thai puncher Lucky Tor Buamas (12-3, 12). Pagara has promised a lot, but like Santisima has been inactive since last November, and has only fought 5 times since his loss to Cesar Jaurez in July 2016. Given that Lucky has been stopped in his 3 defeats we suspect another early defeat for him here.
Other notable Filipino fighters on this card include Esneth Domingo (11-1, 6) and former world title challengers Melvin Jerusalem (14-2, 8) and Jonas Sultan (15-5, 9). All 3 will be expected to pick up straight forward wins here.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Sticking with pretty notable action we also get a WP Boxing card from Bang Phun, which we expect to see being aired on DAZN in the US.
The main event of this show will see Apichet Petchmanee (4-0, 2) and Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-4, 41) battle in a rematch. The two fought earlier this year and the unbeaten Apichet was given a really tough test by the much more experienced fighter, who was though to be past it but proved to still a lot left in the tank. The 65 fight veteran is a former multi-time world title challenger, and whilst he's proven to be no threat to world champions he is a solid regional fighter and will be looking to avenge the loss he suffered in his first bout with Apichet. This could end up being one of the most interesting bouts of the day.
Also on this card is unbeaten youngster Chainoi Worawut (5-0-1, 5), who looks like he could be in a bit of a shoot out as he battles Filipino Matthew Arcillas (6-2, 6). Between the two men they have had 14 bouts, but only seen the final bell once, Chainoi's draw with Rakniran Muadransarakam. Both can punch, and with Arcillas having a suspect chin we're not expecting this to go long. This could be explosive and very exciting.
From what we understand there was supposed to be two Super Flyweight tournaments bouts, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) taking on Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) and Samartlek Kokietgym (34-10-1,12) going up against Phongsaphon Panyakum (4-1, 1). We have however been told that at least one of these bouts, if not both, have been rescheduled due to an injury.
Staying in Asia there is also a show set to take place in Singapore, albeit a very low level card with little in terms of interesting action.
The main event will see Indonesian journeyman Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (29-17-1, 16) take on Thailand's Theerawat Yoohanngoh (21-10, 15) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Middleweight title. The 38 year old Ferdinandus was once a respectable regional fighter at Lightweight, but his 2018 clash with Tim Tszyu is hard to forget, and it's clear that his career is ambling to an end. Theerawat on the other hand is a 31 year old who showed promise a decade ago, but has certainly not shown that level of promise in recent years. This could be interesting, but it's one where neither guy is likely to go much further.
In a supporting bout 35 year old local Darryl Edmund Kho (4-1-1, 1) battles Rahman Ambodalle (6-12-2, 3). Given how Ferdinandus career is winding down we really do worry for Ambodalle who was stopped in 2 by Ferdinandus in May. That was Ambodalle 9th stoppage loss and he's almost certainly there to just pad Kho's record.
In what looks like another record padding bout the unbeaten Adli Hafidz (6-0, 3), from Malaysia, will be up against 35 year old Rocky Alap Alap (5-18-2). Alap Alap actually fought Theerawat back in 2010, losing in 4 rounds and has only win once since June 2008, suffering 15 losses in that time.
Over in the US Top Rank promoted Kazakh prospect Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2) looks to continue his unbeaten run as he takes a big step up in class and faces off with Stuart McLellan (27-3-3-1, 11). The talented and unbeaten Alimkhanuly has, at times, flattered to deceive and although clearly an excellent fighter hasn't totally adapted to the professional ranks...yet. McLellan on the other hand is a 32 year old Canadian who is no world beater, but is a solid enough fighter to match Alimkhanuly with at this stage of his career. McLellan has mostly fought on the Canadian scene with his most notable result being a TKO3 loss to Steve Clagget back in 2015. Since the loss to Clagget he has gone 15-1-0-1 and should ask some questions of the Kazakh hopeful.
Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
This coming Saturday is set to be a huge day for Asian boxing, with a number of fighters taking place across a number of shows. This includes a big bout in Mexico, a pair of shows in China and a pretty notable card in the Philippines.
Nuevo León, Mexico
One of the Mexican fights takes place in Nuevo León and will see former IBF and WBO Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19) battle against former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) in a contest for the for Rodriguez's WBC Latino Silver Super Flyweight title. The Mexican is best remembered for his incredible 2014 bout with Katsunari Takayama but since then has gone 9-2-1 and moved up from Minimumweight to Super Flyweight, which doesn't appear to have suited him quite as well as the smaller divisions. Tobe was once one of the most touted prospects in Japan, and although he has failed to reach the expectations many had for him, this is a great chance to make a mark and put himself in the mix for a world title fight.
