Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
The most notable bout to involve an Asian fighter this coming Saturday doesn't actually take place in Asia, but instead Canada as Chinese Heavyweight Junlong Zhang (19-0, 18) takes on German foe Erdogan Kadrija (18-5, 12) in Ontario. The Chinese fighter, dubbed the "Dragon King", was long regarded as something of a mystery man, but surfaced in Canada earlier this year, and took his first decision win. The hard hitting Chinese fighter, who won his first 18 official bouts inside the first 2 rounds, will be looking to prove his power here after losing his stoppage streak. As for Kadrija he has been stopped 4 times, with 3 of those stoppages coming in his last 6 bouts. Notably he is a blown up Super Middleweight, who was stopped by Juergen Braehmer way back in 2019 and really shouldn't pose any questions for Zhang.
Consolacion, Cebu, Philippines
Whilst the single most notable bout with an Asian will be in Canada, we do get a really notable card in Cebu where a number of prospects will be looking to move their careers on in step up bouts.
One of those prospects is John Vincent Pangga (6-0, 4), who looks like he could in for a test as he takes on Vergilio Silvano (21-9-1, 12), however the bout really isn't the competitive match up some might expect. Silvano is best known for facing Katsunari Takayama, in an IBF world title fight, where he came up short. His form since that is hit and miss and he has little momentum coming in to this. More notably however is that and isn't a natural Super Flyweight-come-Bantamweight like Pangga, who should be too big and too strong.
A much more competitive looking bout will see the once beaten Berland Robles (5-0, 2) face off with the once beaten Jerven Mama (12-1-1, 7), in what is an excellent match up. Robles is a 22 year old who has stepped up his level of fights in one way or another every time since his debut, and recently showed he could do 10 rounds. He might not be a world beater in the making, but there is no denying that his team are moving him well and putting trust in him to continue to develop. Mama on the other hand was once tipped for big things, but a KO loss last year to Mark Vicelles has killed the momentum he was building, and he'll be desperate to get things back on track here.
Another prospect taking a genuine step up is the unbeaten 21 year old "Wild Fury" Bryan James Wild (9-0, 6), who battles the experienced and battled hardened Carlo Demecillo (15-6-1, 8). Wild is quickly capturing the attention with string of solid wins for someone at this point in his career, and whilst he is still very much a developing fighter this is a positive step up for him from his team. Demecillo is no world beater, or even a regional contender, but he has proven to be a tough guy and he doesn't roll over for anyone, so he should have the tools to ask Wild some real questions and force the youngster to prove what he can do, and whether he has the tools to move onto regional level bouts.
Other prospects on this card include the once beaten April Jay Abne (10-1, 5), who takes on Ramel Antaran (5-18-2); Ian Abne (6-0-1, 4), who faces Charlie Malupangue (9-5-4, 6) in a rematch of their technical draw from August, and Ramil Macado (3-0, 2) who takes a huge step up to face off with Renoel Pael (23-12-1, 12). This really is a show of Pinoy prospects.
Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
On a second Filipino card former world title challenger Michael Dasmarinas (31-3-2, 21) looks to get his career back on track as he faces Ryan Rey Ponteras (23-16-3, 12) for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Dasmarinas, who is best known for losing in 3 rounds to Naoya Inoue in 2021, has failed to get going since that loss with a technical draw against Ernesto Saulong and a win over domestic journeyman Danny Tampipi. He knows another set back here really would be a nightmare for his career, and for any hope he might have of getting a second world title fight down the line. As for Ponteras, he has long been one of the best Filipino journeymen out there, with a really gritty toughness and the 32 year old might not have a great record, but he is a potential banana skin here who has been robbed of wins in numerous bouts during his career. This might look like a mismatch, but Ponteras really should be regarded as a very, very live underdog.
New Delhi, India
We also get a show in India, but sadly this feels like a rather underwhelming card.
That main bout here will see Satnam Singh (10-2, 4) look to bounce back from a loss to Billel Dib as he takes on Varun Phartyal (1-2), in what is the second bout between the two men. These two fought in October 2021, with Singh taking a 4 round majority win over the then debuting Phartyal, and suspect that over 8 rounds this should be a clearer win for Singh than their first bout was.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian fight fans, but there is a nice mix of action, including title fights, in both Japan and the Philippines, as well as prospects in action in what should be a better day of action than it looks on paper.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For us the most interesting action comes from Tokyo, where will be getting the latest Dynamic Glove show. The card features an Oriental title fight, a rematch of an interest Japanese Middlewieght bout and a the next step up for a promising prospect.
