This coming Sunday there's two cards in Korea, one from Busan and one from Seoul.
Seoul, South Korea
The Seoul card, from the KBA, is the more interesting of the two shows. It's not a huge one but it does have the more notable names on it.
On paper the most significant bout is an 8 rounder between local Nam Jun Lee (10-6-3, 4) and Chinese foe Yong Peng (8-9-2, 5). The 36 year old Lee was last seen in the ring back in May, when he lost to Shuya Masaki. That Lee's only fight in the last 2 years, following solid wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera. The 27 year old Peng has been inconsistent since turning professional and he'll need a career best performance to pick up the win here, on his international debut.
In a solid supporting bout the once beaten Uzbek fighter Abdurasul Ismoilov (6-1, 3) will be up against unbeaten Chinese fighter Nuomin (4-0, 1). The 23 year old Ismoilov will be fighting for the first time since losing in a WBA Asia Lightweight title bout last September, to Hwang Kil Kim, but will be strongly favoured to get back to winning ways here. Aged 20 Nuomin is a young fighter who will be making his international debut and also stepping up, massively here.
In a female bout the unbeaten Bo Mi Re Shin (8-0-3, 3) will face off with Indian foe Suman Kumari (4-2-1, 1). The 25 year old Shin started her career 3-0-3 and since then has reeled off 5 straight wins and got her career up and running. Although Shin lacks a really big win, she did stop Chika Mizutani in 2018 and is building some real momentum. Kumari is 1-1 outside of India but would need a massive performance here to notch her second win on the road. Kumari will be giving away a lot of natural size here and will really struggle to keep the local fighter at bay. This could end up being an ugly mismatch.
Busan, South Korea
The other Korean show is a Boxing M card featuring very low level action.
The biggest bout here is a 6 rounder between Kook Min Moon (4-1-1, 2) and Dae Young Lee (2-12-2). On paper this isn't a particularly competitive bout, but we have seen Moon being dropped in the past and he is certainly not unbeatable. for fans who follow the Korean scene Moon is best known for his 75 second win over Yo Sub Lee, in a bout that saw both men being dropped. Lee on the other hand is 40 and has gone 0-6-2 since his last win, almost 2 years ago. This should be an easy win for Moon.
Pyeongtaek, South Korea
The first show of a new year takes place in Korea of all places, and in terms of importance it's a pretty significant one, with a trio of KBM title eliminators on it, along with an interesting looking international bout. Outside of Korea the show won't get much attention, but in Korea it's a card very much, worthy of note.
The main event will see local hopeful Nam Jun Lee (10-6-3, 4) take on Filipino fighter Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3). The 35 year old Korean is no world beater, but against the right opponent he can make for good fights, and his record does have good wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera. The 27 year old Paredes has won 5 of his last 6, but returns to Korea following a loss there in November to Gyung Mo Yuh.
In a KBM title eliminator at 154lbs we'll see Yoo Seung Jun (6-1) battle against Seung Hee Lee (4-6, 1). The form book strongly backs Jun, but the 27 year old was beaten last time out, by Sung Min Yuh, and we're interested to see how he bounces back. Lee did win last time out, but is 2-4 in his last 6, and it's hard to imagine scoring back to back wins here.
Talented 18 year old hopeful Sung Min Yuh (3-0) had to battle hard for his 3 wins in 2019 but actually appears to be in an easier fight here than he was last time out. Yuh faces off with Se Yul Yang (3-4-2, 1) in what is another KBM Light Middleweight eliminator. Interesting Yuh gave the previously mentioned Yoo Seung Jun his only defeat, and wins for both on this show would likely set up a rematch for late Spring.
Another youngster in an eliminator is the touted Da Won Gang (3-0, 1), who takes on Jin Soo Kim (6-7-1, 3) at 140lbs. This bout hard been arranged for prior to the new year, but was delayed, and added to this card, where it really fits well as a third title eliminator.
This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for Asian fight fans, with a notable show in Japan and the Philippines, and then fighters from those two countries colliding in California at the end of the day. As well as the major shows there is also a small card in Singapore.