Of the actual shows in Asia the most notable is an ALA promoted card in Leyte.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) take on Thai foe Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The heavy handed Santisima has won his last 13 in a row, with 12 stoppage, and we expect to see him continue that run here. Despite that this isn't a foregone conclusion and Yodsingdaeng is a credible foe, with his only loss since 2015 coming in a decision to Juan Martin Elorde. This should be a good test for Santisima.
In the co-feature we'll see the touted Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) battle against Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), with this bout being for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. Pagara has been rebuilding well since his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez, but on paper this bout is a step from his last 3 contests, all of which were pretty straight forward wins for the Filipino. Odoi, from Ghana, began his career by losing his first 2 bouts, and was 1-1-2 after 4 contests, but has rebuilt well with 19 wins from his following 21 bouts. Despite being a step up for Pagara from recent opponents we're not expecting the Filipino to come up short here, but he will be forced to work for his win.
In main supporting bouts we have two former world title challengers in action. One of those is Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), who takes on fellow Filipino Philip Luis Cuerdo (10-4-1, 4) in what looks like an interesting match up. Jerusalem impressed in a narrow loss to Wanheng Menayothin, for the WBC Minimumweight title, but a loss to Joey Canoy last year does leave us wondering if he has the fire to prove himself. Cuerdo should be able to test Jerusalem here, but he been stopped in 2 of his last 3, and it would be a shock to see him pick up a victory over the former world title challenger.
The other former world title challenger on this card is Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17), who has twice come up short when fighting for a world title. The technically well schooled Villanueva who has lost to McJoe Arroyo, Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, will be strongly favoured to pick up a win here as he take on domestic foe Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4).
Albert Pagara's older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25) is also on this card, and will be battling against Geisler Ap (12-10-1, 9). The 29 year old Pagara once promised so much but has disappointed in recent contests, including a draw with James Onyango and a loss last time out to Hiroki Okada. Despite those set backs it's hard to imagine Ap having much to test the Filipino.
The card is also set to see the debut of former Japanese stand out Go Hosaka (0-0), who will battle Holly Quinones (3-9-1, 1) in a “special attraction” bout. The 21 year old Hosaka signed with ALA not too long back and is tipped for big things. Despite this being his debut it's hard to imagine Hosaka losing to a fighter like Quinones, who has been stopped in 7 of his 9 losses.
On one Chinese show fight fans will see IBF female Minimumweight Zongju Cai (10-1, 1) battle against Mexico's Ana Victoria Polo (7-2, 1) for the IBO Female Minimumweight title. The Chinese fighter is looking to become a double champion, though from what is being reported won't be risking her IBF title here. Despite not risking her own title Cai will be strongly fancied here, and she is a genuine talent who is quickly become the face of female boxing in China. Aged 36 Polo is a fighter who has fought just once in the last 18 months and is unlikely to have the speed or skills match the local favourite.
The other title bout in China will see former world title contender Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) battle against the once beaten Petch Kokietgym (32-1, 5) in a contest for the OPBF “silver” Super Bantamweight title. The Chinese fighter hasn't fought since December 2016, when he suffered his second loss to Nehomar Cermeno, but will be favoured here against the very limited Petch. On paper the Thai looks a good fighter but his competition has been horrific so far and it's hard to image he has anything to test Jun with, even if Jun is rusty. Interestingly the winner of this will move towards a potential show down with Hidenori Otake.
The biggest fight of the day, for the Asian scene at least, comes from Thailand and will see see a world title on the line, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (48-0,17) defends against former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-5-6, 7). The defending champion is getting very close to the magic 50-0, a record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, and will be strongly favoured over Fukuhara here, with the Japanese challenger needing to create history to win. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very entertaining clash with two aggressive fighters facing off.
In Bohol we get a genuinely stacked card thanks to ALA who put on their next Pinoy Pride card.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten and highly regarded Mark Magsayo (17-0, 13) defending his WBO International Featherweight title against former Japanese champion Shota Hayashi (30-6-1, 16). The promising Magsayo is looking to move into world class in the near future and will see a bout against Hayashi as a good step forward following two quick blow outs earlier in the year. For Hayashi, who lost his Japanese title to Kosuke Saka back in April, the bout is a tough one for his international debut, but he will know the reward of winning is a world ranking.
