MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Top Rank are the first major US promoter putting on shows following the recent global situation and this coming Tuesday we'll see them put on the first bout, world wide, to feature a Filipino since lockdowns began. The bout in question will see the once beaten Mike Plania (23-1, 12) take on world ranked American Joshua Greer Jr (22-1-1, 12) in a really good looking match up.
Plania, who was essentially stranded in the US, has been fighting Stateside for a while and 4 of his last 5 bouts have been in the US. Although not well known internationally he is a talented fighter and asked real questions of Juan Carlos Payano back in 2018, dropping Payano before losing a competitive decision. Since that loss he has gone 8-0 (6) and 4-0 (2) in the US. Greer on the other hand is a highly touted American who has been creating a buzz for himself in recent years and has become well known for his gimmick of carrying a pillow into the ring with him. Although touted, and very highly ranked by the world title bodies, Greer has struggled in his last 2 bouts and was dropped by the last Filipino he faced, Giovanni Escaner.
This bout is at 120lbs and should make for a very, very interesting clash.
This coming Saturday is a genuinely crazy day of action, with a host
London, United Kingdom
The biggest bout for Asian boxing, on a truly hectic day, comes from the Copper Box in London and will see rising local star Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12) take on Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13), in what is likely to be a bit of a mismatch. Dubois is considered by many as one of the future stars of the Middleweight division and is likely going to be took quick, too strong and too powerful for Kyotaro. The Japanese fighter managed to have notable success on the domestic and regional title scene but this is a huge step up in class.
Staying in the Western world Miami plays host to Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (22-1, 12), who takes on Giovanni Gutierrez (9-0, 6) in a bout for the IBF North American Super Bantamweight title. Although not very well known Plania is a real talent and there is genuine potential for him to make a mark in the coming years. On paper Gutierrez has the better wins, but the Nicaraguan hasn't done anything to prove he's better than Plania, making this very much a 50-50 contest in our eyes, and one of the more under-rated bout of the day.
New South Wales, Australia
Staying on the theme of international action it's worth noting that two Asian fighters will be in action "down under".
One of those is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (12-0, 8), who risks his unbeaten record against former world champion Billy Dib (45-6-0-2, 26). This will be Dib's first bout since being stopped in July by Amir Khan, when he moved up to Welterweight on short notice. Although once a world champion Dib has looked a shadow of himself recently and it's hard to see what the 34 year old really has left in the tank. The 27 year old Thao is stepping up massively, and is certainly under pressure as he'll knows a win here would be the biggest win ever by a Vietnamese boxer. The big question is whether Tran has got Dib at the right time or not? If he has this will be a huge win for Tran, and Vietnam.
The other Asian on this card is Indonesian Rivo Kundimang (9-0-2, 5), who looks to make a swift return to the ring following his technical draw with Kunta Lee from early November. The 22 year old Southpaw will be up against fellow unbeaten Daniel Lewis (5-0, 3) in what looks a really interesting match up. It's hard to read much into this, but we do love seeing unbeaten fighters taking risks and that's what they are doing here.
One of the final big cards of the pre-Christmas period is in Russia, where we'll see a number of really interesting match ups, including several bouts with Asian fighters.
The most interesting of the bouts with Asian fighters will see the unbeaten Aidos Yerbossynuly (12-0, 8), from Kazakhstan, take on Ghanaian veteran Obodai Sai (35-3, 26). The talented Yerbossynuly will be seeking his third win of the year here, and is looking to build on a solid win over Rocky Jerkic last time out. As for Sai, this will be his first bout of the year and it's hard to know what the 32 year old has left in the tank.
Lower down the card we'll see the debut of Uzbek Odiljon Aslonov (0-0) and the return to the pros of former amateur standout Rustam Tulaganov (1-0), who hasn't fought as a pro since 2017. At the time of writing it's unclear who either man will be facing off against, though men will likely be matched softly.
