Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
On Friday we don't get much action, but there some interesting bouts taking place, several of which are in Japan on a show at Korakuen Hall.
On paper the most interesting match up is a 6 rounder between Yuri Kanaya (1-0) and Masatora Okada (6-3-1, 2), with Kanaya looking to continue what we suspect will be a rapid rise through the ranks. Kanaya made his debut last year, with a very solid debut win over Sora Takeda, and should be favoured here, but will certainly have to work hard for the win. Okada is a very solid opponent at this lower domestic level, and come into the bout with two wins following a very competitive loss in 2018. He'll be game, but we do expect the class of Kanaya to be too much.
Another promising fighter seeking their second professional win on this show is Yuya Oku (1-0-1, 1), who is taking on Daiki Imanari (6-3, 3) in a good looking bout. It's hard to say how good Oku is, especially given his draw last time out against Yuya Azuma, but the 25 year old has got some potential and we suspect that draw will help him improve and develop. Imanari on the other hand has won just one of his last 3 bouts, but may well be looking at this as a chance to build on his 2021 win over Shogo Sakai. Not a stellar bout, by any stretch, but one that should be very competitive.
Rather notably the main event of this card is an 8 rounder, that really doesn't capture the attention. The main event will see Kenta Taguchi (6-9-1, 1) battle Kazunori Yorimasa (5-7-4, 2), and although not a great match up, it is one that should be action packed, hotly contested and expected to go the distance, with neither man being much of a puncher. Aged 35 Taguchi can ill afford another loss, and notable he had won his last 3, whilst Yorimasa is 29, and is 1-1-1 in his last 3, and will be looking to build some momentum for his career here. We suspect it will be fan friendly, but not the most dramatic or explosive of bouts.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
As well as the action in Japan we also get some action in the US, with two shows in the US. The most notable of the two is in Miami, where we see three Asian fighters scheduled for action. Sadly at the time of writing, two of those fighters haven't had their opponent named, and there's a good chance at least one of the fighters will see their bout being pulled.
One of the Asian fighters set for this card is Filipino Mike Plania (26-1, 13), who really has failed to build on his 2020 win over Joshua Greer, a win that should have propelled him to the verges of a world title fight. The talented Plania has proven what he's capable of, but has only picked up 2 low key wins since that victory and is very much treading water, especially here against a fighter who will be taking the bout on short notice. Fingers crossed he lands a big fighter later this year, rather that wastes more time going no where.
The second to have not had their opponent named is Kazakh Cruiserweight hopeful Serik Musadilov (11-0, 9), who picked up 3 wins last year, but tread water with those bouts and appears to be set for more water treading here. He's exciting, aggressive and comes to fight, but recent bouts aren't moving his career forward, or developing his experience and skillset. A real waste of time for a man who needs to be tested sooner rather later.
Another Asian pencilled in for action on this show is Kazakh fighter Mussa Tursyngaliyev (10-0, 6), who thankfully does seem to have his opponent for the show names, as he takes on the highly experienced Michael Isaac Carrero (13-67-6, 6). We never said he was taking on a good opponent. Carrero fought 7 times last year, losing all 7 bouts, and is without a win since 2015 whilst going 0-28-2 since then. This is little more than record padding for the Kazakh.
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
In the Philadelphia fight fans will see US based Kazakhstan born fighter Temirlan Raimkulov (4-1-2) take on Isiah Seldon (14-4-1, 5), the son of former Heavyweight world champion Bruce Seldon. For Raimkulov this will be his third bout in the US, and he'll be looking to record a third straight win, after scoring two victories last year. And a win for him would be the biggest of his career so far. As for Seldon his record looks pretty, but he has been stopped, in the opening round, in 3 of his last 6 and he's only had 3 wins since the start of 2018.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
This coming Friday we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Super Bantamweight Mussa Tursyngaliyev (10-0, 6) in action. Sadly at the time of writing, his opponent for this bout has yet to be named, suggesting he won't be facing someone who's had much note or had much time to prepare. Notably for the Kazakh this will be his first bout in well over the years, in fact his last bout was in July 2019 when he defeated former world title challenger Ricardo Nunez. Aged 27 Tursyngaliyev does have time on his side, but given the long lay off, it really is time he kicks on. We suspect this bout will be an easy one for him, he's pencilled in to fight again in March, we then hope to see him step up later in the year, and get a real test before the end of 2022, as he looks to move into the world title mix next year.
The most note worthy show for us this coming Friday takes place in Miami and features a pair of Kazakh fighters.