The card is stacked with prospects. This includes Virgel Vitor (11-1, 7), Albert Pagara (28-1, 19), Jeo Santisima (14-2, 12) and former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-2, 7). Unfortunately all 4 of the promising fighters appear to be in huge mismatches as they look to stay busy going in to the new year.
Also on the card will be Roli Gasca (23-8-1, 7) and Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20), who like the aforementioned prospects are in easy against opponents they should have no trouble with.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card comes from Davao del Norte thanks to MB Boxing.
The main event of the card will see Filipino fighter Glenn Porras (30-6, 18) take on former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-22-2, 18) of Indonesia. The Filipino has lost 3 of his last 5 but is a talented fighter and should have no problem seeing off the visitor, who used to be a decent fighter, at best, but is now pretty much a regional journeyman who picks up far more losses than wins.
The talented and once touted Rosekie Cristobal (14-2, 10) will be looking to avoid a third loss in 5 bouts as he battles former OPBF Light Welterweight champion Romeo Jakosalem (18-15-1, 10). Jakosalem is almost 6 years removed from his career best win, and has only won 4 times since then. Cristobal has suffered 2 DQ losses in Mexico, and before those there was big hopes for him, so he'll be looking to bounce back and show what he's about here.
A third bout of some note sees the once beaten Michael Bravo (12-1, 5) battle against Lyster Jun Pronco (9-15-1, 6). The once beaten Bravo comes into this bout on a run of 7 straight wins, albeit against very limited opposition, whilst Pronco is win-less in his last 13, with 12 losses and a draw during that run. This bout is for the PBF Light Flyweight title, and we expect to see Bravo crowned the new champion.
Seoul, South Korea
We have an international show in Korea with some low key bouts.
One bout worthy of interest sees Korean based Cameroonian refugee Heuk San Lee (4-0-1, 2) take on Japan's Kazuhiro Baba (6-5-2, 3). Lee is looking to extend a 3 fight winning run, which has seen him claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title, and despite being 34 is one of the more interesting fighters plying his trade in Korea right now. The visitor had the edge in age, given he's only 25, but he's the naturally smaller man, was recently stopped by Ryota Toyoshima and is fighting outside of Japan for the first time.
A second bout of note here will see Hyun Je Shin (7-6, 1) take on Filipino fighter Daniel Ferreras (13-9-2, 4). Shin is a former Korean Featherweight champion, having won the title last time out however that was more than 3 years ago and he has been inactive since winning the belt. Notably the Korean has fought as low as 112lbs before as well. Ferreras is also ending a break from the ring, which also began back in 2014 when he was stopped by Rey Vargas. Although Ferreras' record is lessthan great he has mixed in good company, with losses to Vargas and Kohei Kono.
New York, USA
There will also be US action with Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (4-0, 3) taking on fellow unbeaten Eric Moon (7-0, 6) in what looks like a great step up in class for the 24 year old Kazakh fighter. A win for Nursultanov will help push him towards bigger and better fights, potentially moving him into fights against “name” opponents in the very near future.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy day for Asian fight fans with bouts featuring Asian fighters taking place all over the globe.
The biggest show of the day is an ALA show in Cebu that features a number of the best Filipino prospects getting decent tests.
The main event of the show will see the unbeaten, and highly touted, Mark Magsayo (16-0, 12) battle against Nicaraguan Daniel Diaz (23-7-2, 15). The bout will see Magsayo defending his WBO International Featherweight title, for the second, in what looks like a good test on paper. Magsayo is seen as one of the most promising Filipino hopefuls, and he has impressed, but this could be a tough ask as Diaz has mixed with good competition, fought for a world title and holds a win over Roberto Marroquin.
Another bout that looks great on paper sees the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (13-2, 11) take on the unbeaten Goodluck Mrema (16-0, 8). The 21 year old Santisima has won his last 11, with 10 stoppages, and has really impressed with his power and aggression but is in tough here against an unbeaten Tanzanian fighter who won't be wanting to give up his perfect record. This could be the stand out bout of the show.
Former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (11-1, 7) looks to bounce back from his narrow loss to WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin as he takes on fellow Filipino Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6). The talented and exciting Jerusalem looks like a future world champion in the making and looks like someone with all the talented needed to be a future Filipino star, but needs to prove that he has the mentality to be a special fighter as he drops back down to domestic level. Canot has lost 3 of his last 7, but Jerusalem still cannot over-look him here.