A second Russian card will take place in Kanevskaya and will feature unbeaten Russian born Azeri Roman Zakirov (6-0, 4), who is looking for his 5th win of the year. The unbeaten 23 year old is up against South African foe Gift Bholo (8-9, 4), in what should be an easy win for Zakirov.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most notable of three scheduled Filipino shows comes from Metro Manila, where we see a number of notable names in action.
The main event will see Al Toyogon (10-5-1, 6) look to bounce back from successive losses to Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares as he takes on Carlo Magali (24-13-3, 13), in a bout for the GAB Super Featherweight title. Although Toyogon is on a bad run he has shown that he's tough, he comes to fight and really won't be discouraged easily. Magali is no world beater but tends to be a rugged and tough guy who comes to fight. With that in mind this could be a very good 12 round battle.
On the supporting card we'll see 2-time world title challenger Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21) take on Renz Rosia (15-9-1, 8). The heavy handed Palicte will be looking to bounce back from his TKO loss to Kazuto Ioka back in June and will be favoured, though Rosia can play the role of spoiler when he's on form, so Palicte really shouldn't over-look him.
This card will also feature one of our favourite Filipino prospects, Carl Jammes Martin (14-0, 13), who looks to notch his 4th win of the year. The all action Martin will be up against Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-8-1, 4), who has lost his last 3. This could be a very quick win for Martin, who will be expecting to face better competition in 2020.
A second Filipino card will take place in Cebu, and will be a family affair for the Saludar family.
The main event will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-4, 10) take on Filipino journeyman Mike Kinaadman (7-12-2, 5), in a bout for the ABF Minimumweight title. This should be a very easy win for Saludar, who is looking to get back to winning ways after losing the WBO world title to Wilfredo Mendez back in August.
Vic's brothers Jakeson Saludar (4-0, 4) and Van June Saludar (5-2-2, 3) will also be on the card. On paper neither man is in an easy one here, and we wouldn't be surprised to see at least one of the brothers being tested, if not slipping up and losing.
One other fighter of note on this card is former female world title challenger Casey Morton (8-2-3, 1), who will be taking on Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (8-17, 2).
A third Filipino card will be taking place in Cavite. This is a much, much smaller card than the other two and the most notable name in action here is former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Ronald Pontillas (18-8-3, 9), who takes on Edsil Jungco (3-14, 7) in a 6 rounder.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Another Asian country with some actual action this Saturday is Thailand, as Work Point give us the last WP Boxing of the year. On paper this is one of the more interesting ones, but also one that lacks in terms of name value.
In an interesting 10 rounder Apichet Petchmanee (5-0, 2) will face off with unbeaten Indonesian Ari Agustian (8-0, 8). The 30 year old Thai was touted highly going in to the year, but hasn't really progressed as expected in 2019 and has instead looked rather human. Agustian looked like a potential break out star for Indonesia last year, after his big win over Baolin Kang, but has struggled to build on it. Here we see two men each looking to go into the new year with some momentum and a win here will give their career a big shot in the arm.
In a second notable bout on this card we'll see 22 year old Thai puncher Thattana Luangphon (8-0-1, 8) take on Japanese visitor Daichi Matsuura (7-4-2, 3), with the local looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. Thattana, also known as Chainoi Worawut, has looked like a star of the WP Boxing series, and will be looking for his 6th win of the year. As for Matsuura he'll be looking for his second win since being taken out in a round by Juiki Tatsuyoshi.
This coming Friday isn't a massive day, but there are some interesting bouts set to take place, including a world title bout and two contests with promising young hopefuls.
