The day we've all been waiting for is finally upon us and we finally get the WBSS Bantamweight final, in what is, by far, the most high profile card in Japan this year. In fact it's one of the highest profile cards in Japan in a very long time.
The Saitama Super Arena plays host to the biggest show in Japan this year, with more than 20,000 fans in attendance and international TV exposure as DAZN show the bout in the US. This is a card we've literally been waiting for since May and is a true highlight for the year.
The big bout will see Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) take on rising Japanese mega star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) in what is not only the WBSS Bantamweight final but also a bout for the IBF and WBA "super" titles at Bantamweight. Entertaining the bout Donaire is the WBA "super" champion and is going through an unexpected late career surge, though one that has been helped with injuries to Ryan Burnett and Zolani Tete. Although not the fighter he once was Donaire is still a huge puncher and a massive through, if he lands clean. Inoue, the IBF and WBA "unified" champion, will know a win cements his place as one of the new faces of boxing, and the pressure really is all on him given the attention the bout is getting in Japan. If the "Monster" picks up a win here it really open up huge doors for him going forward, whilst a win for Donaire will almost certainly secure his place as a first ballot hall of famer. A full and very comprehensive preview of this bout can be read here The WBSS Final - Inoue Vs Donaire
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the WBC Bantamweight title being unified as French-Morrocan Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) takes on Japan's Takuma Inoue (13-0, 4). Entering the bout Oubaali will be looking for his second defense of the title, whilst Inoue will be looking to become a full world champion after reigning as the WBC interim champion since December. Whilst the attention will be on the main event this is an excellent match up, and will see the calculated and intelligent pressure and power of Oubaali up against the intelligent boxing and movement of Inoue. This could have headlined a normal show and makes for a sensational supporting bout. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Takuma Inoue goes up against Nordine Oubaali for WBC crown
Also on this show will be a couple of Teiken prospects. One of those will be Katsuya Fukui (1-0, 1), who goes up against Thai foe Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-3, 2) and the other will be Shokichi Iwata (3-0, 2), who will take on Mexican visitor Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-1). Both of these bouts are scheduled for 6 rounds, with Iwata expected to be moved into title bouts in 2020, if he gets past Valladares here.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a bout of note for us in the US where the unbeaten Santiago Dominguez (19-0, 15) takes on Uzbek fighter Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-2, 13). The unbeaten Dominguez has scored stoppages in his last 7 bouts and has looked destructive going through recent competition in the US and Mexico. Sadly Hudaynazarov has no form coming into this, following back to back losses, in 2018 to Ronald Cruz and 2019 to John Vera, in what are his only 2 bouts over the last 5 years. We really can't see the Uzbek picking up a win here.
This coming Saturday isn't a massive day for fight fans from Asia, but yet does have some really big bouts, including a WBSS semi-final and a female going for a world title in just her 4th professional bout.
The WBSS semi-final is a Bantamweight world title unification bout that really does look amazing. The bout will see Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25) look to build on his surprising, albeit anti-climatic, win over Ryan Burnett as he takes on South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21). The bout will see the WBA "Super" and WBO Bantamweight titles being unified and will pit boxer-puncher against slipper boxer and we're expecting something very tense and very compelling. A full preview of this bout is available here Donaire and Tete to battle for WBSS final place!
As well as the WBSS bout we also get a card in Osaka thanks to Shinsei, who put on a bit of a female boxing showcase. The card isn't the deepest but the two main bouts, both scheduled for 10 rounds, are worthy of note.
The co-feature sees 3-time world champion Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) set her eyes on the WBC title, the one belt that has eluded her, as she takes on Thai youngster Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (5-2, 3) in a WBC female Minimumweight title eliminator. At 37 Tada is no spring chicken, but with recent wins over Naoko Shibata and Kayoko Ebata in her last 2 there's still plenty of life left in her. Aged 20 Kanyarat is a baby faced fighter, who has amazing been a professional for over 4 years, and whilst she is 0-2 outside of Thailand she did manage a big win last time out over Umi Ishikawa, which has helped her secure this contest. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Tada and Kanyarat battle in eliminator!
The other main bout on this card will see unbeaten youngster Kasumi Saeki (3-0, 2) battle for a world title in just her 4th professional bout, as she takes on Elisabeth Lopez (6-1-4, 1) in a bout for the WBO female Minimumweight world title fight, a belt that Tada recently vacated. Saeki looks like a sensation, she's sharp, quick, agile, accurate and looks the real deal. A genuinely fantastic young fighter with the world at her fists.Lopez will be fighting outside of Latin America for the first time, and could be in for a rude awakening here against someone we tip to be one of the faces of female boxing in the years to come. We've also previewed this bout, with that preview available here Saeki goes for world title in fight #4!