The title bout will see OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) make his second defense of the OPBF belt as he takes on "reimported" boxer Shoki Sakai (26-12-2, 14), who first made his name fighting in the West. The talented Toyoshima has been on a tear in recent bouts, and scored notable wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu already this year, a win over the teak tough Sakai would put him in the running for the Japanese domestic fighter of the year. Sakai on the other hand was last seen losing a close, and hotly contested, bout to Keita Obara for the Japanese title, and he'll know that a loss here might be his final shot to win a notable title, especially his style which does seem him taking a lot of punishment. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Toyoshima defends OPBF title against tough guy Sakai!
In an interesting Japanese Middleweight bout, yes we do actually get some of those, we'll see All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuhiro Nakata (7-0, 4) look to repeat his September win over once touted amateur Ran Tomomatsu (1-2). In their first bout Nakata won 58-56 on all 3 cards, but Tomomatsu was certainly not shown up there and will be determined to get revenge here, and get his career back on track after back to back losses.
A third bout of note on this card will see promising novice Yudai Murakami (1-0), who was a very solid Japanese amateur, look to score his second win in the professional ranks, as he takes on Yudai Yakabu (3-2, 3). Murakami looked solid in his debut, back in January, but this is a credible step up and the hard hitting Yakabu will be in the ring to stop, or be stopped. Interestingly Yakabu has never seen round 4 of a fight, and has only gone beyond a single round twice, so we do not expect this one to go long.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the Japanese card there's also an interesting one in the Philippines featuring former world title challengers and promising unbeaten fighters.
The best bout on the card sees the once touted Mark Anthony Geraldo (38-9-3, 19), who really is a skilled fighter but has been inconsistent at times, take on exciting youngster Carl Jammes Martin (17-0, 15) for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo won the title in 2019 and has defended it once since winning it, but has been inactive and this will be his first bout in over 2 years. Although very skilled we do wonder problems inactivity will cause for him here. As for Martin he is one of the rising stars of Filipino boxing, with an exciting, hard hitting style. Martin has been stepping up his level of competition in recent bouts, and will feel confident of making this step up as well as he looks to prove he's ready for bigger and better bouts. This should be a very interesting test for the unbeaten youngster.
In a battle of unbeaten fighters former amateur standout Charly Suarez (8-0, 6) will be up against Delmar Pellio (9-0, 4). Suarez was someone who had the skills to go a long, long way in the sport. Now aged 33 it seems he will never come close to reaching his potential, and instead it seems almost like he's going to be a fighter who retires as tale of what could have been, had he turned professional younger and had the Pandemic not hit. Aged 21 Pellio is promising youngster, but sadly he comes into this bout having been out of the ring for almost 2 years and he is stepping up massively. It's hard to see past a Suarez win here, but he needs to kick on in 2022 if he's ever going to come close to landing a major international bout.
A third bout of note on this card will see two former world title challengers facing off, as recent Naoya Inoue victim Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20) takes on Ernesto Saulong (22-7-2, 9), who challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in 2018. On paper this looks a pretty interesting bout, but Saulong has struggled for wins recently and is 1-5-1 in his last 7. Despite that he is tough and he will be in the ring looking to upset Dasmarinas, who hasn't fought since losing to the Monster back in June. The loser of this is unlikely to find themselves anywhere close to a major international fight, but the winner could end up landing a fight of note next year.
CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Away from Asia we'll see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (8-0, 3) take on limited veteran Juan Carlos Raygosa (17-18-3, 6). Singh is a solid boxer, but the 29 year old is going to have to look to make up for lost time next year, as he only fought once in 2020 and this will be his first bout of 2021. Thankfully he will get some rounds here because Raygosa, for all his faults, is a tough and rugged guy capable of taking good fighters rounds. This is not the "gimmie" it looks, but it's hard to see past a Bhatti win.