The more notable of the two is Mussa Tursyngaliyev (10-0, 6), who looks to notch his next win as he takes on 35 year old Ezequiel Alberto Tevez (13-5, 4). The talented Tursyngaliyev had a frustrating 2019, fighting just twice and will clearly be hoping to be busier this year. On the subject of inactivity Tevez will be fighting for just the third time since the start of 2016, and the Argentinian will not be expected to test the unbeaten Kazakh "Warrior".
The other Kazakh on the show will see hard hitting 25 year old Serik Musadilov (5-0, 5) take on 35 year old Quintell Thompson (4-10-1, 4). The unbeaten Musailov, dubbed "Panda", has only gone beyond the second round once in his career so far, and will be expecting to blitz Thompson, who has been stopped in the opening round of his last 2 bouts. A bit of a record padding bout here for the promising Kazakh we're afraid.
In Minnesota we see the limited but fun to watch Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-2-1-1, 12) look to bouts back from his loss to Jaron Ennis from back in January. The twice beaten Kazakh is set to drop down in weight, fighting at a more natural 140lbs, as he takes on 39 year old Carlos Winston Velasquez (27-36-2, 17), in what should be a straight forward win for Eyubov. Whilst we're not a big fan of confidence building bouts it's hard to argue here, with Eyubov going 0-2-1 in his last 3.
There is also set to be a small, low key, show in Thailand.
One of the bouts will see Chinese teenager Yeerjialahasi Laayibieke (2-2, 1) take on Thai foe Visut Tamkhuntod (2-4, 1). The 19 year old Laayibieke lost his first 2 bouts, both to Ge An Ma, but has picked up a couple of wins recent and enters this bout with some momentum. Aged 46 it's hard to know what Tamkhuntod is really trying to accomplish in the sport and we can't see anything but another loss for the ageing Thai.
Another bout on this card worthy of some note, albeit very little, will see Australian based Korean born Taekyun Kim (2-1, 2) return to the ring after 4 years out of action, to take on 18 year old local Atthapon Baenkham (1-3-1, 1). Hard to get too excited here, though it is always interesting to see fighters ending long breaks, and seeing what they have left in the tank.
It should be noted however that there is discussions that this show may be cancelled to help fight the spread of Coronavirus, with Thailand expected to make a move similar to that of Japan and Korea in cancelling all boxing.
The big show of the day this coming Friday is Osaka where Teiken put in a title triple header, featuring two world title bouts.
The main event of this card is the rematch between American Rob Brant (25-1, 17) and Japanese star Ryota Murata (14-2, 11), with Brant looking to make his second defense of the WBA Regular Middleweight title, a title he took from Murata last year. This is a really tough bout for Murata, who will know another loss to Brant likely ends his career, whilst a win could open up a huge opportunity for a bout in a Japanese dome at the end of the year. For Murata this is a must win, whilst for Brant it's a bout he is expected to win, especially given how easily he beat Murata the first time around. A full preview of this bout is available here Brant and Murata go again, but will the outcome be any different?
The other world title bout on the card will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) defending his title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-33-1, 11). The unbeaten champion will be seeking his 6th defense and a chance to take a huge step towards a potential unification bout with Hiroto Kyoguchi at the end of the year, a bout both men have spoken about. Although Kenshiro is in great form we expect Taconing to ask questions of the champion we've never seen Kenshiro answer, and Taconing poses a real threat as a hard hitting and teak tough southpaw. Taconing can be out boxed, but he is a very dangerous threat to Kenshiro. Our preview of this show down is here Kenshiro takes on hard hitting Filipino challenger Taconing!
The third title bout on this card will see Filipino visitor Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6) look to record his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title, as he takes on 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8). The bout sees Noynay return to Japan following his impressive title win over Kosuke Saka whilst Shimizu moves up in weight and tests the water at Super Featherweight. A full in depth preview of this bout can be read here Noynay takes on hard hitting Shimizu in regional title defense!
Also on this card is touted prospect Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) who looks to extend his perfect start as he battles 23 year old Filipino Paolo Sy (6-3-1, 3). Iwata was a fabulous amateur, scoring wins against the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue among others, and has shown a lot of promise already, but this looks like his stiffest test so far. Sy is no world beater in the making but should ask some questions of Iwata.
As well as the show in Osaka there is also a good one in Tokyo as we get a female world title fight and an interesting cross roads fight.
The female world title fight sees the great Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) defending her WBA female Flyweight title against veteran Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15), who is looking to become a 3 weight champion her self. Fujioka is among the few true female legends of boxing, having won world titles from Minimumweight to Bantamweight, but she's now at an advanced age and we wonder how long she can keep putting on top performances. On the other hand Tsunami has had an incredibly hard career, and that will catch up with her sooner or later. Our preview of this female clash can be read here Fujioka and Tsunami meet in clash for WBA crown!