The best single bout to feature an Asian fighter comes from Glasgow, where legendary Filipino Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24) takes on WBA Bantamweight “super” champion Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9) in the final WBSS Bantamweight quarter final. This has the potential to be Donaire's last bout, if he loses, given he turns 36 on November 16th, but a win secures him a semi-final bout against Zolani Tete. For the unbeaten Burnett the bout is a chance to score a big win over a huge name in the lower weights, as well as setting himself up for a bout with Tete. This is real must win for both men, but sadly has the potential to be a bit of a stinker with Burnett likely to be too quick, too smart and too elusive for the Filipino veteran. A full preview of this bout can be read here Burnett and Donaire face off for final semi-final place!
The most notable card for us this coming Saturday comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get a Japanese Middleweight title bout and bouts featuring several notable Japanese prospects.
The Japanese title bout will see Japanese Middleweight king Kazuto Takesako (9-0, 9) make his first defense, as he faces off with former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-6, 6). The unbeaten champion won the title earlier this year, decimating Hikaru Nishida in 92 seconds, and since then has fought only a stay busy bout against tough Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong. Former champion Sasaki had a 4 month reign from last 2012 to early 2013 but is 1-5 coming into this bout and looks to be a very under-whelming challenger for the heavy handed champion. It's nice to see Takesako defend the title, but it's a shame that he's not in there with a man anyone is giving much of a chance to. A preview of this title fight can be read here Takesako's first defense sees him takes on former champion!
In a supporting bout Masaya Tamayama (11-1, 6) will battle against Daijiro Yuki (8-4-1, 4). Coming in to this the 25 year old Tamayama is riding a 7 fight winning streak, and has broken into the JBC rankings at Welterweight. Yuki, also 25, is unbeaten his last 2 bouts but is 3-4-1 in his last 8, and has been stopped twice. We can't see anything but a win for Tamayama, but we do expect him to have to earn it.
Another supporting bout will see Daiki Funayama (7-3-1, 2) take a part in his first 8 rounder, as he takes on once beaten puncher Kenta Yamada (5-1-1, 4). Funayama has won his last 4, though has had to go the distance in those wins, and seems to lack power, even at the low end of the domestic level. Yamada on the other hand will be fighting for the first time in over 2 years. Although no world beater Yamada does hold a notable win over Kazuki Sanpei and will be looking to get himself back on the domestic map here.
One of the notable prospects is Jin Minamide (1-0, 1), who will take a notable step up in class to face Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-2, 4). On paper this looks like a great match up for the young prospects, though digging beneath the surface we do wonder what Tanamor really brings to the ring following back to back stoppage losses, and a 0-2 record in fights outside of the Philippines. Despite Tanamor not being a great opponent we are looking forward to seeing how Minamide goes about his business here
Another of the prospects on this show is the debuting Masahiro Suzuki (0-0), who is scheduled to take on Antonio Sismundo (6-1, 6). Suzuki is a touted fighter who is a notable Japanese amateur with a lot of expectation on his shoulders, and he's been matched aggressively here against a man who clearly has power. Sismundo has stopped 6 men inside the first 3 rounds, but was stopped himself in his sole defeat back in September 2017.
Staying in Asia we also get a title double header in the Philippines, though neither match looks particularly competitive.
One of them will see Eranio Semillano (16-9-3, 5) and Edison Berwela (16-39-8, 5) battle for the PBF Bantamweight title. It's hard to imagine Semillano losing here, but Berwela is a live under-dog and did shock the Asian scene earlier this year when he stopped Saenganan Sithsaithong way back in January. It should be noted that since that upset win Berwela has lost his last 2 bouts.
The other bout will be for the PBF Super Flyweight bout and will see Cris Alfante (14-7-1, 6) take on Zoren Pama (8-14-3, 5). Alfante has mixed with great competition, such as Knockout CP Freshmart, Andrew Moloney and Daigo Higa, and we suspect that he will have far too much for Pama, who lacks a win of any note, though did surprisingly go 7 rounds before losing a technical decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2014.
There will also be a couple of bouts of note in Texas where two Kazakh prospects will be in action.
One of those prospects will be the very highly touted Janibek Alimkhanuly (3-0, 1), who faces off against Vaughn Alexander (12-1, 8) in what looks like an excellent test for the unbeaten man. The 25 year old Kazakh southpaw failed to really shine in his US debut, back in September, but he is a genuine talent and the expectation is that he will adapt to the professional ranks quickly. The once beaten Alexander is looking to bounce back from an August loss to Dennis Doughlin, and will not be coming in to this bout to lose. This should be an excellent test for Alimkhanuly.
The other prospect is less hyped Sagadat Rakhmankul (3-0, 1), who hunts his fourth win as he takes on the once beaten Nicklaus Flaz (5-1, 4). The unbeaten Rakhmankul has been impressive so far, following a debut this past February, and will be looking to close out the year with arguably his best win so far, as the 25 year old looks to move to the next level. Flaz is a 22 year old Puerto Rican who was beaten last time out by Hurshidbek Normatov and will be looking to get back to winning ways, though sadly hasn't fought since that Normatov bout back in December 2017.