This coming Saturday isn't a big day for Asian action, but the little bit we do get is set to be something a little bit special as the US plays host to a Japan Vs Philippines world title bout, as we see the face of Japanese boxing show what he can do in front of a crowd in Las Vegas. We also get one of the most exciting prospects in world boxing take a massive step up in class as he begins to knock on the door of a world title fight.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The headline of the day, at least for us, will see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) defending his WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20). The bout will be Inoue's first since beating Jason Moloney last August, and his second as a Top Rank fighter. Unlike that Moloney bout however this will be the first time he has fought in front of fans in Las Vegas, and the atmosphere is expected to be solid for the popular Japanese puncher. As for Dasmarinas, he is thought to be nothing more than a lamb to the slaughter, and a necessary hurdle for Inoue before unifications bouts late in the year and in 2022. The challenger has been out of the ring since October 2019, and is really lacking in terms of world class wins, though as we all know the IBF do order some rather poor mandatory defenses for their champions. On the other hand Dasmarinas has nothing to lose here, there is no real pressure on him, and the focus is purely on Inoue. With that in mind we might see a relaxed Dasmarinas and he could, given he's a tall southpaw, frustrate Inoue at times. Though a win for the challenger would be one of the biggest upsets in recent years. Our full in depth preview of this bout can be read here The Monster faces IBF mandatory Dasmarinas!
Don Haskins Center, in El Paso, Texas, USA
As well as the world title fight in Las Vegas there will also be some notable action in Texas, as hard hitting Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) faces his most notable opponent to date, veteran Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14). It's fair to say that 2021 has been a frustrating year for Melikuziev, who had seen a fight with Sergey Kovalev fall through and was then banned by AIBA for historic drug issues, but that will likely only fire him up here. Rosado, at his best, is a very good gate keeper, and he was unlucky not to get the win against Danny Jacobs recently, and he won't be wanting to roll over against the "Bek Bully". Melikuziev on the other hand will know that a stoppage win here will put him right on the verge of a world title fight.
We expect to see Rosado trying to show the "novice" some veteran tricks, but in the end Melikuziev.s power, strength, body punching, and amateur fundamentals should be enough to see him take home the W and get in the position to call out world champions.
This coming Monday we'll be getting action in the Philippines thanks to Hardstone Boxing Promotions. It's not a huge show, but it's one with a very notable fighter involved, as they look to tick over and move towards a world title fight later in the year.
La Union, Philippines
The main event on this card will see IBF #1 ranked Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1 20), who will be the mandatory for the winner of April's bout between Naoya Inoue and John Riel Casimero, taking on Thailand's Chaiwat Buatkrathok (33-3, 21), aka Kongfah Nakornluang. The talented Dasmarinas has everything to lose here and little to gain, but does need to be kept active and this is only his third bout since his controversial draw with Manyo Plange in September 2018. On paper the Thai looks like a dangerous risk, but in reality Chaiwat is very limited, has one of the most padded record in the sport and has lost 2 of his last 3. What looks like a test on paper should be a super quick win for the highly ranked Dasmarinas.
The only other bout worth of some attention on this card will see the heavy handed Ryan Torres (9-2-1, 8) taking on Kyota Otsuka (6-6-2, 4). The 24 year old Torres, dubbed "Barracuda", has been out of the ring for almost a year and will be hoping to make up for lost time, with only a single fight in 2 years. Filipino based Japanese fighter Otsuka showed some early promise but has gone 1-6-2 in his last 9, and has lost 4 in a row. On paper this is intriguing, more than anything else, with us curious as to how Torres looks after his inactivity, and whether or not Otsuka can roll back the clock and claim another win.
From where we're sat the main show this coming Saturday is in Tokyo, where we get 4 Japanese title eliminators on what is a mouth watering card. The winners will all get Japanese title shots at the 2020 Champion Carnival meaning these 4 bouts are very significant.
The lowest weight covered by these eliminators is Bantamweight, where the once touted Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) takes on the often under-rated Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6), in what could turn out to be a masterful lesson of boxing by Sawada or an all out brawl. This really does depend on just how desperate the two men get, and whether Tanaka's power will be too much for Sawada to handle with his skills. This could be a very, very good fight. A full preview of this bout can be found here Sawada and Tanaka look to book a place at the Champion Carnival
At Featherweight we'll see the very highly regarded Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) take on former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11). We suspect that Murata will have the speed, size and skills to deal with Ohashi, but the experienced man can genuinely bang and his KO earlier this year over Shun Wakabayashi showed just how heavy his hands are. This should be a win for Murata, but he really cannot get sloppy given the lights out power of his opponent. A full preview of this bout can be read here Maruta and Ohashi clash in Japanese eliminator
On paper we could end up with a bit of a boxing classic as Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) meet in Japanese Lightweight title eliminator. Saito is a fantastic offensive boxer, but has real issues taking a shot, and that does actually make his fights even more fun to watch, and he is quite honest a bit of a glass cannon. Tomioka on the other hand is a very light punching boxer-mover and he managed to give Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title fight. We expect skills to be on here. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saito and Tomioka clash in Lightweight eliminator!