In a really good looking support bout we'll see veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) take on youngster Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9). The tough Kondo, a former world title challenger, was last seen being stopped by Downua Ruawaiking in an IBF world title eliminator and he will be desperate to put that loss behind him and pick up a win here. For Hiraoka this is a great opportunity to get himself a major win and move towards a major title fight, as he looks to add to the Japanese Youth title he won in 2017. Our preview for this bout can be read here Kondo looks to bounce back whilst Hiraoka looks for big win
Also on this card is Seiryu Toshikawa (10-5, 6), who is criminally under-rated. Despite not having a great record Toshikawa is a very talented 23 year old who is looking to bounce back from a split decision loss to Shawn Oda in late 2018. His opponent will be Filipino puncher Junny Salogaol (14-16-5, 13), a late replacement though a man who was training for a now cancelled fight in Japan in late June.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
From Japan to Saudi Arabia as we see boxing join the WWE in an the attempt of becoming part of the sporting propaganda of the Saudi government. Whilst this card isn't one we'll be focusing a lot on, especially given the action in Japan, it is still a show which will get a lot of attention, especially in the West.
The main event will see Amir Khan (33-5, 20) take on Billy Dib (45-5-0-2, 26) in a match that was put together on about 3 weeks notice. Originally Khan was going to Indian face Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) in a bout being sold on the Indian vs Pakistan rivalry, and was originally set to be for the WBC Pearl title. Goyat suffered an injury in a car accident weeks before the fight and Dib, a former Featherweight world champion, moved up the card to fill the position left by Goyat. Originally Dib was to face Indonesian fighter Carlos Lopez, so he has clearly landed a much better pay day here. Sadly the WBC Pearl title will no longer be on the line, and the bout will instead be for the WBC International Welterweight crown.
A more interesting bout on this card, at least terms of competitiveness, will see unbeaten and exciting Filipino Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11) take on South African foe Lerato Dlamini (12-1, 6) for the WBC Silver Featherweight title. This is a big step up for Penalosa who hasn't really scored a win of note. On the other hand the South African holds a really notable win over Simpiwe Vetyeka from 2017 and will feel that that bout will have prepared him for a bout like this against Penalosa.
Others on this card include Uzbek hopeful Shakhobidin Zoirov (2-0, 2), who has been very impressive in his professional career so far.
All the way over in Florida we'll get the chance to see a couple of unbeaten Kazakh fighters attempt to continue their run onwards and upwards.
The more notable of the two is Heavyweight hopeful Ivan Dychko (8-0, 8), who takes on Nate Heaven (9-2, 7). The talented, yet awful badly promoted Dychko, was originally pencilled in to fight Raphael Zumbano (39-16-1, 31) though Zumbano was later replaced by Heaven, who should pose of a test. Sadly for Dychko, a former amateur star, his competition has been awful and his activity has been less than great, and he's falling a long way behind some of his amateur contemporaries, such as Filip Hrgovic, Tony Yoka and Joe Joyce. If he stops Heaven, as expected, it's then a must for Dychko to step up in class.
The other Kazakh on this card is Mussa Tursyngaliyev (9-0, 6), who is pencilled in for a major step up in class as he takes on former world title challenger Ricardo Nunez (29-9, 23). On paper this looks a really tough match up for the unbeaten Tursyngaliyev however it should be noted that Nunez had his best wins down at Flyweight and Super Flyweight, and Tursyngaliyev is at Featherweight. Natural size difference will likely be the key between these two here.
The most notable show for us is in California where we two notable Asian fighters in action. One is defending a world title whilst the the other is kicking off his career properly, after a very stop-start to his professional boxing career.
The world champion is Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20), who will be making his 6th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title. Sadly for a man who has been a world champion for over 2 years Ancajas has had a disappointing reign, and it won't be helped here, as he takes on the little known Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7). The 22 year old Mexican challenger has never scored a win of note, fighting a draw in his most notable bouts. Ancajas should be mixing with the top Super Flyweight, who mostly seem to be wanting to fight each other, but instead is fighting third tier foes like this. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Ancajas returns to defend title against little known Mexican
Thankfully the other bout involving an Asian on this show is much more interesting, despite being less significant. That's because we'll finally see former Kazakh amateur star Janibek Alimkhanuly (2-0, 1) make his US debut, and take on the hard hitting Carlos Galvan (16-7-1, 15). The touted Alimkhanuly has had a very frustrating start to professional boxing, fighting once in 2016 and once in 2017, but now appears to have his mind set on becoming a full time professional. Galvan is no push over. Like many Colombian Galvan is a big puncher, but he also showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went the distance against Willie Monroe Jr. This is a great chance for Alimkhanuly to impress US audiences and to shine in front of new promoter Bob Arum.