This coming Saturday is a strange day for Asian fight fans, with not a lot happening, but what is happening is really important. If you prefer quality over quantity than this is a stand out day, if you prefer quantity then you may just need to wait until Sunday, which will be very busy day for fans of Asian fighters.
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
The most notable bout to feature and Asian fighter comes from Belfast as Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24) takes on former 2-weight champion Carl Frampton (24-1, 14) in a real must win for both men. The bout, for the WBO “interim” Featherweight title will see the winner remain firmly in the mix at world level, but it will be very hard to see where the loser goes next.
Aged 35 Donaire is on the slide, but is almost certainly a future Hall of Famer having won world titles from Flyweight to Featherweight and beaten the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane, Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Omar Andres Narvaez, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jorge Arce and Simpiwe Vetyeka. A win over Frampton would be yet another big win for Donaire, but a big ask at this point in his career. Frampton is the younger fighter at 31 and although his only loss was a razor thin one to Leo Santa Cruz last year he has gone through some wars, and is a fighter who has, at times, looked to be feeling the toll of tough bouts with the likes of Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, Scott Quigg, two bouts with Leo Santa Cruz and Horacia Garcia. On paper Frampton has a lot more left than Donaire, but he really was given a scare by the tough but relatively limited Garcia last time out and it could well be that the hard fights have caught up with him.
Unfortunately for the winner of this they will be in line to face the fearsome Oscar Valdez, which is seemingly more of a punishment than a reward right now.
We get a rare high quality all-Thai bout in Bangkok as well, as former world title challenger Nawaphon Por Chokchai (40-1, 32) takes on former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng (18-2, 6) in a very interesting match up. Fight fans may remember Nawaphon looking terrible in March 2017, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Juan Hernandez Navarrete, and whilst that wasn't a great performance it does seem like some of that was down to the weight of the Thai who has now moved up to Super Flyweight. Between January 2014 and June 2015 Amnat was the IBF Flyweight champion, and had gone on a great run with wins against Rocky Fuentes, Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and John Riel Casimero. That however was almost 3 years ago, and he has looked a faded fighter since then.
Amnat will have the trickery to really test Nawaphon, whilst Nawaphon will have the youth. The loser really will have no where to go, whilst the winner may find themselves thrown back into the fringes of the WBC world rankings, which would be a reward for winning the for claiming the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Flyweight title.
The one bout that stands out as a sore thumb will come from Australia as local fighter Sara George (2-4, 1) battles Australian based Thai Monthida Rattanachai (0-2) for the vacant Australia - Queensland State Female Flyweight title. There may be a title on the line here, but it's very hard to care about the bout given that Monthida has never scored a win and George hasn't fought in over 6 years!
The most notable bout for Asian fight fans this Saturday is in Texas where we'll see a Filipino icon in action as Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) returns to the ring for the first time since losing the WBO Super Bantamweight title to Jessie Magdaleno last November. The “Filipino Flash” has been training in Japan for his return, which sees him moving back up to Featherweight to face Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9) in a contest for the WBC Silver title. Although he has been inactive, and is 34, Donaire should have far too much for Hernandez.
In California there is another notable Filipino in action, as the heavy handed Romero Duno (14-1, 13) returns to the States for the first time since his break out win over Christian Gonzalez. The hard hitting Pinoy puncher will be up against Mexican veteran Juan Pablo Sanchez (30-13, 14). Duno should have too much fire power for his Mexican foe, who has been stopped 8 times, but Sanchez does appear to be than his record suggests and his last couple of losses, have been in competitive decisions against Rene Alvarado and Antonio Moran, both solid punchers.
More Asian fighters are in action in the US as a number of fighters from Central Asia fight on a card in Louisiana.
In the main event we'll see 21 year old Tajik hopeful Mekhrubon Sanginov (4-0, 3) take on American Cameron Burroughs (4-1-0-1, 3) for the WBC Youth Middleweight title. Sanginov has been a professional for just under a year but has impressed with 3 quick wins and a bizarre split decision in Poland where one judge appears to have been watching a different fight to everyone else. This should be a really interesting and looks to be very well matched, though neither man has has got many rounds under their belt, which could make this contest sloppy if it gets to the later rounds.
Also on this card are Balaussa Muzdiman (0-0), Iskander Kharsan (1-0, 1) and Ali Baloyev (1-0, 1) who will all be facing limited looking opposition as they look to take their next step in their professional journey.
Fight fans in Japan are set for a bit of a strange card with a trio of notable names, all taking on very weak opposition.