The heaviest weight covered on this show is the Welterweight division, where former world title challenger Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) will take on Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6). On paper this doesn't look a great bout, with Obara having the edges in experience, power, and level of competition. It is worth noting however that Tarumi has momentum coming in to this, thanks to wins over Noriaki Sato and Shusaku Fujinaka during a 7 fight winning run. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Obara takes on little known Tarumi in Japanese eliminator
As well as the fantastic action in Japan we're actually being treat to a huge amount of fights spread across Asia, including a card from Kazakhstan.
The headline bout of this show will see the unbeaten Kanat Islam (26-0, 21) take on recent world title challenger Walter Kautondokwa (18-1,17), in what looks likely to be a very, very explosive bout. The unbeaten Kazakh will be fighting for the second time since returning from an injury that kept him out of the ring for close to 2 years. We say fighting for the but it's hard to call his 14 second demolition of Julio De Jesus a fight, more an assault. The 34 year old Kautondokwa, from Namibia, has only been beaten once and that in a WBO Middleweight world title fight against Demetrius Andrade, so he is tough, but it's a big ask for him to get a result in Kazakhstan.
Novice Kazakh prospect Nursultan Amanzholov (1-0) will look to build on his first professional win as he takes on 38 year old Polish foe Michal Banbula (13-31-4). At his very best Banbula was a criminally under-rated fighter who scored a win over Tony Oakey and a draw with Tony Jeffries. Sadly though Banbula has lost 5 of his last 6 and should pose little threat to someone like Amanzholov, who is a fully blown Heavyweight.
The pick of the bouts outside of Japan looks to be an excellent contest in China where we see two older fighters in action to keep their careers alive.
The bout in questions sees the once beaten local Wenfeng Ge (11-1, 6) take on former world champion Kompayak Porpramook (60-7, 41) for the WBO Global Flyweight title. The tough Ge is looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Giemel Magramo earlier in the year, and that was a painful beating so we'll see what effect it has on his psyche and will to win. As for the Thai he has lost 2 of his last 3, but the former WBC Light Flyweight champion is still a nightmare for fighters willing to have a war with hi, and he should be viewed as a legitimate live under-dog here.
The chief support bout is a contest for the WBC Asian Boxing Silver Super Bantamweight title China's Chunlei Lin (9-3, 2) will battle against Indonesian Galih Susanto (17-9-1, 4). The 25 year old local, dubbed the "Black Dragon", has not proven a great deal yet and has lost to his 2 most notable opponents thus far, including a loss at home to Japan's Shun Wakabayashi. On the other hand Susanto is no world beater but is a bit better than his record suggests and may well expose Lin a little bit, before losing, likely on the cards.
A second Chinese card will see the unbeaten Xiang Li (5-0, 4) take on Japan's Takuya Ota (8-2-1, 6). The technically limited but hard hitting Li scored a solid win in January, or Arvin Young, and scored another in August over Do Jin Lee. So it's good to see him being active after a very slow start to his professional career, sadly though his competition doesn't appear to be improving through the year. Ota is nothing of a step up from the last couple of bouts for Li, but is still a capable fighter and he reached the Rookie of the Year final last year. We suspect this will be another win for Li, but another one where his flaws are made evident by the successes of his opponent.
A third show in China will be headlined by Mongolian Tsendbaatar Erdenebat (1-0), though sadly his opponent hasn't yet been announced for a bout in Shenzhen. Whilst no opponent is known at the time of writing for the Mongolian this is set to be a 10 rounder, which is very ambitious for the 2016 Olympian.
Yet another Chinese card will take place, with this one being headlined by unbeaten local Zhong Liu (14-0, 5) taking on Filipino John Kenan Villaflor (8-5-4, 2) in what looks like an interesting 8 rounder. The unbeaten local comes into this on the back of a big win over Jess Rhey Waminal and Villaflor will be in the ring looking to get revenge for his countryman.
A second bout of interest will see Chinese youngster Wuzhati Nuerlang (12-3, 10) look score his second win of 2019 as he takes on veteran Said Mbelwa (47-29-5, 31). This could be a good chance for the 23 year old Chinese fighter to shine against a very shop worn foe who has got over 80 career bouts and 12 career stoppage losses.
La Union, Philippines
On a lesser level we have a Filipino show in La Union, this show certainly doesn't have much in terms of names, but does have a couple of bouts that could end up being much better than they look on paper.