Another notable bout here will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (27-1, 18) battle against Thai visitor Patomsith Pathompothong (16-9, 6). The talented Pagara will be fighting for the second time since suffering his sole career defeat, to Cesar Juarez, and should be able to get a confidence building win here. The Thai once looked like a possible contender, but with 5 losses in his last 6 he now looks like a journeyman, and it's unlikely he'll put up much of a fight here.
One final prospect on this card of real note is the unbeaten Kevin Jake Cataraja (5-0, 4), who will be facing off with Lony Cadayday (4-1-2, 1). The wonderfully talented Cataraja is one of the best young fighters in the Philippines but still needs a lot of time to develop his skills and will certainly be handled well by ALA who will look to keep him busy and continue his development before moving him in to title bouts, potentially next year. Cadayday comes into this bout as the under-dog, but as a man who has gone unbeaten in 6 and scored a big win last time out over Jeny Boy Boca, with that win being a huge confidence builder for the once beaten Cadayday.
Although the best card is in the Philippines it does need to be said that the most significant bout with an Asian fighter takes place in Mexico as WBC female Bantamweight champion Mariana Juarez (45-9-4, 17) defends her title against Japanese challenger Terumi Nuki (9-1, 6). The Mexican star will be strongly favoured, but there is a chance she'll get old over-night and that would give Nuki half a chance, like we saw last weekend when Jeff Horn shocked the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
New South Wales, Australia
We also get Asian's in action in Australia, where we get a trio of bouts of note.
For us the best of the bouts will see the unbeaten Mark Lucas (8-0, 3) take on upset minded Filipino Arnel Tinampay (24-20-1, 10). On paper this looks like a typical “Prospect Vs Journeyman” bout, but Tinampay has a reputation for upsetting the apple carts and beating guys he's not supposed to beat. Lucas will be favoured, but this is a real banana skin bout for him.
Another bout of note here will see Haithem Laamouz (9-0, 3) and Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes (15-7-1, 10) battle for the Australian Lightweight title, in a bout that could be better than the records suggest. Laamouz should win, but Delos Reyes is capable an upset, and is heavy handed.
The other fight of note will see the limited Michael Van Nimwegen (9-5, 4) take on long term Australian based Indonesian trial horse Aswin Cabuy (19-61-4, 7). On paper this looks likely to be another loss for Cabuy but he's certainly beaten fighters than Van Nimwegen in the past and could be up for this one, despite being 42 years old.
There will also be a pair of shows in Indonesia. One of those will be in Mankwari where the card is headlined by a bout between Hengky Baransano (11-11, 4) and Domi Nenokeba (12-29-2, 8). The bout isn't hugely appealing internationally but should be fun for fans in attendance. The only other bout of note on this card will see veteran Geisler AP (10-10, 7) take on the debuting Samson (0-0).
The other show in Indonesia takes place in Jakarta and against won't get much international intention, but should still be a decent card.
One of those bouts on the card will see Ruben Manakane (20-17-1, 12) take on Edison Berwela (15-35-8, 4) in what could be a better bout than it looks on paper. Another bout similar intent will see veteran James Mokoginta (33-18-3, 20) take on journeyman Artid Bamrungauea (11-16, 9),with this bout being for the WBC ABC Continental title.
Another title fight will see Willem Marahina (5-15-1, 3) face off with Rocky Irawan Sikumbang (6-3, 2) for the International Boxing Association Super Lightweight title.
Another bout with some interest will see the unbeaten Hebi Marapu (8-0, 6) face of with Hendy Luis (7-11-2, 3), in what looks like a good test for the promising Marapu.
Attention turns to Thailand this Wednesday for a show with a world title bout.
In that title bout we'll see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (43-0, 17) take on unbeaten Filipino Melvin Jerusalem (11-0, 7). For Wanheng this will be his 6th title defense in a little over 2 years and he will be hoping to build on a successful 2016, a year in which he defeated Go Odaira and Saul Juarez in title defenses. The little known Jerusalem will enter with little expectation but could end the fight by really shaking up the Minimumweight here, if he's as good as some in the Philippines are suggesting.
The biggest card of the weekend comes form Cebu and is a stacked ALA card.