In the main event the always fun to watch Tatsuya Takahashi (26-7-5, 19) will be up against limited Thai visitor Chatphet Saithonggym (0-2) in what should be an easy win for Takahashi, following a technical decision loss to Jetro Pabustan earlier this year. Although Takahashi is a very fun to watch fighter it's unlikely this will be too exciting, with the bout likely designed to give Takahashi an easy win.
Another mismatch will see big punching Japanese Welterweight Yuki Beppu (15-0-1, 15) take on an unnamed Thai foe. This will be Beppu's second bout since drawing with Charles Bellamy back in January and we're expecting another early finish for the 26 year old banger.
Arguably the most interesting bout on this card will see novice Tetsuya Watanabe (1-0), who is touted as once to watch, take on the always entertaining and charming Takuya Yamaguchi (3-8-2, 2). It's hard to imagine Yamaguchi winning, but he will throw leather with bad intentions and could well test Watanabe's resolve and chin in a potentially interesting contest.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
We get yet another Asian show with action in Malaysia, as we see FH Promotions give several fighters a chance to shine.
One of those looking to impress here is Azizbek Abdugofurov (7-0, 4), who was originally scheduled to face Ibrahim Tamba (21-8-1, 14) but is now listed as facing a TBA, presumably a late replacement for Tamba who appears to be out of the bout. Abdugofurov is regarded as one of the top Uzbek prospects and has quickly climbed into the top 25 on boxrec due to notable wins over the likes of Chaloemporn Singwancha, Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios. It's likely his bout here will just be a stay busy, but he really is one to watch.
Another unbeaten man looking to extend his record is local favourite Muhamad Farkhan (4-0, 4), who will want to shine in front of his loyal fans as he takes on Thai visitor Khundon Chaiyonggym (8-3, 8). It's fair to say that Farkhan will have all the fans behind him and should win, but this is a small step up for the local hero.
On paper one bout that does have promise will see Filipino fighters collide as Jeson Umbal (15-5, 10) takes on Jon Jon Estrada (10-3-1,9). For Umbal this bout will be his 4th in Malaysia, where he is 3-0 (1) and will see him look to continue his 7 fight winning run. As for Estrada this bout will be his first outside of the Philippines. Given his power Estrada is a real threat to the rise of Umbal and this could be a very exciting and hard hitting bout, which should thrill the fans.
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines there will be two shows, but the most notable is in Metro Manila.
In the main event of this card we'll see the talented pairing of Glenn Suminguit (19-3, 10) and Renoel Pael (21-6-1, 11) battle for the GAB Bantamweight title, with Suminguit looking for his firs defense of the title. Suminguit won the title a year ago, stopping Alvin Bais in 3 rounds for the vacant title, but has only fought once since then, losing in Super Bantamweight bout, and could well have some ring rust coming in to this one. As for Pael the bout will see is confidence being checked, with the once touted Leyte man being 2-5 in his last 7, and really struggling for form.
In supporting bouts we'll see the Elorde brothers take on two over-matched Indonesians. Juan Miguel Elorde (23-1, 12) will be up against Afrizal Tamboresi (11-6, 6), who has lost his last 4 and been stopped in his last 3 and Juan Martin Elorde (22-1-1, 9) will be up against veteran Arief Blader (23-24-2, 8), who has won 1 of his last 5. It's hard to imagine of the Elorde's losing here in what are really mismatches.
What could turn out to be an interesting contest is set to see Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4) take on the tough and under-rated Jayar Diama (7-11-7, 3). Although it looks one sided on paper it needs to be noted that Diama is much better than the numbers suggest and he could be a real handful for Berondo, who is best known for suffering a stoppage loss to the exceptional Hinata Maruta.
In a second Filipino show we'll see a card headlined by a bout between Roilo Golez (16-18-1, 7) and Diarh Gabutan (19-6-3,10). Coming in to this one Golez is totally out of form, losing 7 of his last 8 bouts by stoppage. Whilst Golez has mixed with some good company he's also suffered lossesto limited foes, like Geboi Mansalayao and it's fair hard to say that Gabutan should pick up the win here. Saying that however Golez' only win in his last 8 bouts, was actually a 5th round KO against Gabutan, who knows he cannot afford another loss, especially not to Golez.
Also in Asia there is a show in Singapore, featuring a number of fighters from across Asia.
In a high profile female bout local star Nurshahidah Roslie (6-1, 4) will take on Thai visitor Sriphrae Nongkipahuyuth (12-4-2, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female and OPBF Female Featherweight titles. This will give both fighters something to fight for, and we do expect them to have a proper fight here, but it's hard to imagine the visitor having the power needed to really test Roslie.
Another local in action is unbeaten Super Middleweight hopeful Rafi Majid (5-0, 5), who takes on Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (7-13-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Middleweight title. Majid has blitzed his first 5 opponents, in a combined 7 rounds, and will likely do the same here, against a naturally smaller man who has been stopped 9 times already n 23 fights.
