Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter this coming Saturday takes place in the US in what is essentially a world title eliminator at 122lbs. The match up in question will see unbeaten American hopeful Ra'eese Aleem (19-0, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Mike Plania (26-1, 13) in what is a genuinely match watering match up. The 31 year old Aleem is incredibly fun to watch, and comes into whilst being regarded as a top 15, is not top 10, contender following notable wins over Vic Pasillas and Eduardo Baez. As for Plania he looked set for something big in 2020, when he beat Joshua Greer Jr, but has lost that momentum coming into this bout, and will know that he needs to perform like he did against Greer if he's going to reinject some much needed fire into his career. We expect this to be a barn burner, given the styles of the two men, but Plania will need to be at his very best to over-come Aleem.
World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the major fight in the US we also get some pretty notable action in Dubai, with several notably prospects in action.
On paper the best of the bouts on the Dubai card will see unbeaten Filipino fighter Jayson Vayson (9-0-1-1, 5) take on exciting Indian fighter Nutlai Lalbiakkima (4-0, 4), in what could be a very special bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. Vayson comes in to this on the back of a very controversial bout with Tibo Monabesa, which saw the WBC declare the bout a no-contest due to the controversial decision that went to Monabesa. He also holds a very notable draw against Rene Mark Cuarto. As for Lalbiakkima he comes into this having been a wrecking ball on the Indian scene, with his 4 wins so far coming in just 7 rounds. The winner of this won't get a world title fight immediately, but will certainly become one to watch.
Lalbiakkima isn't the only unbeaten Indian hopeful on this card, another is Laldingliana (3-0, 2), who also takes a step up in class as he battles Kazakh fighter Alimzhan Tursunov (4-1, 3), who was beaten last time out and has been out of the ring for around 18 months. Hard to say much about this one, given neither has really faced anyone of any note, but it should be a very interesting bout, and given it's scheduled for 8 we should see the two men needing to prove their stamina and resolve.
Another Indian fighter on this card is Manish Ahlawat (3-2-1, 2) who battled unbeaten Pakistani hopeful Muzafar Khan (9-0, 8). On paper this looks like an easy win for Khan, but his opponents so far have been absolutely awful, and this is the first time he's faced someone with more than 2 bouts to their name. As for Ahlawat he has lost his last 2, but has gone 6 rounds in those losses and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.
One other bout worthy of some attention is a 6 Heavyweight bout pitting unbeaten American Norman Neely (12-0, 8) against Azeri novice Surat Garayev (1-0), who is taking a huge step up this early in his career. Neely has a nice looking record, but really hasn't beaten anyone of note, and is something of an untested fighter, which is disappointing for a 33 year old with 1 bouts. As for Garayev he debuted in December, beating a 5-0 fighter, and will be looking to record another win here and put himself on the fast track to facing a notable foe.
As well as the action in the US and in Dubai we also have action in the Philippines, with two shows in the country. One of those is in Masbate, with a mouth watering main event
That main event will see two unbeaten men collide, as Criztian Pitt Laurente (9-0, 6) takes on Richard Bulacan (8-0, 6), in what is a real test for both fighters. The 22 year old Laurente has long been tipped as one to watch by those who followed him in the amateurs, and whilst clearly talented he hasn't yet set the world on fire and a lot of his competition has been poor, Ernesto Saulong being the only real exception to that. As for Balucan he has scored a few solid, low key, wins such as beating Rimon Rama, Vergel Deguma and Anthony Sabalde. The winner of this really should be looking at a title fight later in the year, whilst the loser can certainly bounce back.
In a supporting bout we'll see Prince Andrew Laurio (11-3-1, 8) in action against Mark Jequinto (4-9-1). Laurio was once 10-0-1 but has struggled in recent years, going 1-3 in his last 4 and he will be looking to rebuild. It's hard to imagine Jequinto to put up much of a fight here given he has lost his last 4.
Kitaotao Gym, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, Philippines
The other Filipino show takes place in Bukidnon and is less interesting than the Masbate one.
One of the main bouts here will see Ryan James Racaza (11-0, 7) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the very limited Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-18-5, 3). Typically this is a bout that we would complain about, but Racaza has been out of the ring since the end of 2019 and it's clear the focus is on him shaking some ring rust and getting back in to action. Ramayan on the other hand has only a single win in the last decade and has gone 1-12-4 in his last 17 bouts dating back around 10 years.
The only other bout worthy of some attention here will see the one beaten Christian Bacolod (13-1, 9) take on Jay R Tulinan (4-5, 2). Sadly Bacolod has been relatively inactive since his 2019 loss to Thanongsak Simsri, with just a single bout since that one, and this bout is about getting him some ring time, against someone who has lost their last 4 bouts. A bit of a nothing contest for a talented 27 year old hopeful.