Tech Port Arena, San Antonio, Texas, USA
The main show this coming Saturday takes place in Texas, where we see one of the best looking shows of the year thanks to Matchroom, which give us a genuinely stacked card, including two world title bouts involving Asian fighters.
One of those bouts, arguably the more interesting, will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Jesse Rodriguez Franco (15-0, 10) make his first defense, as he takes on former 2-time champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43), in a mouth watering bout. The bout has come about after "Bam" Rodriguez was a late replacement for Srisaket earlier this year, when Srisaket was forced to pull out of a bout with Carlos Cuadras on medical grounds, with Rodriguez making the most of his opportunity and beating Cuadras. A win here over Rungvisai would put Rodrgiuez as the front runner for the 2022 Fighter of the Year. As for Srisaket the hard hitting Thai will be looking to become a 3-time champion, though sadly he has looked like a man on the slide the last few years, and at 35 he is certainly on the older side for a Super Flyweight. Our preview of this bout can be read here Rodriguez faces Srisaket in first world title defense
The other world title bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Uzbekistani fighter Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) look to defend his IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight titles as he takes on exciting American challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16). The bout, which was planned for last year, though fell through with Rios suffering Covid on the week of the fight and being replaced by Jose Velasquez. In the end Akhmadaliev took and easy win over Velasquez but Rios was left looming and finally gets his shot here. The talent Uzbekistani fighter will know that a 4 title unification bout is out there for him, with Stephen Fulton, but he will need to get past Rios here and score his third defense for that bout to stay alive. As for Rios this is his second world title fight and comes 16 months after his most recent bout, a win over Oscar Negrete. In fact Rios has fought just once since the pandemic started and we wonder whether that lack of activity will be an issue for the 32 year old. Our in depth preview of ths bout can be read here Unified champion Akhmadaliev faces Rios!
Sale Memorial Hall, Sale, Victoria, Australia
As well as the action in the US we also get some Asian interest down under in Victoria.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card is highly experienced Filipino fighter Czar Amonsot (35-6-3-1, 22), who looks set to pick up an easy win as he takes on Thai visitor Surachet Tongmala (9-16, 6) in a 12 round Welterweight bout. Notably for Amonsot he has lost 3 of his last 4, and it's fair to assume his career is coming to an end, with that in mind it's hard to complain too much about this bout, and hopefully a win here will allow the 36 year old Amonsot to retire into the sunset with a win. As for Tongmala, also known as Fonluang Sor Singyu, he has been stopped in 14 of his 16 losses, including a loss in May against Miles Zalewski, making it a bit of a worry that he's back in the ring only around 6 weeks after that loss.
Another bout of note on this card featuring an Asian fighter will see limited Australian fighter Jake Gathercole (7-7-1, 2) take on unbeaten Thai visitor Banpot Khaoiam (4-0-1, 4), in a bout for the lightly regarded WBF Australian Cruiserweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but it's actually set to be an interesting one. Gathercole is certainly limited, but has competed at a much, much higher level than Banpot, who has scored all his wins over total novices. We do not expect this one to go the distance or to be a show case of what pure boxing is, but it should be entertaining.
SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA
This Friday isn't a huge day for Asian fighters in general, in fact there isn't too many Asian fighters in action during the day, however there is one Asian fighter in a massive bout, and a bout that could lead him to bigger and better contests down the line, including potentially huge unification bouts.
That Asian fighter in question is Uzbekistani fighter Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) , who will be defending his WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Jose Velasquez (29-6-2, 19), in a bout that was put together at short notice after Ronny Rios contracted Covid19. The talented Akhmadaliev has raced through the division, and in just 9 fights has already picked up wins Danny Roman and Ryosuke Iwasa, to unify and defend his world titles, but did suffer from Covid earlier this year and it's always hard to predict how a fighter will look after testing positive for the virus. At his best he's probably the best fighter at 122lbs, which is a deep division with the likes of Stephon Fulton, Raeese Aleem and Brandon Figueroa also being in the mix for the #1 position. As for Velasquez he's a natural Bantamweight who's best win has come against Melvin Lopez. Despite an underwhelming record, Velasquez has turned his career around, and won his last 21 bouts. Sadly however they have come at a low level, and this is a major step up, as well as a bout he's taken on short noticed and moved up in weight for. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Akhmadaliev returns for second world title defense!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
In terms of action in Asia we get a small card in Tokyo, thanks to the Misako gym. It's not a major card, but it does have one bout of note on it.