The main bout is the world title fight and sees unbeaten Thai Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) return to the ring to defend his WBC Minimumweight title against mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), from South Africa. Wanheng enters the bout as the longest reigning active, male, champion in the sport having held his title since November 2014. A win here will extend his reign beyond 5 years and the plan is to make his US debut next year. For Konkco the bout will be his second bout for a major world title, following a loss in a WBA title bout, and a loss here could leave "Chain Reaction" in the "who needs him?" club. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Wanheng Menayothin clashes with mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco
In Canada we'll see fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (9-0, 8) take on veteran Johnny Navarrete (33-15-2, 15). The 21 year old Akhmedov has been out of the ring since June, when he beat Daniel Vega Cota, and has managed to get married in his break away from the ring. This is a soft return for Akhmedov, with Navarrete being a limited though experienced foe, and it seems likely that Akhmedov will be back in action in December, when Eye of the Tiger Management return to the Bell Center.
Also in North America will be a bout for talented Filipino youngster Mike Plania (21-1, 11), who takes on 33 year old journeyman Julio Buitrago (13-19-0-2, 3). Given how talented Plania is, we think it's a real shame the 22 year old isn't getting better bouts than this. He has proven he can hold his own with good fighters, and he was very competitive with Juan Carlos Payano, so why he is being matched with Buitrago is a mystery. Buitrago is a rugged enough fighter to get some rounds with, having only been stopped 4 times in 34 bouts, but with only 1 win in the last 10 years this is pointless. The most interesting thing about Buitrago is his 2010 bout with Nestor Maradiaga, which ended in a rare double DQ for "not fighting".
The main focus this coming Friday is in Osaka, at EDION Arena, where we see the debut of a very touted youngster and the next bout in the career of a second generation hopeful who is quickly proving he is more than just his father's son.
The second generation fighter is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (11-0, 8), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. The unbeaten Tatsuyoshi has shown real improvement in recent bouts and was expecting to take another step forward here, but due to issues securing a suitable opponent he will instead be up against Takuya Fujioka (9-9-1, 1). With heavy hands, improving skills and developing his experience Tatsuyoshi is likely to find himself in the domestic title picture in 2020 or 2021, and a win here is seen as a given. Fujioka poses little threat to Tatsuyoshi, but is seen as a tough and durable foe, and has only been stopped once in his 19 bouts, with that stoppage coming to the excellent Kazuki Nakajima. With that in mind we expect Tatsuyoshi to get some good rounds here.
The other bout of note on this show is the debut of former amateur stand out Yusuke Mine (0-0),who looks to make a mark as he takes on Filipino visitor Jesel Guardario (8-3-1, 4). The talented Mine is regarded as a top talent and is turning professional at the age old 23, rather than try to make his way to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Osakan is regarded as the brightest hope at the Mutoh gym since Nobuo Nashiro and will be desperate to leave a great impression. As for the visitor he will be returning to Japan after a loss last year to Ryo Suwa, and will be seeking his first win outside of his homeland.
As well as the card in Osaka there will also be a low key one in Tokyo. This card is a lot less interesting, but should still have some thrills and spills.
The main event of the card will see Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-6-2, 2) take on JBC ranked Minimumweight Hizuki Saso (10-6-1, 3) in an 8 round bout. On paper this looks like a mismatch but it's actually the third time the two men have met, following a draw and a win for Ichikawa. Given how close their previous bouts have been this should be another hotly contested bout. It's worth noting that Saso has gone 4-1 in his last 5, including good wins against Jeffrey Galero and Desierto Nagaike, but was stopped last time out by talented youngster Rikito Shiba
The chief support bout will see OPBF ranked fighter Daishi Nagata (12-2-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2). Despite losing in 2 of his last 6 Nagata has shown he belongs in the title mix, and a rematch with Rikki Naito is likely going to be his target for later in the year. The Korean visitor won the national Welterweight title back in February, and comes into this bout with some momentum, but a win here would clearly be the biggest of his career so far.