The heavy hitting 25 year old Arnel Baconaje (11-3, 9) will be up against fellow Filipino Jestoni Autida (12-11, 6). On paper this looks like a mismatch, especially given that Baconaje has gone 5-1 in his last 6, however Autida is a tough and capable fighter who has give Ryoichi Tamua, Ernesto Saulong and Jason Canoy very tough bouts in recent years. Baconaje is the favourite, but Autida a clear live under-dog.
Another potentially interesting match up will see Jules Victoriano (9-2, 6) take on Virgil Puton (17-13-2, 8), though this could also be a stinker. The 22 year old Victoriano was on a 9 fight winning before losing in Japan to Yoshimitsu Kimura in June, and we suspect he'll be confident of getting back to winning ways here. The 30 year old Puton was once a very, very capable opponent, but he is now 0-5-2 in his last 7 and has been stopped in 4 of those 7 bouts, and seems very much like he's a "shot" fighter. If Puton has anything left in the tank he could make this competitive, but the worry is that he's only a shell of the fighter he once was.
One other bout on this card will see IBF Bantamweight mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (29-2-1, 19) fight in a stay busy bout against Artid Bamrungauea (25-27, 23). The talented Filipino is the mandatory for the winner of the upcoming WBSS winner Bantamweight finish and this really is just a tick over against a heavy handed but very limited Thai foe. It's worth noting that in recent weeks Dasmarinas has been sparring with Takuma Inoue, and although this is only a low key fight he'll likely be wanting to impress.
In Bangkok fans are set for some low quality action.
In the most notable bout the UK's 48 year old Denise Castle (2-2, 2) will go up against Thailand's Sutthinee Bamrungpao (4-6) in a bout for the vacant WIBA Minmumweight title. The Thai fighter is the younger of the two but has suffered 6 stoppage losses in her 10 bout career and has never beaten a fighter with a winning record. Castle is well beyond her best years, which were spent outside of boxing, but we wouldn't be surprised if she did enough to take the win here. It's worth noting that both of Castles' losses have come in world title bouts, with the first coming to Momo Koseki, but she's done very little to derseve this fight with her last win being more than 5 years ago.
Also on this card we'll see rather odd WBC interim Asian Boxing Council silver Featherweight title bout between the limited Thai based Filipino Joel Kwong (4-9, 4) and the limited Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3), from Indonesia. We assumed the idea of the Silver titles was to get rid of the need for an interim belt, but an interim silver regional title fight between two guys with losing records is very, very hard to defend.
Staying in Asia we also have a small card in Singapore.
One of the main bouts will see unbeaten Malaysian fighter Adli Hafidz (7-0, 3) take on 40 year old Indonesian fighter Ramadhan Weriuw (18-11-1, 16) in a bout for the WBA Asia South Super Middleweight title. This really should be a very straight forward win for Hafidz, who is no world title challenger in the making but still a very capable fighter. It's worth noting that in 2016 Weriuw fought as a Welterweight and has no reason to be fighting as an out of shape, old Cruiserweight.
Local favourite Muhamad Ridhwan (13-2, 9) will also be on this show as he takes on Thai visitor Taweechai Juntarasuk (10-13, 6), who is 0-8 in fights outside of Thailand. This looks a mismatch on paper, and we suspect it will also be a mismatch in the ring, with Ridhwan looking to score a third straight win since back to back losses.
In the US we get a very even looking match up as 28 year old American Andy Vences (22-1-1, 12) takes on 25 year old Filipino Mark Bernaldez (19-2, 13). Vences began his career 20-0 but has struggled in recent bouts, going 2-1-1 in his last 4, and now needs to get his career back on track following his first professional loss, back in June to Albert Bell. Bernaldez on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 6, but is unbeaten the US, where his last 2 bouts have been held and does have a little big of momentum. We suspect the naturally bigger Vences will take the win, but this it the perfect time for Bernaldez to face him.
This coming Saturday is a crazy day in Asian boxing, with the welcome return of one series of shows from Thailand as well as notable and large shows featuring Asian fighters in the Philippines and Russia as well as other action!
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most interesting card of the day is an MP Promoted card from Metro Manila, featuring a couple of world title eliminators, along with some other interesting supporting bouts.
One of the world title eliminators comes at Bantamweight, where Michael Dasmarinas (28-2-1, 19) and Kenny Demecillo (14-4-2, 8) battle to become the IBF mandatory challenger at 118lbs. Of the two men Dasmarinas is the more experienced and more proven man, but Demecillo has proven to be capable of upsets in the past and will know that Dasmarinas looked less than his best last time out, being gifted a draw with Manyo Plange. A very interesting bout, with real significance in the packed Bantamweight division. Our full in depth preview of this contest can be read here - Demecillo and Dasmarinas clash in eliminator!