Another fight where we'd expected to see someone beat an Indonesian is a contest that will feature Filipino fighter Jun Tapale (22-9-1, 8) battling Indon Rusmin Kie Raha (15-13-3, 3). Although Tapale isn's a huge puncher Raha has been stopped in 8 of his 13 losses and we could see a 9th here. Raha's best hope is to see out the final bell, but it's hard to imagine him really testing the Filipino.
The biggest card of the weekend comes from Nevada where fight fans will get 4 world title bouts, all involving Asian fighters, in fact from the 4 bouts there are 5 Asian's in action.
The highest profile of the bouts sees multi-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38) battle against WBO Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10) in what will be Pacquiao's ring return after a short lived retirement. The Filipino sensation is the clear betting favourite but is close to 38 years old and will be the much smaller man in the ring. For Vargas the bout sees him facing his first legend and a win for the once beaten American will open huge doors, and legitimise his world title reign.
At Featherweight we see little known Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19) take on WBO champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18), in what is Valdez's first defense. The Japanese fighter is a former OPBF champion but this is a massive step up in class for him and he hasn't really fought anyone of much renown in a while, with perhaps his best recent win being over prospect Kosuke Saka. Valdez is earmarked as a potential Mexican super star and with his style, power and skills he has the potential be one of the biggest things in boxing, and we think that will be shown here.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Filipino champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24) defending his WBO title against the unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17), in what is likely to be the best bout on the card. Donaire will be making the second defense of his title and although there are question marks over what he has left in the tank this is a massive step up for the challenger. The bout should tell us how good Magdaleno is and just how much Donaire has left.
In an all Asian bout we'll see Chinese star Zou Shiming (8-1, 2) battle Thailand's Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym (39-1-2, 24) in a second bout between the two men, with them now fighting for the WBO Flyweight title. These two have fought before, fighting in Macau where Shiming dominated Kwanpichit on route to a very wide decision, and we suspect we'll see the same again here, though he has has been relatively inactive whilst Kwanpichit has been stringing together low level stoppage wins in his homeland.
In Japan we get another live televised card courtesy of G+, who are showing a Gushiken card featuring several notable names.
In the main event of the show we'll see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) defending his title for the first time as he takes on Filipino challenger Felipe Cagubcob Jr (6-2-5, 2). The exciting Higa is one of the fastest rising prospects in world boxing today and is looking to build on quick victories over Romel Oliveros and Ardin Diale earlier this year. Cagubcob is looking to build on a career best win over Donny Mabao back in July and avenge Higa's wins over several Filipino fighters in recent years.
Originally one of the key support bout was supposed to see former OPBF and JBC title challenger Shingo Eto (17-5-1, 9) take on the fast rising Shuya Masaki (5-0, 2). Sadly Eto has been injured in the build up to the show and has been replaced by Thailand's Tienchai Yoongkaogym (2-6, 1), in what is a much less interesting bout. We are looking forward to seeing Masaki back in action but it's hard to deny that what we've been left with is a long way from what was originally announced.
There is still one Eto brother fighting on this card with former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (18-4-1, 13) taking on Jun Blazo (5-1-3, 5) in the chief support bout. The bout will be Eto's second since his 2015 loss to Carlos Cuadras in a WBC Super Flyweight world title bout, and he'll be hoping for a much more fluent performance than he had in May against Michael Escobia, in a bout that was surprisingly competitive. Blazo is limited but has won his last 3 by stoppage and is the type of fighter we've see Eto over-look before.
Mox Power Promotions put on their next Chinese card with a low profile card in Zhengzhou. The show is low profile but features 5 bouts, all scheduled for 6 rounds, and all featuring at least one debutant.
On another lower profile show, this time in Australia, we'll see the win-less Maks Chylewski (0-2) take on tough Thai loser Pramool Boonpok (1-26-1),in what could potentially be an interesting bout, despite the obvious limitations of both fighters.
Recent weeks have seen a rise in fights of note, and that's certainly the case this coming Saturday with a host of fights featuring Asian fighters, 3 of which feature world title bouts.
The most notable of those world title bouts comes in California as Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 21) defends his WBA “super”, IBF and WBC “interim” titles against IBF mandatory challenger Dominic Wade (18-0, 12). The bout pits unbeaten fighters together but the reality is that the bout is widely seen as a mismatch with Golovkin a clear favourite and a man who is simply destroying the contenders at 160lbs as he continues to hunt more titles and unifications bouts.
Another of the world title bouts headlines a card in the Philippines and, like the bout in California, this one is also viewed as a mismatch.