The main event of the card will see former world title challengers Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 16) face off to crown a new IBF “interim” Light Flyweight champion, and decide the mandatory challenger for current world champion Akira Yaegashi. Melindo, fighting in his third world title fight, should be favoured here but Fahlan has put in his best performances as the under-dog, and the Thai is of course best known for upsetting Ryo Miyazaki. The bout should be a really intriguing one given the match up, and the fact that the winner moves into a world title bout this is an incredibly significant bout.
In a support bout will see the world ranked Jason Pagara (39-2, 24) battle former world champion Jose Alfaro (28-10-1-2, 24) in an interesting 10 rounder. Alfaro is a long way removed from his short reign as the WBA Lightweight world champion, but still has power and could still hurt Pagara who has shown himself to be a genuine world class fight. Sadly for Alfaro his only chance is a puncher's chance.
Staying with the Pagara family another bout will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (26-1, 18), who was last seen being stopped by Cesar Juaez, take on the tough but limited Raymond Commey (16-3, 9), who we saw lose to Qiu Xiao Jun not too long ago. The bout is a big question of Pagara's mental state, and whilst he should be favoured there is some worries that he will be damaged goods given the way he couldn't see Juarez and was stopped himself as Juarez rode the storm and came back strongly. Commey appears to be very durable and could be a real nightmare down the stretch for Pagara.
A really interesting looking all Filipino under-card bout will see former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (18-3-1, 6) battle the under-rated Jerry Nardo (21-9, 11) in what could potentially help decide a future OPBF title challenger. On paper Paypa should be favoured, especially given that Nardo has gone 2-5 in his last 7, but Nardo can spring upsets at domestic level and this bout could be a banana skin for Paypa.
Another good looking all-Filipino domestic bout will see Jeo Santisima (11-2, 10) face recent OPBF challenger Rex Wao (11-3, 9) in what look like a potentially explosive bout between very well matched fighters, at least on paper.
One of the most promising Filipino fighters is Kevin Jake Cataraja (4-0, 3) who looks for win #5 as he takes on the more experienced John Kenan Villaflor (6-1-2, 2) on a minor step up, and will hopefully be Cataraja's final bout before being stepped up. Another unbeaten hopeful in action here is the big punching Melvin Jerusalem (10-0, 7), who takes on Bonjun Loperez (10-5-1, 5) in a bit of a stay busy bout for the unbeaten youngster.
A second Filipino card of the day comes from Batangas.
In the headline bout on this card we'll see a rematched between the experienced Roberto Gonzales (27-2, 17) and Ryan Sermona (19-8, 12), who fight for the GAB Lightweight title. On paper it looks like a straight forward first defense for Gonzalez, who has won his last and 7 bouts, however he was stopped by Sermona when the two men first fought back in May 2012 and Sermona will be confident of scoring a second win over Gonzalez.
In an interesting match up we'll see the experienced Al Sabaupan (25-2-1, 20) battle Jheritz Chavez (5-1-2, 3) in a real cross roads. Sabaupan had once been tipped as a world title contender but losses in 2012 and 2013 ended those hopes. Sabaupan has won his last 5 but hasn't shown his early promise in recent years and has only fought twice in he last 25 months. Chavez was beaten last time out but is unbeaten at home and could prove to be a total handful for Sabuapan.
Another bout on the show will see Glenn Porras (29-4, 17) battle against the very limited Jayar Estremos (10-12, 4). Porras was beaten just 2 fights back, though that was back in December 2012 and he has did return to winning ways last time out. Estremos is a very limited fighter and it would be a huge surprise for him to test Porras, even with Porras' recent lack of activity.
Icheon City, South Korea
In South Korea fans will see former world champion Eun Hye Lee (8-1, 3) battle against Thailand's Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (5-3-1) in a bout for the WIBA Flyweight title. Lee was unlucky to not become a 2-weight world champion this year, losing a controversial bout to Nana Yoshikawa. The Thai will be the huge under-dog and we can't see how she wins here.
In Mexico we'll see Japanese born, Mexican based, Shoki Sakai (21-6-1, 13) face off with Jose Lopez (26-6-2, 15) in a really well matched bout. Sakai has suffered back-to-back setbacks, albeit controversial ones, and will be looking to score his second win of the year. Whilst Sakai has been unfortunate this year Lopez had been in a bad run of form, going 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts over the last 14 months.
This coming Saturday is a busy day in Asian boxing circles with a number of major bouts.