Another world title eliminator on this card is an IBF Minimumweight eliminator, as Samuel Salva (16-0, 10) and Rene Mark Cuarto (16-1-1, 9) battle for the right to become the mandatory challenger. This is, on paper, more interesting than the Bantamweight bout due to how similar the records of the two men are, but will likely get over-looked in the west due to the weight class. Both will be aware that they could book a bout with Deejay Kriel with a win here, and that will drive both on in what could be a real classic. An indepth preview of this bout can be read here Salva and Cuarto battle in eliminator
In supporting bouts we'll see Singaporean fighter Muhamad Ridhwan (11-1, 8) take on Landy Cris Leon (11-18-5, 5), in what should be a good confidence building bout for Ridhwan after a loss to Paulus Ambunda last September.
Other supporting bouts will include Chinese prospect Lei Wang (2-0, 1) battling Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-7, 5), in a tough test for the unbeaten novice, a brilliant all-Filipino match up between Ronnie Baldonado (13-1-1, 9) and Elias Joaquino (12-3-2, 6) and a potentially very fun contest between Orlie Silvestre (12-5-1, 8) and Joel Taduran (8-10-2, 2).
As well as the Filipino show there's also a stacked RCC Promotions show in Russia.
One of the main bouts here will see Tajik born Russian Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (13-0, 10) battle against South African Rofhiwa Maemu (18-7-2, 12), in what will be Rakhimov's third defense of the IBO Super Featherweight title. On paper this doesn't look great, but a lot of that is due to Maemu's 7 losses. Whilst that is notable we do need to put it into context and explain that 5 of those came in his first 11 bouts, and he has since gone 14-2. It should however be noted that Rakhimov is in amazing form and is expected to win and go on to much bigger and better things in the near future.
Russian based Kyrgyzstan born fighter Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (13-0, 6) will be expecting his next win as he takes on Thai veteran Mike Tawatchai (45-12-2, 28), who will be fighting for the 61st time as a professional. At his best Tawatchai could be a good test for Uulu, but at the age of 33 and more than 3 years removed from a win of note it's hard to see Tawatchai being much of a threat for the unbeaten hopeful.
Other Asian fighters involved on this card include Uzbek born prospect Mukhammad Shekhov (3-0, 2), Kyrgyz fighter Erzhan Turgumbekov (5-0, 1), Filipino puncher Jon Jon Estrada (11-5-1, 10) and highly touted Uzbek fighters Makhmud Gaipov (2-0, 1) and Elnur Abduraimov (3-0, 3).
Bang Phun, Thailand
We return to the Workpoint Studio for the first WP Boxing show of 2019 and although the details aren't totally clear we do know that the show will feature hotly tipped Apichet Petchmanee (2-0, 2), who will be taking on Shota Suito (11-9-1, 1) for a WBC regional silver title. Apichet is one of the best talented in Thailand, and finers crossed he will be kept busy in 2019, because at the age of 2019 he sadly doesn't have much time to waste. Unfortunately this bout does look to be a step backwards for the Thai, but picking up some WBC title could open doors for him in the future.
We have also been informed that Thai based Dutch fighter Nick Frese (8-0, 6) is expected to be on this card.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
We're also expecting a card to take place in Malaysia, which again lacks in terms of details. The one bout that is listed for this show is a WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Middleweight title bout, with unbeaten local Adli Hafidz (5-0, 2) taking on Indonesian foe Bambang Rusiadi (9-8, 4), who is 0-5 outside of Malaysia.
Over in the US we get an excellent match up as Filipino journeyman Ricky Sismundo (35-12-3, 17) hits the road again and takes on unbeaten Russian puncher Maxim Dadashev (12-0, 10). On paper this looks like a mismatch but the reality is that Sismundo is among the very best journeymen on the planet and the 31 year old has picked up upset wins against the likes of Yoshitaka Kato, Ghislain Maduma, Akihiro Kondo and Shuhei Tsuchiya. Dadashev is a great talent, but this should be a very good test for the Russian puncher.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
This Friday is set to be a relatively quiet one in the realms of Asian boxing, however there will be a relatively notable card in Singapore, with several fighters of interest being involved, several of whom meet in some really good match ups that deserve a lot more attention than they arelikely to get, sadly.