The world title bout in question will see WBO Super Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (36-3, 23) defending his title against the very unqualified Hungarian challenger Zsolt Bedak (25-1, 8). For Donaire the bout will be his first since reclaiming the title in December, winning a very competitive bout with Cesar Juarez, and it's an easy first defense if we're being honest. Bedak has only lost once, losing by 10th round TKO to Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, but has done nothing since that loss to deserve a world title fight.
Whilst the world title bout on this show is likely to be a exercise in pointlessness for the champion the show does feature a really tasty looking support bout as the touted Mark Magsayo (13-0, 10) battles former world title challenger Chris Avalos (26-4, 19) in a bout for the WBO International Featherweight title. Avalos has lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, but this should be a good test for Magsayo who is stepping up in quality fight by fight.
On the under card are several notable fighters, one of which is Light Welterweight contender Jason Pagara (37-2, 23) who faces off against Mexican Miguel Zamudio (35-8-1, 21), who is best known for his exploits down at Featherweight, where fought for a WBA interim title. Sadly given the natural size difference this looks to be another mismatch in favour of the local favourite who seems to be treading water.
Another undercard bout will see former world title challenger Rocky Fuentes (36-8-2, 21) ace off against Romnick Magos (12-5, 7, in what looks like a safe fight for Fuentes. The bout will be the “Road Warrior's” second contest since his stoppage loss to Roman Gonzalez in late 2014 and looks to be a case of staying busy rather than anything else. As for Magos the “Daredevil” will be looking for a career best result, though is unlikely to find it here.
The third world title fight to feature an Asian will see Filipino Richie Mepranum (31-4-1, 8) battle against WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (34-0-1, 26). On paper this is a mismatch in favour of the Mexican champion, who is looking for his 6th defense of the title, but Mepranum has got experience at this level and holds a notable win over Hernan Marquez. Saying that however Cuadras should be too big and too good for the challenger. Notably however the winner of this will go into a mandatory title bout against Thailand's all action Srisaket Sor Rungvisai later in the year.
In the US fans will get their first chance to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (20-5, 13), who makes his US debut against Texan Carlos Villa (11-2-1, 6). The bout should be a win for the under-rated Sakai, though travelling to Villa's home state may make things difficult for Sakai,
Metro Manila, Philippines
Back in the Philippines fans get a low level domestic card, with the most notable bout being a contest between former world ranked fighter Renan Trongco (17-6, 10) and domestic journeyman Ricky Oyan (4-27-2, 2), in what should be a straight forward win for Trongco.
This coming Friday is a really busy day in Asian boxing with shows in Japan and China as well as notable bouts outside of Asia.
The most notable the Asian shows is a Shinsei promoted card from Hyogo which features a former 2-weight world champion, a female world title bout and several notable prospects.
The former world champion in action is the legendary Hozumi Hasegawa (34-5, 15) who will be dipping his toes at Super Featherweight as he faces the world ranked Mexican fight Carlos Andres Ruiz Machuca (14-1, 5). For Hasegawa this is a step up in weight but potentially could see him make a move towards a world title fight at 130lbs in 2016. For Ruiz it's a monstrous step up in class as he faces his most notable opponent so far.
The co-feature of this show is a female world title bout that sees former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (14-2-2, 4) face of against Mexican Kareli Lopez (8-5-3, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF female Minimumweight title. Tada was originally scheduled to be facing Victoria Argueta but Argueta is out and has been replaced by Lopez, who really shouldn't test a fighter as talented as Tada.
The most notable of the fighters on the under-card is the unbeaten Reiya Konishi (9-0, 4). The unbeaten 22 year old will be up against Shogo Hayashi (7-2, 4) in a really good looking 8 rounder. Konishi came to our attention last year, when he won the Rookie of the Year, and has already won a couple of 8 rounders this year. For the youngster this is a step up but a step up that he will be expected to make without too many problems.
Another notable Minimumweight youngster in against here is Ryuya Yamanaka (10-2, 2), a 20 year old title hopeful. Yamanaka will be up against the light punching Ryo Narizuka (7-6) in what looks like a stay busy fight for Yamanaka before a potential title fight in 2016. Although Yamanaka isn't a prospect with much fanfare he will know that a win would do and he will also know that a loss will cost him his rankings, with the JBC, OPBF and WBO.
A third notable under-card bout will see OPBF fighters face off as Japan's Seizo Kono (15-7-1 10) battles Benjie Suganob (9-4-1, 5). The winner of this one will be in the running for an OPBF title fight in 2016. On paper Kono is the more established fighter however Suganob is the fighter who has been competing at a higher weight and may be able to use that to his advantage in what is a very intriguing match up.
As well as the show in Hyogo Japanese fans also have a card from the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card, from Flash Akabane, is a less interesting one, though does feature an OPBF title fight and a bout involving one of Teiken's most promising young prospects.