In the US we'll see talented Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (20-1, 11) take on the limited Matias Agustin Arriagada (6-5, 3), of Argentina. The 22 year old is looking to extend a 5 fight winning streak, a streak that has been build since his loss to Juan Carlos Payano in 2018, and a win here could see more doors open Stateside for him. As for Arriagada he is there to play the foil for Plania, and he's lost his last 4, though did go the distance with the much touted Otha Jones III last time out. This should be an easy win for Plania, who has a very bright future.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
This coming Tuesday in the Philippines fans will get a notable, but low key, show in General Santos City.
The card has several notable fighters on it, including the once beaten Mike Plania (19-1, 10), who looks to secure a 5th straight win since his 2018 loss to Juan Carlos Payano. The talented 22 year old Plania will be up against Vicente Casido (6-2-1, 2), who has lost his last 2. On paper this should be little more than a straight forward win for Plania, though we are hoping he's stretched a little bit, as we really do think he's someone who will need challenges sooner rather than later, if he's to reach his full potential.
A second bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten Jade Bornea (13-0, 9), a former amateur standout, take on domestic foe Salatiel Amit (11-6-2, 8). The unbeaten Bornea is a fantastic 23 year old prospect with notable amateur wins over Kosei Tanaka, KJ Cataraja, Jack Bateson and Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Although yet to really shine as a professional his talent can't really be questioned. Amit on this other hand is a solid domestic opponent who pushed Bornea close back in 2015 and has proven to be a decent Filipino level fighter. Sadly it's a shame that Bornea hasn't yet progressed to major regional title fights.
Once beaten Filipino fighter Mike Plania (17-1, 10) will kick off his 2019 as he takes on American foe Juan Antonio Lopez (12-4, 4). The talented Filipino has bounced back well from his sole loss, a competitive decision defeat to Juan Carlos Payano on his US debut, and has reeled off 3 straight stoppages since then. He will be looking to keep that form going here, but is up against a man who has never been stopped. Lopez has lost 4 of his last 6, but has mixed with good competition, losing to Oscar Cantu, Stephon Young and Rico Ramos.
On paper this is a really good bout, but we do wonder what notice Lopez got for this bout as Plania was originally scheduled to face Ramiro Robles (15-8-2, 9).
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most notable show this coming Sunday is in the Philippines as we get a title double, with a supporting cast of Uzbek hopefuls.
One of those title bouts will see the once beaten Mike Plania (15-1, 8) take on domestic journeyman Angelito Merin (9-8-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Plania will be fighting for the second time since losing to Juan Carlos Payano back in March, and will be looking to build on an opening round blow out win against Jugn Rey Lauza. As for Merin things haven't been so smooth with the 28 year old going 2-6-1 in his last 9 bouts. Although Merin has, on the whole, faced better competition we have been impressed by Plania and strongly fancy him here.
The other title bout will see the unbeaten Dave Apolinario (7-0, 5) take on fellow Filipino Michael Camelion (10-9-1, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Flyweight title. The 19 year old Apolinario looks like a real prospect and and has both a solid amateur background as well as power, speed and youth, with Sanman seemingly having a pure talent on their hands with him. Aged 23 Camelion is starting to look like damaged goods with 5 stoppage losses, including defeats to Hiroto Kyoguchi, Vince Parras and Jayson Mama. Given Apolinario's power we don't see this one going long.
The Uzbek fighters, who are all taking on limited Filipino fighters, are Jasur Akhmadjonov (6-0-1, 4), Bekzod Tursunboev (1-0, 1) and Ulugbek Sobirov (7-0, 5). Coming in to this Akhmadjonov will be hoping to put a draw with Rodel Wenceslao behind him, teenager Sobirov will be looking to impress Filipino fans once again whilst Tursunboev will be wanting to build on an opening round KO against Roy Mukhlis.
As well as the card in the Philippines there will also be a card in Fukuoka.
In the main event Yuki Ozawa (12-6, 3) will battle Katsuhiko Kanno (10-11-7, 4) in an 8 round contest. Ozawa has lost 6 of his last 8, but has mixed with decent company, including Ryo Takenaka, and is better than his record and recent form suggests. Kanno has also struggled in recent bouts, and was blown out inside a round earlier this year by Tae Il Atsumi. Kanno is usually durable, but we don't think he'll put up too much of a test for Oazawa.