One of the most notable contest on this show will see local hopeful Muhamad Ridhwan (9-0, 7) battle under-rated Filipino Jeson Umbal (16-5, 11) for the vacant IBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title. The 30 year old local, known as “The Chosen Wan”, has impressed in recent fights,taking wins against the likes of Waldo Sabu, Fadhili Majiha and Nataneal Sebastian but this is a very big step up in class. Although Umbal's record might not look too impressive he is much better than the numbers suggest and is currently riding an 8 fight winning streak, including a win over Mark Anthony Geraldo. This really could be a very good match up, and promises a lot.
Another bout that promises a lot will see Filipino Michael Dasmarinas (27-2, 18) take on Frenchman Karim Guerfi (26-3-0-1, 8) for the lightly regarded International Boxing Organization World Bantamweight title. The 25 year old Dasmarinas is one of the many Filipino fighters who has been rising through the ranks without getting much attention from fans, but those in the sport are well away of his talent and he has been a sparring partner for the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka over the last few years. The Filipino is currently riding a 9 fight winning streak and is ranked by the WBC and WBO at Bantamweight. Guerfi on the other hand is enjoying his second reign as the European Bantamweight champion and is currently enjoying a 6 fight winning run, which includes notable wins over Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Ryan Farag and Stephane Jamoye. The recent wins for Guerfi have put him into the WBC and IBF world rankings, and this essentially be a world title eliminator between these two talented, and under-rated fighters,
A third title bout will see Malaysian Muhammad Meeraj (6-2-1, 3) complete a trilogy with Chase Haley (5-2-1, 2) for the currently vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Heavyweight title. These two men fought back in May 2017 with Haley taking majority decision over Meeraj, in a bout that saw both men being dropped, a rematch in October resulted in a split decision draw and has left us with a third bout between the two men in just 11 months. Given the competitive nature of their first two bouts we won't complain much about this one, but do wonder if it's a case of the two fighting until Meeraj gets a win over his nemesis.
In a bout between unbeaten men, fans will see hard hitting Malaysian Keng Fai Hui (4-0, 4) take on Filipino born Singaporean Alexandrew David (4-0, 2) in what could be a very explosive fight. Hui has looked like a genuine puncher so far, needing just 9 rounds to defeat his first 4 opponents whilst David has notched a couple of opening round wins of his own. From the 8 combined wins of these fighters 4 have come in the first round, and 6 have come in the first 4.
One final bout of note will see John Hutchinson (12-2-3, 4) take on Indonesian veteran Larry Siwu (27-10, 23). Although relatively unknown Hutchinson, originally from Ireland, has been a bit of a boxing traveller fighting in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, the USA, Thailand, Australia and now Singapore. Siwu on the other hand has been fighting on the Asian scene through his career and has gone on to face some notable names in recent years, losing to the likes of Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Keita Obara and Sirimongkol Singwancha. This shouldn't be regarded in the same level of significance as the top bouts, but should still be a genuinely interesting fight, and one where Siwu has the edge in experience, but will be the naturally smaller man.
At the Korakuen we get a genuinely important card, as Japanese and Chinese fighters face off in the second Japan Vs China Dangan card.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (17-2, 6) take on unbeaten Chinese visitor Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (12-0-1, 5), in a really good looking bout. For Naito it's his second as a 140lb'der, and his 6th since losing the Japanese Super Featherweight title to Kenichi Ogawa. Although Naito's has been troubled recently he will feel confident of picking up a win over the Chinese fighter. For Nasiyiwula the bout will be his first outside of China and his second successive bout against a Chinese foe, having won adecision back in May against Taisho Ozawa. A win for the visitor will open up doors for more significant fights and could well see him in the mix for an OPBF title sooner rather than later.
A second good looking bout on here will see the once beaten Takeshi Kaneko (5-1-1) look to bounce back from a June loss as he takes on Wulan Tuolehazi (5-3, 1). The Chinese visitor has a mixed record, but has won his last 3, including a win over former world title challenger Nouldi Manakane. Although this bout will be expected to go the contacted 8 rounds it should still be a lot of fun and a very exciting contest.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
We get another notable card in the Philippines, with two bouts of note.
The biggest in terms of names will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (26-4-1, 13) battle against well regarded journeyman Crison Omayao (22-14-4, 7), who has share the ring with the likes of Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka. Since losing the WBO Minimumweight title to Francisco Rodriguez Jr back in 2014 life has been hard in the ring for Sabillo, who has gone 3-3 and cannot really afford any more set backs. Whilst Omayao has also had mixed results recently he certainly has time on his side, and the 24 year old really isn't at the end of the line, despite the fact he is racking up losses now a days.