A second Kazakh will be on this show, albeit in a minor role. That will be Askhat Ualikhanov (3-1, 2) who will be stepping up in class to take on 27 year old American fighter Angel Hernandez(13-10-2 8 KOs).
We also get a really interesting Kazakh Vs Colombian match up in Florida as the unbeaten Mussa Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6) takes foe Deivi Julio Bassa (20-5-0-1, 12) in a 10 round contest. The unbeaten Kazakh began his career on fire, winning his first 6 bouts in the space of 19 days. Since then however he's only fought once, stopping Luis Hinojosa. This is a big step up for Tursyngaliyev but the Colombian fighter has struggled in recent years, and has lost 3 of his last 4. A few years ago when Bassa lost his unbeaten record to Kenichi Ogawa, and since then he has really struggled. We expect that struggle to continue here.
In Asia the most interesting card is from China, where we get several title bouts with a number of notable names involved. We won't go through all the bouts, but we will look at 3 of them.
The most interesting is a China Vs Philippines contest, as Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) takes on OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC silver Flyweight title. On paper this doesn't look brilliant, but Tuolehazi is much better than his record suggests with a 7 fight unbeaten run, with some good wins during that run, including a 4th round TKO over Kwanthai Sithmorseng. Talking about good runs Raquinel has notched two big wins this year over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka to win and defense the OPBF title. This could be very competitive.
In a supporting bout at Lightweight Zhimin Wang (10-3, 3) will face off with Indonesian foe Hero Tito (27-13-2, 11) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. Again this doesn't look amazing but Wang isn't a push over, he's no world beater but on the Asian scene there are a lot of potential match ups for him to be involved in down the line. Tito is pretty much a regional journeyman if we're being honest but should take Wang the rounds in what could be an entertaining contest.
In a Heavyweight bout unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang (19-0, 15) will face off with American Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13) in what will be Zhang's first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. At the age of 35 Zhang can ill afford bouts at this level if he wants to move on to fighting for a world title. In theory this will help with his WBO ranking but little else. The 36 year old Hayenesworth does have power, and could be a risk if he can connect on Zhang, but has lost to the only notable name he's face, losing in 3 rounds to Bryant Jennings. We expect Zhang to win, but we don't really know why he's wasting his time with bouts against the likes of Haynesworth.
We are also getting a show from Japan, which doesn't look much on paper but is actually the second set of East Japan Rookie of the Year semi finals. The winners will face the winners from the bouts on Thursday. Given the fact there will be 10 bouts on this card we'll only take a snapshot and look at a few of the more interesting looking contests.
The Minimumweight bout here will see Masatora Okada (4-2, 2) face off with Shunsuke Isa (6-1, 1). Neither of these two are unbeaten but they do look well matched and we expect this to be 4 rounds of competitive action. Of the two men Okada is the older man, at 24, and is arguably the naturally trickier given he's a southpaw. However he has only won a single bout out of his last 3. Isa is 20 years old and has bounced back from his sole, to the 2017 East Japan Rookie of the Year, with a couple of decision wins. This could be very interesting and very competitive.
At Super Featherweight we see 21 year old's clash with Keita Hayashi (4-3, 3) facing off with Yusaku Sekishima (5-1, 3). Through his 7 fight career Hayashi has been a “stop or be stopped” fighter, with only 1 of his bouts going the distance. Whilst he can hit he can also be hurt. As for Sekishima he has been on a roll, and strung together 5 straight wins after a loss on debut. The form is certainly on Skeishima's side, but Hayashi's power could be the game changer.
At Welterweight the hard hitting Tetsuya Yoshimura (4-2-1, 3) will face off with the unbeaten Kojiro Nishikawa (3-0, 1). As with the aforementioned Hayashi we tend to see Yoshimura either stopping his foes, or scoring a stoppage, with only 2 of his 7 bouts going the distance. Saying that however it was his last 2 bouts that both went the schedule. At 30 years old Nishikawa will likely see the 2018 Rookie of the Year as the way to put himself on the map and will not be wanting to get this far for nothing.
East Jakarta, Indonesia
Another small show till take place in Indonesia, with Martin Daniel promoting the card.
The main event will see Andika Sabu (14-0, 7), also known as Andika D'Golden Boy, risk his unbeaten record against Melianus Mirin (9-5, 6). On paper this is a mismatch between the two Indonesian youngsters, but the realities is that Sabu isn't that proven and is actually the man stepping up in class here. Mirin has suffered his last couple of losses against talented Thai's and he certainly has the skills to give Sabu a test here.
On the under card Rivo Kundimang (5-0, 1) and Jufri Kakahure (1-0, 1) will be in action, as they both look at advance their career. Both will be facing local foes and looking to take a big step forward, towards bigger and better fights.