The card also has a really interesting looking support bout, as Tetsuwan Takashi (3-1-2) faces Fumiaki Sueyoshi (5-1, 4) in a 6 rounder. The 24 year old Takashi lost on debut, back in 2014, but has since gone 3-0-2 and this will be his first bout over the 6 round distance. The heavy handed Sueyoshi started his career with 4 straight wins before suffering a stoppage loss in September. Since that loss Sueyoshi has moved through the weights and looked rejuvenated when he stopped Bejita Ishikawa back in March. This could be very interesting.
This coming Sunday is an incredibly hectic day for fight fans hoping to follow the Asian fight scene with bouts across the Orient, stretched across 4 countries and 5 cards.
Seoul, South Korea
For many the most notable card will be a show from Seoul which will feature several notable Japanese fighters and be streamed over youtube.
The most notable name on the card is former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (31-2-1, 20) who faces off against Indonesian journeyman Rasmanudin (19-15-3, 10). For Hosono the bout is likely to be a tune up bout before a potential world title eliminator later in the year. Sadly the once promising Rasmanudin appears to be shot to pieces.
Another notable name on this card is the highly touted Koki Inoue (3-0, 3), the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue. The unbeaten and heavy handed Japanese fighter will be stepping up in class for face Korean puncher Hyun Woo Yuh (5-1, 5), in what is a genuinely credible match up for both men. Yuh did lose last time out, losing a narrow decision to Sonny Katiandagho, but will be looking to make a name for himself here.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get the chance to see prospects in action.
One of those prospects is the unbeaten Mike Plania (10-0, 4), who risks his unbeaten record against the more experienced Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-6-3, 3). Plania is showing serious signs of becoming a prospects of note but at just 19 we are some time from seeing him really being tested. Sadly Ramayan is unlikely to ask anything of Plania here.
Another 19 year old rising through the ranks is puncher Raymart Gaballo (13-0, 11), who will be up against veteran fighter Jilo Merlin (13-26-2, 2) in an 8 rounds. Merlin has been stopped in 14 of his 26 losses and it's hard to see him surviving with the hard hitting Gaballo. One other prospect on this card is the once beaten Romero Duno (9-1, 8) who faces Eusebio Baluarte (19-15, 12) in what should be a very easy assignment for the 20 year old Duno.
In Japan fans get two shows,one of which is in Wakayama and headlined by former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (19-4-4, 8), who faces Kazuki Fukakura (9-10-2, 3) in what looks like a mismatch, Kikuchi, who lost to Shingo Wake back in 2013, has run off 5 straight wins and will be hoping to extend that run here. A win for Fukakura would be his biggest and best to date,
On the same card fans will get the chance to see the promising Shohei Kawashima (13-0-2, 3) look for his 8th win as he takes on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (8-7, 3) in what looks like a good test for the unbeaten man. Takabayashi has lost his last 4 but does have the ability to perform better than his record suggests and he may well be able to ask serious questions of the unbeaten man.
The other Japanese show comes from Fukuoka and is headlined by Koki Ono (10-3, 5), who faces Junya Nishikawa (7-7-2, 2). The bout is a well matched one, given that Ono has lost 2 of his last 4, but it's one with a clear favourite. Sadly however the rest of this card is entirely forgettable.
The day also comes with a Chinese card set to be headlined by two 8 rounders.
One of those 8 rounders will see unbeaten teenager Bingbing Cheng (5-0-1) battle against Que Xu (8-1-1, 2) in a Featherweight bout whilst the other 8 rounder will see Tao Weng (3-1-2) face off against Zhong Jie Niu (7-0, 2) at 140lbs, with the winners set to be moved towards notable bouts in the near future.