The one bout of note on this event will see former 2-time Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-4-1, 12) take on rising prospect Ayato Hiromoto (4-0, 2). The 36 year old Nakagawa hasn't fought since suffering a brutal TKO loss at the hands of Ryoji Fukunaga back in December 2020. That was a loss that would have needed a lengthy rest period for Nakagawa, but at the age of 36 we're really not sure what he has left in the tank. Hiromoto on the other hand is a 24 year old, taking a big step up in class, but a youngster who will be fully aware that a win here puts him right in the mix for a title shot of his own. Of the two men Nakagawa has the edge in experience and power but Hiromoto hasn't taken much punishment, is younger, and the more polished of the two. Despite the show, overall, being bad, this is a fantastic match up and should be a very, very interesting one for the future of both men.
Sadly a scheduled bout between Takuya Uehara (17-1, 10) and Ryukyu Oho (7-5, 4), which was planned for this show, was cancelled in the week leading up to the event.
Over in Thailand we should be seeing the return of a familiar face, as Indonesian veteran Daud Yordan (40-4-0-1, 28) takes on Rachata Khaophimai (7-0, 4) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Light Welterweight title. The talented Yordan, who has faced a genuine who's who during his career, will be fighting for the first time since he beat Michael Mokoena, around 2 years ago, and will be looking to remain relevant in the sport. Sadly however Yordan is now 34, and is very much coming to the end of his career, we thought was clear 3 years ago when he looked old and slow against Anthony Crolla. Aged 18 Rachata is a new face on the Thai scene, though sadly his competition so far has been dire, and he's yet to beat a guy with a winning record. Given his competition so far, he's not just stepping up in class here, but leaping up, massively. We do feel Yordan's career is winding down, but a loss here for the Indonesian veteran would be a massive shocker a huge upset.
The month of April is already under way and this Saturday we are getting a treat with a stacked day of action, featuring prospects, debutants, world title contenders and, best of all, a huge world title bout in Uzbekistan! In fact we are getting the greatest professional boxing event in Uzbekistan's history!
Humo Arena, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
We'll start with the Uzbek card, which is really something special and something super stacked! In fact it's up there with the most notable cards of the year so far.
The main event will see unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) defending his WBA "super" and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Japanese challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17), in a mandatory defense. Akhmadaliev won the titles last year, when he beat Danny Roman, and has had to wait over a year to return to the ring as a champion. He will be the strong favourite, and the clear fan favourite for what is a massive home coming fight. Iwasa on the other hand is looking to reach the pinnacle of the sport for a second time, having previously held the IBF title. The hard hitting Japanese fighter can blow very hot and cold, but looked fantastic last time out, dominating Marlon Tapales. Sadly that was in December 2019. Despite the lengthy lay offs for both men this is a mouth watering bout and it deserves a lot of attention. Potentially the best bout of the entire month! Our in depth preview of this match up can be read here Akhmadlaiev and Iwasa clash at last!
In one of the main supporting bouts we'll see the highly regarded Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5) take on the hard hitting Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14), in a mouth watering match up. Madrimov has looked like a future world champion in the making since his 2018 debut, though looked underwhelming last time out, against the tough and awkward Eric Walker. He'll be wanting to shine here and make a statement in his first bout since that one. Congolese born South African based Kalombo on the hand will be going in to this bout knowing that he has a huge chance to announce himself to the world. It's a huge opportunity for Kalomobo, but he will be the big under-dog. Given unbeaten records and the combined 95% KO ratio we don't expect this one to go the distance. Instead we expect a short but explosive contender. Don't blink.