The title bout on this card sees OPBF Super Middleweight champion Yuzo Kiyota (28-4-1, 26) defending his title against limited Indonesian challenger Michael Speed Sigarlaki (16-15-2, 14). On paper this looks like it could be an explosive one, however Sigarlaki will need to be regarded as a major under-dog coming in to this one and we're not expecting the challenger to have much success.
The prospect in action is the really exciting Lightweight hopeful Shuya Masaki (2-0, 1) who takes on Fumio Ujihara (4-2, 3). On paper this is a step up for the unbeaten 21 year old Lightweight prospect however it's step up that he should make if he's anywhere near being as good as touted.
As well as the Japanese action Asian fans will also get a small show from Yunnan, courtesy of Zovi promotions. The card isn't a big one, and it features no notable names, however fans will likely get some enjoyable action from the show.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Whilst the headline action for us are the Japanese cards they aren't the only ones to feature notable names. Another notable name is in Puerto Rico as he looks to continue moving towards a major title bout.
That notable fighter is former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (35-3, 23). The “Filipino Flash” looks to scored his third win since being stopped by Nicholas Walters as he takes on Mexican fighter Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13), in a bout for the WBO International Super Bantamweight title. Coming in to this one Juarez has been on a good run and enters following back to back wins over Cesar Seda and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr, Donaire however is regarded as being better than anyone Juarez has fought. Whilst Donaire is still regarded highly there are question marks about how much he has left and this fight could well see those question marks answered one way or another.
On the same card fans also get the chance to see Mongolian fighter Bayan Jargal (17-7-3, 11) take on the unbeaten William Silva (22-0, 13). This looks to be a very tough ask for Jargal, who has gone 2-7-1-1 in his last 9, though Silva does have a typical “padded Brazilian” record and is very much an unknown quantity.
Boy, what a busy Saturday we have ahead of us!
The main Asian show this Saturday comes from Macau where Top Rank are putting on solid card with an excellent main event and fights involving several fighters on the verge of a world title fight.
The main event of the show will see Chinese slugger Ik Yang (19-0-0-1, 14) go for his first world title as he battles Argentina's Cesar Rene Cuenca (47-0-0-2, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight title. On paper this isn't a “world class” title bout but it's an interesting one all the same between unbeaten fighters with very different styles and mentalities in the ring.
In a supporting bout, scheduled for 10 rounds, we'll see multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (34-4, 22) battle against Frenchman Anthony Settoul (20-3, 8) in what should be a mismatch in favour of the talented Filipino. For Donaire this is his second bout since being stopped by Nicholas Walters and it's likely to be a tune up contest before a potential world title fight with Englishman Scott Quigg, in a bout that is said to be pencilled in for later in the year.
Another supporting bout will see Indonesian veteran Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3, 21) take on Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19) in a 10 round bout at 137lbs. Mukhlis is a late replacement for Mickey Bey, who vacated the IBF Lightweight title rather than fight Shafikov, and will come into this bout as a massive under-dog. There is however little to lose for Indonesian who may get himself a world title opportunity if he was to upset the touted Russian.
One other supporting bout of note here will see Hong Kong's exciting Rex Tso (16-0, 8) taking on limit Thai Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (21-11-1, 14) in what is really a stay busy fight for Tso, who is looking to get a world title bout later in the year. Tso should see off his limited Thai foe inside the distance, especially considering that Khunkiri has already been stopped 6 times, but we need to admit that Tso continues to blow hot and cold and may under-perform again here.
In the US we get a Super Flyweight world title bout as unbeaten Filipino Arthur Villanueva (27-0, 14) takes on talented Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo (16-0, 8) in a bout for the IBF title, which was recently vacated by Zolani Tete. The bout is a brilliant one on paper between two talented and unbeaten boxer-punchers who are each seeking to be recognised on the world stage. It's fair to say the winner here won't be recognised as a truly elite level fighter in the division, but they will throw their name into the hate for big fights against the likes of Naoya Inoue or Carlos Cuadras.
Also in Texas fans will get the chance to see the US debut of Korean slugger Min Wook Kim (12-1, 9). Kim, a former OPBF 140lb champion, will be battling 31 year old Mexican southpaw Sergio Rivera (27-15-2, 17) in what should be a straight forward win for the Korean star. Although boxing in Korea is quiet at the moment Kim is a shining light and an exciting win against Rivera could help the Korean become a staple in the US where his talent and style will be appreciated.
On another US card we'll see the debut of American based Kazakh Shynggyskhan Tazhibay (0-0) who takes on the win-less Jasey Montalvo (0-5). This should be an easy win for the 23 year debutant though it's only the first step of his career and we know bigger and better bouts will come in the future.
Pocheon, South Korea
In South Korea fans will get a small show of novices with 6 novice bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounds. There really isn't any big names in action here, a given considering how poor Korean boxing is at the moment, though we are interested in a heavyweight bout between Sang Ho Kim (1-0, 1) and Choong Yul Lee (0-0) and a Super Featherweight contest between Jin Jun (1-0, 1) and Sung Il Lim (1-0, 1), in what is the only bout between fighters with a record bout each.