The biggest bout for Asian fight fans this weekend comes form Mexico where highly experienced Thai veteran Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-2, 41) challenges “interim” WBO Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (29-1, 26). For the heavy handed Berchelt this will be the first defense of his title, a title he won earlier this year stopping George Jupp, and it could see him adding a genuinely recognisable name to his record. For Chonlatarn it's a third world title fight, and potentially opens the door to a rematch with Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko.
New Dehli, India
In India fans get their most significant bout, and the homecoming of their first boxing star.
That star is former amateur playboy Vijender Singh (6-0, 6) who looks to extend his perfect record and claim his first title as he steps up to face former European Middleweight champion Kerry Hope (23-7, 2) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Although there is potentially region defining fights in India there should also be plenty of attention given to the Philippines, where their will be two shows with some notable bouts.
The best bout in the Philippines this weekend will see unbeaten and highly touted prospect Giemel Magramo (16-0, 13) battled against the under-rated Renz Rosia (12-4, 6), in what is genuine a fantastic match up. The unbeaten man is regarded as one of the absolute best prospects in the Philippines and at 21 years old isn't being rushed with this bout being a well timed step up in class. For Rosia the bout comes following a 1-2 run, but that run features a win over Renan Trongco, a very disputed loss to Makazole Tete and a defeat to the world class Moruti Mthalane. This could genuinely be a cracker.
In a supporting bout on this card fans will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) battle Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. For both of these fighters a win looks possible and would open up doors on the regional scene. Coming in to this Suminguit is on a 6 fight winning streak, though the competition hasn't been great. Bais is 2-6-1 in his last 9, though he has been tested at a far higher level than his foe, and is 15-0-1 in his homeland.
In a genuine stay busy fight fans will see the once beaten Randy Braga (18-1-1, 4) face off with Donriel Marcos (10-26-1, 1). Braga is fringe world level, with his only loss being a controversial one to Macbute Sinyabi last year, and will be likely looking for a big fight before the year is over. This is however only his second bout of 2016 and he'll know that he can't afford to have periods of inactivity if he's to get a world title bout.
A notable bout way down this card is the professional debut of Arvin Magramo (0-0), the younger brother of Geimel Magramo. The youngster is said to be one with real promise, and will be up against the win-less Robert Mendano (0-6) in what looks like a “safe” debut.
On another show in the Philippines fans will get the chance to see some promising prospects in action,
The most notable of those prospects is big punching Minimumweight hopeful Melvin Jerusalem (9-0, 7), who will be up against domestic rival Jonathan Refugio (15-4-4, 3) in a 10 rounder. The talented Jerusalem posted his biggest win in February, beating former world champion Florante Condes, and will be looking to build on that win here.
Another notable prospect in action here is Super Bantamweight hopeful Jeo Santisima (10-2, 9) who goes up against the out of sorts Junior Bajawa (14-8, 7). Coming into this one Bajawa has lost his last 8, with 5 stoppage defeats, and it's hard to see this being much more than a record padding win for Bajawa.
This coming weekend is a pretty big one with notable Asian's fighting in the Philippines and in the US and it's a day where a number of fighters are expected to be given a real test.
The biggest Asian show of the weekend is the next in the ALA line of “Pinoy Pride” cards and it looks to be a genuinely good looking one with a number of top prospects in action, some of which are being given a serious test, their first since turning professional.
The main event doesn't appear to be one of those testing bouts as Super Bantamweight sensation Albert Pagara (25-0, 18) defends his WBO Inter-Continental title against Yesner Talavera (15-3-1, 4). Pagara's team had hoped to secure a high profile opponent for their man but unfortunately ended up with Talavera after negotiations broke down with a former world champion. This should be a straight forward win for Pagara who may well be getting a world title fight later this year.
Another man who isn't taking a major step up on this card is the incredibly promising Mark Magsayo (12-0, 10), who faces Eduardo Montoya (17-4-1, 13) for the WBO Youth Featherweight title. This looks likely to be win #13 for Magsayo though the plan is to then move him into a much bigger bout, against former world title challenger Chris Avalos, in what would be a major step up in class for the 20 year old.
Another notable Filipino prospect on this card is Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (2-0, 2) who is stepping up to the 8 round distance for the first time. The hotly tipped 20 year old will be up against Tony Rodriguez (3-1, 1) in what looks like a straight forward win for the youngster, though we may see Cataraja's stamina being given a test here. If he's as good as advertised he may well be in 10 rounders by the end of the year and could well be future gem of Filipino boxing scene.