Another established Uzbek on this card is Shakhram Giyasov (10-0, 8), who takes on experienced Mexican fighter Patricio Lopez Moreno (28-4, 20). On paper this looks like it should be a straight forward win for Giyasov, a 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, but Moreno is a credible competitor and we suspect he'll give Giyasov a number of questions to answer here. Giyasov should have the tools to pick up a win, but we don't think he'll have an easy time.
One man who will be looking to establish himself in the professional ranks on this show is 2016Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (2-0, 2), who has failed to set the world alight since turning professional, but clearly has the talent to do so. He'll be up against Tanzania's Muhsin Kizota (11-2, 5) in what should be a real showcase for the unbeaten Uzbek. Kizota is tough, durable and will be hungry, but Dusmatov is a special talent, and he should be far, far too good for the Tanzanian fighter.
We won't go through the entire under-card, but it will feature touted Heavyweight prospect Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 7), the explosive Elnur Abduraimov (7-0, 6), the talented Sanjar Tursunov (2-0, 1) and debuting former amateur standouts Ikboljon Kholdarov (0-0) and Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (0-0). We suspect at least 2 of these 5 will go on to win world titles one day in the future, though all 5 have that level of potential.
Round 10 Boxing Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A second show worthy of major attention comes from Dubai, where we get several bouts featuring Asian fighters. This card is headlined by WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring defending his title against Carl Frampton, but it's Asian action we're interested in.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on the show is 4-weight world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), who returns to the ring for the first time since beating Kazuto Ioka for the WBO Super Flyweight title at the very end of 2018! The talented Filipino really has had a couple of years to forget, sitting on the sidelines and watch the Super Flyweight division set on dire whilst injuries and issues with ALA Promotions cost him a potential super fight. In the opposite corner to "Ahas" will be Colombian veteran Pablo Carrillo (25-7-1, 16), who shouldn't be a real test for Nietes, but could ask some questions of the 38 year old Pinoy. If Nietes is as good as he was, he should win with ease, but we do wonder the the long lay off done to him.
In a really good looking match up the unbeaten Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) will be up against Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6). Sadly Turarov has wasted a lot of his potential, and despite still being unbeaten it seems that injuries, inactivity and a bit of an aimless career will never reach the heights that many predicted. Turarov is now 30 and he's at the point where he needs to be focused on the sport. McKenna is no world beater, but he's a very solid fighter all the same, and he the tenacity and hunger to be a a real threat to Turarov's unbeaten record. This could end up being a real gut check for "Da Kazakh Kid".
Another Kazakh on this card in an interesting looking match up is Tursynbay Kulakhmet (2-0, 1), who defends his WBC International 154lb title against unbeaten Venezuelan Heber Rondon (20-0, 13). The talented Kulakhmet impressed in the amateurs, looked like a sensation in his professional debut, then looked like a power but limited fighter in his second professional bout. We're expecting a much better performance here from him than we got last time. As for Rondon his record is unbeaten but under-whelming and he lacks wins of any real value. In fact this will be his toughest bout so far. Worrying for a 34 year old with a 20-0 record.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Back over in Asian we get the latest show in the WP Boxing series of shows thanks to Workpoint and NKL. This card is certainly not a big one, but it's a notable one, with two bouts worthy of attention.
One of the two bouts is a flat out mismatch, as WBC ranked Bantamweight Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40) takes part in a stay busy bout against Sophon Klachun (5-5-1, 1). The bout really is match up designed to keep Nawaphon active after a frustrating start to the year, which included planned world title fight falling through. We don't like matches like this, especially given this is the fourth successive "stay busy" bout for Suriyan, but it's much better than his sitting twiddling his thumbs doing nothing.