The other bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten Jayr Raquinel (7-0-1, 5) take on Richard Rosales (12-4-2, 7) for the OPBF interim Flyweight title, despite the fact the “regular” title was defended just a week ago. The bout should be a good one, given the men involved and their desire for a win, but one does wonder what the OPBF are playing at with the logic that this was going to be an interim title fight, so soon after the last defense of the actual title.
The deepest of the Asian shows is from Singapore, where Ringstar Management Pte Ltd will be hosting a notable show with a host of title bouts, and notable names,
In one of the supporting bouts on this card we'll see talented Filipino hopeful Michael Dasmarinas (26-2, 17) take on Thai journeyman Phupha Por Nobnom (11-10-1, 10). This should be a total mismatch in favour of the criminally under-rated Filipino, who has won his last 8 and looks ready to be stepped up massively after this contest.
A slightly more competitive looking supporting bout will see Thailand's Decha Kokietgym (34-11-3, 18) take on Australian veteran Chad Bennett (36-4-3, 27). The 32 year old Thai hasn't fought since June 2013, and is certainly not the fighter her once was, though Bennett is no spring chicken and had his 44th birthday a few months ago. It's also worth noting that Bennett himself has been out of the ring for over 2 years. This bout may not excite fans, but there is some intrigue on paper.
A much more relevant bout will see Malaysian hopeful Keng Fai Hui (3-0, 3) compete in his first title bout, as he battles Petch Fonchang Chonburi (7-3, 2) for the IBO Oceania Welterweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch but it's a step up for the unbeaten 22 year old, who has been in with really limited opposition for. The Thai is nothing special, but should prove a better opponent that Hui's previous 3.
In a competitive looking bout we'll see Muhammad Meeraj (6-2, 3) battle against Chase Haley (5-1, 2), in a second contest between the two men. These two fought back in May, with Haley winning a majority decision in a bout that saw both men being dropping, and it's clear that Meeraj will be out for revenge whilst Haley will be chasing a second win over the Malaysian hopeful. On the line in this bout will be the International Boxing Organization Oceania Light Heavyweight Title, which Haley won last time out.
The biggest name on the card will be 2-weight former world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-3, 57), who continues his long career as he takes on Australian fighter Tommy Browne (34-6-2, 13). The 40 year old Thai has lost just once in his last 53 and will be hoping to edge towards 100 wins here, as he takes on a 34 year old Australian, who is 8-0-1 in his last 9. The bout will see the two fighters trading blows for the International Boxing Organization Asia Pacific Super Welterweight Title and there is a good chance the winner will try and move on towards a more notable title bout in 2018.
The main event of the show will see Singapore's very own Muhamad Ridhwan (8-0, 7) face off with Namibia's Nataneal Sebastian (9-0, 5) in a battle of unbeaten's. The two men will be trading blows for the International Boxing Organization International Super Featherweight Title and will be looking to extend their unbeaten records. Ridhwan struggled on his debut but has stopped his last 7, taking small but progressive steps up whilst Sebastian will be fighting in a notable step up, and his first bout outside of Namibia.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Argentina fight fan will be able to see unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (4-0, 4) take on Argentinian based Uruguayan fighter Carlos Andres Chaparro (7-15-1, 3). The heavy handed Kazakh has needed just 11 rounds for his first 4 wins and will be looking to keep his stoppage run alive here, but may find that tricky against a durable but limited foe.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The only show this coming Thursday is a low key one from Metro Manila. Although low key it does have a couple of fights of some note.
The biggest will see the highly talented Michael Dasmarinas (25-2, 16) take on shop worn foe Mateo Handig (13-14, 7). The under-rated Dasmarinas has won his last 7, following a controversial loss in South Africa to Lwandile Sityatha, and he does look like another of the rising Filipino who could go on to world honours down the line, having proven his skills both in bouts and as a high level sparring partner for top Japanese fighters. Handig was once close to an IBF Minimumweight world title fight, after a split decision win over Katsunari Takayama, but has since lost 9 in a row as his career has tumbled into irrelevancy and it'd be a massive upset for him to beat Dasmarinas in this one.
In another notable bout we'll see 23 year old prospect Lorence Rosas (7-1-2, 2) take on the limited Danny Tampipi (7-7-2, 4), in what will be a second meeting between the two men. These two fought last September, with Rosas taking a 6 round shut out over his foe, and we'd expect something similar here for the youngster, though the bout will be fought over a longer distance.