One youngster who is stepping up massively on this card is the heavy handed Melvin Jerusalem (8-0, 7) who doesn't so much "step up" as leap up to face former world champion Florante Condes (29-7-1, 23). This is a real gut check for Jerusalem and whilst Condes isn't the fighter he once was he is still a whole different universe to Jerusalem's previous opposition.
Another fighter moving up in a similar manner is Elmo Traya (10-1, 8) who faces former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-11-1, 8). Traya is currently on a 9 fight winning streak however this sees him stepping up to a level that he hasn't even come close to in the past. Jakosalem has seen better days but is still heavy handed and isn't a push over, despite 3 losses in his last 4.
Another really intriguing bout is the debut of 28 year Singaporean amateur stand out Muhamad Ridhwan (0-0) who faced unbeaten local Melchor Roda (3-0, 3). This look like an interesting match up on paper and although Roda hasn't faced a fighter of any note yet he may see this as a chance to get a notable win under his belt. For Ridhwan this is a check of his professional ability straight from the off. A really good looking match up.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines will be taking place in Metro Manila and will feature a number of promising fighters taking part in what appears to be mismatches.
The main event will see the once beaten Randy Braga (17-1-1, 4), who was really unlucky to actually suffer that loss in South Africa, defending the GAB Featherweight title against the experienced but limited Danilo Pena (27-22-4, 11). Pena has been around the block but has gone 1-10-2 in his last 13 bouts and is unlikely to pose a threat to Braga, who is genuine a promising fighter. Although Braga should win we can't see this one ending in a stoppage given that Braga is a proven survivor with just a couple of stoppage losses in his 53 fight career.
The support bout features another once beaten fighter, Rene Patilano (14-1-2, 7) battling against the limited Jopher Marayan (7-8-2, 3) in what looks like a foregone conclusion over 10 rounds. That bout is one of two 10-round bouts with the other being a contest between the feather fisted Jay Loto (10-0-1) and the testing Vincent Bautista (4-3-3, 1), interestingly this could be a solid test for Loto.
Busan, South Korea
In Busan the KBC will be sanctioning an 8 bout card, headlined by a KBC title fight and supported by two bouts featuring international fighters.
The title bout will see defending KBC 140lb champion Woo Shin Kim (6-1-3, 2) battle against Dong Hee Kim (4-1-1, 1)*. This looks like a well matched bout on paper and sees the champion return to fighting his homeland following a draw in Vietnam against Nguyen Ngoc Hai last October.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Dong Hoon Yook (8-0, 4)* battle against well travelled Indonesian Hero Tito (11-9-1, 3),who adds Korea the list of countries where he has fought. Although not a top fighter Tito has mixed in decent company, and actually fought Ik Yang to a majority decision and is 1-1-1 with countryman Roy Mukhlis. Notably Yook is the current KBC Lightweight champion and seems to be viewed as one of their most promising fighters so it's hard to see him losing this one.
The other notable international bout sees the exciting Hyun Woo Yuh (2-0, 2)* battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (14-8-2, 3). The visitor is 2-6 in his last 8 bouts and whilst he has mixed with better fighters than Yuh it is hard to see him over-coming the Korean youngster, who does appear to be genuinely heavy handed.
In the US fans get another chance to see the best of the active Korean fighters, Min Wook Kim (14-1, 11). The once beaten “Snyper” will be facing off against Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (17-8, 10) and it's hard to see this being anything other than another easy win for the Korean, who has needed just 7 rounds to see off his last 3 foes. Hopefully another impressive performance here will see Kim move towards getting a real chance to prove himself against a worthy adversary.
On a card in Australia we'll see a peculiar 5 rounder as the win-less Sarawut Patsawatho (0-2), originally from Thailand, faces James Katz (3-1, 1). It's unlikely that Sarawut will claim his first win here, especially given that this is his first boxing contest in over 2 years, but we suspect he will put up a solid effort Katz, who was beaten last time out.
*Records taken from the KBC, boxrec list Dong Hee Kim as being 1-0-1, Dong Hoon Yook as being 4-0 (3) and Hyun Woo Yuh as being 4-0 (4). Strangly Yuh's 4-0 (4) is probably right with the KBC not recognising two bouts he fought outside of their control.