The other bout is a much better match up, as the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (8-0, 2) defends his WBC regional title against veteran Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-7, 19). This bout "should" be an easy one for the talented Apichet, but it's hard to know with him. At times he has looked really, really good, but recently he has shown some real limitations and is lucky to still be unbeaten. Kaewfah was once a solid fighter but has now lost his last 3 and seems to be on the back end of his career. The veteran might have some tricks up his sleeve, but it would be a big surprise to see him pick up a victory here.
On a second show in Thailand we'll see an interesting looking match up between former world title contender Petch CP Freshmart (59-1, 44), aka Tasana Salapat, and fellow Thai Kongfah Nakornluang (33-3, 21), aka Chaiwat Buatkrathok. The bout will see Petch defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title, and looking to begin his slow climb towards another major fight. On paper this looks like a good bout. Interestingly this bout was meant to take place way back in December, on Christmas day in fact, but was cancelled at short notice and pushed back more than 3 months.
Balai Sarbini Convention Hall, Jakarta, Indonesia
We're set to get low quality action in Indonesia, though it's a show that may unearth some gems, with 3 unbeaten prospects on the card in scheduled 10 rounders. Their opponents are very limited but it's still interesting to see novices in such long bouts this early in their careers.
Before we look at those prospects we want to quickly tough on a match up between James Mokoginta (40-18-3, 26) and Isack Junior (26-15-3, 9) which is an interesting one. Mokoginta, a 51 fight veteran, is only 30 years old and seems to have been around for a life time, having debuted way back in 2004. Coming in to this he has all the momentum, riding a 10 fight unbeaten run. Junior on the other hand started his career 22-1-2 (8) and seemed to be on his way to some sort of success. Since then he has gone 4-14-1 and appears to pad records for fighters. We're expecting another defeat for Junior here.
As for the prospects one of those is Christo Gara (2-0, 1), who seems to have debuted in 2019 and put in two solid performances. He'll be up against the very limited Jack Madison (2-19) in a bout that should easily move Gara to 3-0. Another man who should pick up a very easy win is Doni Syafyendro (1-0) who takes on 46 year old Harri Hutagalung (1-16), who scored his only win way back in 2010, in his debut, and has had 16 losses in a row since then, with 12 of those losses coming by stoppage.
The third prospect, and the most interesting, is Indonesian Heavyweight hopeful Alam Syaputra (1-0, 1). Yes, you did read that, an Indonesian Heavyweight. In fact he's a natural Heavyweight and he's a genuine big lad, who looked impressive and imposing in his 2019 debut against Michael Wattimena. He'll be expecting his second professional win when he takes on David Koswara (12-16-2, 4), who, is a Heavyweight now, but began his career at Welterweight. This should be a bit of a farce, but it'll be interesting to see Syaputra back in action and he's someone who want to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Pyramide, Kazan, Russia
Over in Russia we're expecting to see Kazakh female fighter Firuza Sharipova (12-1, 6) take on Sofya Ochigava (4-0, 1), in the second bout between the two women. Sharipova, once one of the most noteworthy fighters in Kazakhstan, has seen the media cool down on her significantly over the last 24 months but a win here would see the press talking about her a lot, again. As for Ochigava a win here would see her repeat her 2016 win over Sharipova, in what was the professional debut for both women.
Also pencilled in for this card is 21 year old Uzbek hopeful Ravshan Makhamadjonov (11-0, 7). The talented Makhamadjonov really needs a step up in class this year, having now been a professional for around 4 years, but unfortunately he's had no opponent confirmed at the time or writing, suggesting he'll be up against a short notice opponent, and probably a limited one at that.
Our attention turns to the US this coming Thursday as we get two bouts in the US featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those two bouts comes from Florida as unified Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) risks his IBF and WBA "super" titles against unbeaten Uzbek Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6), who enters as the WBA mandatory challenger. This bout was originally scheduled for last September, before Akhmadaliev suffered an injury in training that forced it to be rescheduled. Roman will be making his 5th defense of the WBA crown and his first defense of the IBF title, which has mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa looming large. For Akhmadaliev this will be his first world title bout, but the former standout amateur will be confident of picking up the win here. For those interested in this one it will be aired live on DAZN. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Akhmadaliev takes on Roman for unified throne!