Sawang Calero, Philippines
In the Philippines fight fans get a very small show that is likely to go under the radar.
The main event here will see Eduard Penerio (16-2, 11) take on the tough but limited JR Salvador (5-2-3). On paper this is a huge mismatch however Salvador has only been stopped once in his career, and that came more than 4 years ago.
This coming Saturday is one of the biggest and best of the year so far for Asian fans with a host of major fights taking place, many of which involve Filipino's
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show of the day is in the Philippines where we get several very interesting looking bouts involving some very big names in Asian boxing and some really high level talent.
In the sole world title bout on this show fans will see Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) defending his WBO Light Flyweight title again Mexican puncher Gilberto Parra (19-2, 17). Parra, on paper, looks like a really good challenger though in reality it's fair to say this is a tune up bout for Nietes who is set to fight Francisco Rodriguez Jr later in the year, barring a major shock here. The Nietes Vs Rodriguez bout will be sensational, this bout however is made to make Nietes look brilliant. Parra is made to order, crude, open and the sort of fighter than Nietes should really shine again.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21) return to the ring for his first bout since his stoppage loss last year to Nicholas Walters in a Featherweight title bout. Donaire looked to small for Featherweight and will be dropping back down to Super Bantamweight here as he battles Brazilian visitor William Prado (22-4-1, 15) in a bout for the NABF Super Bantamweight title. We suspect we'll see a bit of the Donaire of old here as he fights in the Philippines for the first time since stopping Raul Martinez in April 2009!
In one of two major support bouts fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Super Bantamweight contender Albert Pagara (22-0, 15). “Prince” Pagara will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against the dangerous looking Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1, 24). On paper this looks like a dangerous bout for Pagara though Hernandez's competition so far has been incredibly limited and and in all honesty Pagara should make light work of him, if the Filipino is half the fighter that he appears to be.
The other major support bout will see Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (25-1-2, 17) kick off his ALA contract as he battles Prosper Ankrah (24-4, 15) in a contest for the WBO International Bantamweight title. Akaho is on the verge of a world title shot and will know that he is risking his opportunity here, however he knows that if he impresses the crowd and the promoter he may get a world title shot next time out. Ankrah is well travelled though has lost every time he has fought at this type of level and we expect that will continue here.
Lower down we'll see the popular AJ Banal (32-2-1, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Junior Bajawa (14-5, 7). Bajawa has lost his last 4 in a row, including 3 straight stoppage losses, and that run should continue here
Another Filipino show will be held in Baguio City where several regional titles will be on the line.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see the heavy handed Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian journeyman Eddy Comaro (32-23-5, 13). This will be Aoki's first defence of the best that he won last May, when he stopped Jonel Alibio, and will see him trying to extend his run to 7 straight wins. Comaro on the other hand is seeking a 4th straight win.
In an all-Filipino bout fans will see the once beaten Robert Udtohan (22-1-2, 14) battle against the limited Mike Espanosa (12-9-1, 7) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Udtohan should be the favourite though a win here would go down as one of his best wins so far.
In an interesting match up between unbeaten fighters fans will see Philippines based Indian fighter Prabhjot Singh (1-0, 1) battle against F Faturochman (2-0, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. Whilst both of these fighters are novices we can't help be be interested in this scheduled 10 round affair which will put the winner on the map in some ways, even if they are a long way from being genuinely relevant.
Another interesting match up will see Jheritz Chavez (3-0-2, 2) stepping up massively to battle Randy Megrino (15-17-3, 8) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Chavez has been matched hard since he made his debut but this is a huge step up in class. Megrino, who doesn't a particularly attractive record, does have an occasional notable results and he could well be too much for Chavez at this point in is career.
[Note Boxrec list this card for March 29th, other sources state it's the 28th]
In Mexico we see another Filipino involved in a title bout as former WBO Minimumweight world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) takes on an extremely tough assignment against unified, WBA “Super” and WBO, Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22). For Asenjo this is an opportunity to make a name for himself however Estrada is a fantastic fighter who gave Roman Gonzalez one of his toughest ever bouts. Estrada didn't look great last time out, against Joebert Alvarez, but we suspect he'll shine here against the limited but heavy handed Asenjo.
New York, USA
We get lower profile stuff in the US as Kazakh prospect Dimash Niyazov (6-0-3, 4) put his unbeaten record on the line against the very limited, but tough, Micah Branch (2-13-1). Branch rarely picks up wins but has never been stopped and has been in with various unbeaten prospects such as Evgeny Chuprakov. Sadly for Branch he is the smaller man here and Niyazov, whilst not a world champion in the making, should be too big and too strong for the American fighter.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)