The biggest bout of the day is, obviously, the US bout, which will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22). For Ancajas the bout will serve as his 7th defense of the title, which he won back in September 2016, and will be his third mandatory. The champion really under-performed last time out, narrowly holding on to the belt against Alejandro Santiago Barrios, and would be expected to put on a better showing here. Funai on the other hand is an unknown outside of Japan, though is a former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific champion who has mixed in good company, with bouts against the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, Rolly Lunas, Sho Ishida and Warlito Parrenas. The challenger has earned this shot, winning an eliminator last year, but will be regarded as a clear under-dog. A full preview of this bout is available here - Ancajas takes on mandatory challenger Funai
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to attend a Teiken promoted card at Korakuen Hall. Sadly this will only be shown on tape delay, meaning those not in the venue will have to wait to see the bouts.
The main event here will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) defending his title in a mandatory bout against Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4), in what is their second meeting. These two fought in February 2018, when Sueyoshi had to recover from a knockdown to stop Osato in the 8th round. Since then Sueyoshi has gone 1-0-1, fighting to a draw over 12 rounds with Hironori Mishiro, and will be looking for bigger bouts later in the year. Osato on the other has scored back to back decision wins since losing to Sueyoshi, but this is a step up from those wins. A full preview of this bout is available here Sueyoshi looks to over-come Osato again!
The chief support bout here will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (11-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Nam Jun Lee (10-5-3, 4). For Masaki the bout is the first since his narrow win over Izuki Tomioka last year, in what was his third bout of 2018. It's notable Lee's first bout since June 2017. Notably the 35 year old Korean has had a very stop start Korea, but does hold notable wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera, so could be a better test than his record suggests.
Another very notable bout on this card is the Japanese debut of Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1), who debuted last year in the US. The talented and touted Iwata will face 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-2-1, 2), in a very, very interesting match up. Iwata won his debut but didn't look sensational, and this could prove to be too much too soon for the former amateur standout, and a huge chance for the 22 year old Kameyama to build on his Rookie success.
Other interesting bouts on this card include Junpei Tsujimoto (4-1-3, 2) battling against Tetsuya Yoshimura (5-3-1, 4) and Hiroki Yajima (9-7-3, 4) facing off with Mirai Imagawa (9-5, 3), with both Imagawa and Tsujimoto having won Rookie of the Year in recent years. There will also be a chance for the hard hitting Yamato Hata (7-1, 7) to pick up another win, as he takes on Indonesian Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3), in what should be a straight forward bout for the local.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Of course it's not just Japan that has a great show but also the Philippines, with ESPN5 set to show a title fest from Metro Manila, with this show being aired live.
The pick of the bouts here is another Philippines Vs Japan clash, as Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) looks to defense his WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title against in form Japanese fighter Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4). The 21 year old Toyogon will be seeking his second defense here, and will be looking to record a 6th straight win as he continues to develop into a very solid fighter. Sagawa on the other hand gets his first title shot, and he clearly deserves it on the back of wins against Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto and Shingo Kawamura. This is probably the more intriguing bout of the day, even more saw than the world title bout. A full preview of this bout is available here Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title!
A second WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title fight takes place at Bantamweight and will see the heavy handed Jun Blazo (11-6-3, 8) take on Benezer Alolod (19-11-5, 7). Blazo has lost 4 of his last 7, but has spun off 3 straight wins coming into this bout and will be confident of extending that run. Alolod is very much Mr Inconsistent with a 6-6 record in his last 12. Hard to get a read on this, but if both are up for it we could get a very good fight.
In a GAB Lightweight title fight Roldan Aldea (12-7-1, 7) will be seeking his first defense, as he takes on Rey Ramos (8-11-2, 3), in what looks like a mismatch whilst 5lbs north we'll see Jheritz Chavez (8-3-2, 6) seek his second defense of the GAB Light Welterweight title, facing off with Junar Adante (7-11-1, 4). Sadly neither of these domestic title bouts look particularly competitive.
In Singapore local hopeful Nurshahidah Roslie (12-2, 9) will be seeking a 5th straight win as she takes on Thai novice Suphansa Phooong (1-0), in what looks like a mismatch, over 6 rounds. Roslie isn't the huge star that Singaporean boxing needs to really kick-start something but the Thai is an inexperienced teenager, and will be making her international debut.