Also in the US fans will be able to see the American debut of former Filipino amateur standout Jade Bornea (14-0, 10), who goes up against fellow unbeaten fighter Ernesto Delgadillo (11-0-2, 2) in a bout for the vacant NABF Super Flyweight. The unbeaten Bornea was a genuine standout amateur and beat both the aforementioned Akhmadaliev and Kosei Tanaka in the 2013 Asian Youth Champions, but hasn't yet shined in the pros. The 25 year old Delgadillo is unbeaten but hasn't fought since August 2018. On paper this is a step up for both men and should see the winner enhancing their reputation in what looks to be a very good fight aired on UFC Fightpass.
This coming Friday is a really notable one, with a lot of exciting action, even with the biggest bout of the weekend, for us, being cancelled.
New York, USA
The bout that was cancelled, would have seen the unified Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10) defending his WBA "super" and IBF titles against fast rising Uzbek amateur standout Murodjon Akhmadaliev (6-0, 5). Sadly this was called off due to an injury to Roman, however the plan seems to be to reschedule the bout for when Roman is 100%.
Despite the main bout being called off the card will still feature 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (7-0, 3), who has promised a lot but is yet to truly shine as a professional. The unbeaten Kazakh will be up against unbeaten American Reshard Hicks (12-0-1, 6). On paper this looks a good test for the Kazakh but in reality he shouldn't struggle with Hicks, if he's as good as many hoped he'd be.
Due to the world title fight being called off in the US, the best card appears to be in Japan where we see a former world champion, a Japanese title fight, a Japanese youth title fight and a Japanese title eliminator.
The main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) fight for the first time since losing his belt to Jamel Herring. The talented Ito will be up against Indonesian foe Ruben Manakane (25-18-1, 14), who despite only being 26 will be fighting in his 45th pro bout. This is expected to be an easy win for Ito, who is flirting with the Lightweight division, but it's clear there is a lot to work on given before he returns to facing world class opposition, at least based on his performance against Herring. Despite this being a pretty obvious mismatch Manakane does enter as the Indonesian champion and is 7-1 in his last 8.
Despite the main event being a mismatch the supporting card is solid with the best of the bouts being a Japanese Featherweight title bout, with Reiya Abe (19-1-2, 9) and Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) battling for the title that Taiki Minamoto vacated earlier in the year. This has the hall marks of a very, very special bout with both fighters being very highly skilled but having different styles and mentalities. Abe is the more pure counter puncher, a sharp shooting, back foot fighter, whilst Sagawa is a more offensively minded boxer-puncher. These style really should gel and the two fighters will both be looking for their most significant win to date. This could be one of the most thrilling bouts of the month. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Abe and Sagawa battle to crown new Japanese Featherweight champion!
In what looks likely to be an exciting brawl we'll see Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) and Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) battle in a JBC Super Bantamweight eliminator. The experienced Furuhashi is trying to secure a third Japanese title fight but will be the under-dog here against Tamura, who held the title earlier this year. Furuhashi is a solid national contender but he has been in tough bouts through his career and it's hard to know what he has left in the tank. On the other hand Tamura's last 2 bouts have been really hard wars, with his last bout being a brutal war with Yusaku Kuga, and they may well have added a lot of miles to his clock. A preview of this bout can be read here Tamura and Furuhashi to battle in eliminator!
A second title fight will see fast rising youngsters Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) and Shisui Kawabata (2-0, 2) battle for the JBC Youth Light Flyweight title. Both of these youngsters are tipped for big things, and in fact Shiba is pencilled in for a Japanese title eliminator later in the year, so to see them clash at this point is rather surprising, despite the Youth title. So far Shiba has looked the better fighter, and he really does look the goods, however Kawabata has sparred with Naoya Inoue among others and is very highly regarded. This could be another thriller. Our preview of this contest is here Shiba and Kawabata face off for Japanese youth title!
The rest of the card is full of small but still interesting bouts. These include a battle between Japanese ranked fighters, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (7-6, 4) looks to build on a career best win against Seiichi Okada as he takes on Ryuto Araya (13-7-1, 4). Other smaller bouts on this card include Satoru Goto (4-4-2) taking on the unbeaten Ryugo Ushijima (3-0-1, 2) and the debuting Taison Morishita (0-0) battling Kojiro Nishikawa (5-1, 2) in a tough 6 round debut.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Another notable fighter pencilled in for the day is former world title challenger Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6), who will be in action in Dubai. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
The most interesting card, by far, for the weekend comes from California, where we see several brilliant match ups, including a unification bout in the Super Bantamweight division where several Asian fighters lie in wake, including Ryosuke Iwasa and Murodjon Akhmadaliev.
Despite the Super Bantamweight bout the focus for us is a Super Flyweight rematch, as WBC and Ring Magazine, champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) takes on Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26) in a mandatory rematch. These two fought in an excellent contest last year, with Srisaket taking a narrow decision over Estrada, and fans have clamoured for a rematch ever since. Both men have stayed busy since their first bout, but this is the first really meaningful bout either had since their clash. Sriskaet, regarded by many as a top pound for pound fighter, will be kicking off a new DAZN deal, whilst Estrada will be seeking a second divisional throne. A full a preview of this bout can be read here Srisaket and Estrada go again in rematch of 2018 war!
On the supporting card we'll see rising unbeaten Uzbek contender Shakhram Giyasov (7-0, 6) take a step up in class to face off with Emmanuel Taylor (20-5, 14). Giyasov impressed last year picking up 6 wins, and this will be his second bout of 2019, following a win over former world title challenger Edgar Puerta in February. Taylor, known as Tranzformer is a step up in theory, but hasn't fought in almost 2 years, and has just 3 wins in the last 6 years, against 4 losses. Taylor was a capable fighter, as wins over Karim Mayfield and Victor Manuel Cayo show, but we really don't know what he has left to offer at this point in time.
Also on this card is the aforementioned Murodjon Akhmadaliev (5-0, 4) who will be up against former WBC Bantamweight challenger Carlos Carlson (23-5, 14). In theory this is a tune up for the WBA #1 ranked Super Bantamweight title challenger, but in reality this should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten hopeful.
Staying in the US we'll also see Chinese Light Heavyweight hopeful Fanlong Meng (14-0, 9) take on Daniel Najera (8-3-1, 4). This will be Meng's first bout since stopping Frank Buglioni in in November, when he scored a career best win, and it feels like a lot of the momentum he had from that bout has now been lost. Mexican fighter Najera has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, and isn't expected to put up much of a test for Meng, who really should be taking on better opposition than this at this stage of his career.
London, United Kingdom
In the UK we'll see a MTK Global card featuring a pair of Kazakh prospects.
The more notable of the two is Viktor Kotochigov (8-0, 4), who fights for the first time as an MTK fighter. The unbeaten Kotochigov, who shone in Poland earlier this year when he stopped Piotr Gudel, will be up against Latvian journeyman Andrejs Podusovs (16-10-1, 5). The Latvian is riding an 8 fight winning run into this bout, but has had mixed results outside of Latvia, going 8-10-1 in the UK.
The other Kazakh on this card is Nurtas Azhbenov (4-0, 1), who has shown some touches of class but appears to be a bit on the feather fisted side. He will be up against an opponent who hadn't been named at the time of writing.
This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.
This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day for Asian fight fans, with shows of note all across the globe.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong fans get a pretty notable, yet small, card as DEF HK continue their relationship with Japanese promotions.
The main event of the card will see 22 year old local Raymond Poon KaiChing (5-1, 3) take on Japanese visitor Ryo Narizuka (8-7-1) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. KaiChing has won his last 3, but has been matched softly and it's hard to see why he's fighting for a title, even one as lightly regarded as this one. The light punching Narizuka is 1-3-1 in his last 5, but has been matched very hard with his last losses coming to Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka, both of whom are currently world champions. This has the potential to be a banana skin for the local fighter.
Despite not being the main event the most notable bout, for us at least, will see Japanese tough guy Takuya Watanabe (33-8-1, 18) face off with Indonesian journeyman Hendrik Barongsay (29-27-3, 18). It's not a great bout, given how good Watanabe is, but it is a chance for Watanabe to return to the ring following his loss to Yongqiang Yang earlier this year. The Indonesian, who has lost his last 4, shouldn't pose any sort of a threat to Watanabe, who who is 3-0 in Hong Kong and looking for bigger and better fights than this.
Arguably the most significant single fight with an Asian this coming Saturday will see female Bantamweight champion Aniya Seki (33-3-2, 5) defending her WIBF title against the heavy handed Csilla Nemedi (8-1, 6). The bout isn't just for Seki's WIBF title but also the GBU and WBC Silver titles and should be a compelling match up between the skills and experience of Seki and the heavy handed power of Nemedi.
We'll be able to see several central Asian fighters in action in Russia.
One of those is 23 year old Kazakh Madiyar Zhanuzak (4-0, 1), who will be up against Filipino foe Alphoe Dagayloan (9-2-5-1, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. The unbeaten Kazakh has impressed us since his July 2017 debut, but this does look like a genuine step up, and the type of bout that should see him having to prove himself. Aged 26 Dagayloan is the reigning PBF Super Flyweight champion and has gone 5-0-1 in his last 6, including a win over Mateo Handig and Jayar Diama.
Another notable one is Russian based Kyrgyzstan born Erzhan Turgumbekov (2-0), who is taking a massive step up in class to take on the experienced Andrei Isayeu (30-12, 9). The unbeaten Turgumbekov has began his career with back to back wins against limited novices, but this bout seems to suggests that he and his team are now comfortable on moving up against veterans. The 38 year old Isayeu is from Belarus and despite picking up losses he is a tough guy to stop, suggesting that he will take Turgumbekov the scheduled 6 rounds here.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see Macau born Lap Cheong Cheong (3-0, 2) look for his 4th straight win. The 21 year old Flyweight hopeful hasn't had his opponent named for the show but it's unlikely he'll be facing someone of any real note.
Turning our attention Stateside there is several notable fighters from Central Asia, with two of those looking to shine in California.
On paper the most exciting of those is the incredibly talented Murodjon Akhmadaliev (2-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2). The very highly regarded Akhmadaliev, from Uzbekistan, shone on his debut in March and again in April with many now tipping him to become one of the faces of Uzbek boxing over the coming years. Argentinian fighter Molina showed his toughness last December, when he went 6 rounds with Michael Conlan and this bout gives Akhmadaliev a chance to earn some comparison to the popular Irishman. A stoppage for Akhmadaliev would be impressive, but wouldn't be a massive surprise.
The other Asian fighter on this card is Kazakh Ashkat Ualikhanov (2-1, 2), who looks to record his third straight win as he battles Darel Harris (1-2-1, 1). On debut Ualikhanov was disqualified in 3 rounds and his career has been horribly stop-start since then, but he does have power and talent and will be looking to make an impression here against Harris, who has failed to win aby of his last 3 bouts.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Staying in the US fight fans will be able to see 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2), as he takes on Kevin Johnson (5-0, 4). The unbeaten Uzbek was dropped in the first round of his professional but since then has looked really promising and appears to be on the right track to success, even if he does look some way from a world title fight. On paper this is a step up for the Uzbek and Johnson, not to be confused with the Heavyweight of the same name, is a solid puncher with an unbeaten record of his own and will be coming into this bout on the back of a career best win over Flavio Rodriguez. The Uzbek should come out on top, but this is an interesting match up on paper.