This coming Sunday we see two very notable cards in Asia, both of which are double headers, though both are at very different levels. The more notable is in China, though a Japanese card is certainly worth being aware of.
The Chinese card is expected to be a huge show in terms of local fan interest, with the new face of Chinese boxing headlining along side an incredibly popular foreign fighter, from nearby Japan.
The local star is current WBA "regular" Featherweight champion Can Xu (16-2, 2), who looks to make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese challenger Shun Kubo (13-1, 9), himself a former WBA Super Bantamweight champion.We saw Xu shock the boxing world earlier this year when he defeated Jesus M Rojas for the title in the US, announcing himself on the world stage in impressive and exciting fashion. As for Kubo this will be only his second fight since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman back in September 2017, and he comes in to the ring following surgery to his eyes and more than a year of inactivity. This should be a really, really entertaining and action packed bout, but one where the champion should be favoured. A full preview of this bout can be found here Will Xu be successful in first defense as he takes on Kubo?
The other world title bout on this card will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17) take on former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (18-2-2, 11), who is dropping down 4lbs for this bout. Canizales has really made his name in Asia, despite being from Venezuela, with great performances against Ryoichi Taguchi, Reiya Konishi and Lu Bin. He has been very hard hitting, aggressive and exciting, and and will be looking to record his second defense. Kimura, who is huge in China following his win over Zou Shiming, will be looking to recapture world gold following his sensational 2018 loss to Kosei Tanaka but there are questions over how he will cope with dropping down to Light Flyweight. If Kimura can make weight safely we could be in for a true FOTY contender. An in depth preview of this bout is available here Canizales and Kimura battle for gold in China!
Another notable match up on this show will see world ranked Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (11-3-1, 5) taking on Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (35-13-4, 17). Tuolehazi will be looking to build on a very hotly contested win over Ryota Yamauchi from March, a bout that was much, much closer than the scores suggest and will be strongly favoured here. Diale is a veteran, but is well below world level and this should be a straight forward win for the Chinese local.
Another bout of note on this card will see Chinese youngster Shichao Gao (3-0-1, 1) take on former world title challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (23-1, 9). The 21 year old Gao looked fantastic in March, when he beat Koji Igarashi, and will know that a win here will give his career a massive boost. A win isn't however a foregone conclusion for the Chinese fighter, and Nop is no push over, with 6 wins in a row since his 2016 loss to Nehomar Cermeno back in 2016. This could be a very compelling contest and a real test for the naturally bigger local.
As well as the card in China we also get a pretty notable regional title double header in Osaka, featuring two WBO Asia Pacific title fights and a bout featuring a very promising local hopeful.
One of the WBO Asia Pacific title fights will take place at Flyweight title as former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) takes on Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) in a bout that should be a lot more interesting than it looks. Sakamoto looked totally out classed when he faced Moruti Mthalane last year, and it was clear he isn't world class, but this regional title level is where he should find himself being really competitive. Sakashita is a solid Japanese domestic fighter, but we don't imagine him having the skills to really test Sakamoto, who looks to re-capture the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. A preview of this bout can be found here Sakamoto and Sakashita battle for regional title!
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8). This looks like an easy win for Mananquil, who will be looking to make his first defense and build on February's big win over Tenta Kiyose, also in Japan. For Kobayashi this will be his first bout since since losing in December to Keita Kurihara, in a controversial and very entertaining clash. That bout with Kurihara saw Kobayashi show great resilience and a good boxing brain, and he is a lot better than his record suggests. He will however be the under-dog here. A preview of this bout is available here Manaquil looks to defend regional crown against Kobayashi!
The other bout of note here will see rising prospect Tulio Kuwabata (2-0, 2) take on former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5), in what is a huge step up in class for Kuwabata. Despite being a step up the 23 year old Japanese fighter will be strongly favoured and will know a win here is a huge step towards a a regional title bout. Apolinario was once a credible fringe world class contender but with a 6-13-1 (3) record in his last 20 it's clear he has lost his desire and will be expected to pick up another loss here.
One other Asian card set to take place this Sunday is in Mumbai, where Arif Khan promoted a rather low key affair. Although most of the bouts are scheduled for 6 rounds they are mostly between novices. The bout with the most experienced sees a combined 18 bouts between the men involved, with Rahukl Kumar (5-1-1, 4) taking on Shiva (8-3, 3) in a Welterweight bout.
Although it's good to see bouts in India, there's nothing to get too excited about here.
This coming Thursday in Beijing fight fans will get a number of IBF Silk Road tournament bouts. Sadly we don't have the full card, though we do have details of two bouts on the show.
One of the bouts will see former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (18-3-1, 11) take on unbeaten foe Omurbek Malabekov (4-0, 1). The talented Japanese fighter advanced to this bout with a win over Lorence Rosas last year whilst Malabekov will be fighting for the first in almost a year. The winner of this contest is expected to get a world ranking with the IBF. Not much is known about Malabekov, though he is unbeaten and will see this as a huge chance to make a name for himself.
Another bout on this show will see experience Thai fighter Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (38-6-1, 21) take on unbeaten Filipino fighter Jayson Mama (11-0, 6). The 25 year old Fahlan will be looking to score his 5th straight win since being stopped by Felix Alvarado in 2017 whilst Mama will be looking to continue his perfect start to professional boxing. Of the two men Fahlan is, by far, the more well known, but he didn't look good at all last time out, taking a pretty questionable decision in a dire bout with Orlie Silvestre.
In Thailand we have a re-scheduled bout, as the once beaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (22-1, 8) , aka Anurak Thisa, battles Filipino JR Magboo (17-2-2, 8) for the fighting for the WBA Asia Featherweight title. Originally this bout was supposed to take place on March 22nd but was rescheduled due to Thai Channel 7 changing their policy on bouts that they will air, and instead of taking place as originally planned it will now be shown on Channel 3SD.
Arguably the most notable show this coming Friday is from Tokyo, where we see a relatively low level Japanese domestic card.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-2, 9) facing off with domestic journeyman Joji Tsuchiya (8-5-2, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for Ikeda. Ikeda has lost 2 of his last 4, but he is better than that would suggest, and one of those losses was on the road to Darragh Foley. Tsuchiya is in better form, going 4-1 in his last 5, but this is a big step up from the competition that those wins have come against.
Japanese ranked Flyweight Wolf Nakano (5-7-4 1) looks to build on a good win over Mako Matsuyama as he takes on Shogo Sumitomo (6-13-1, 5). This isn't a great bout, in terms of how significant it is, but should be competitive and entertaining with both men going to be in there for the win.
Former kick boxer turned boxer Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) will step up in class as she battles Thai visitor Phannaluk Kongsang (5-7-1, 2). Taniyama had been a top kick boxer before a knee injury left her career in tatters and forced her into boxing. She looked promising, but flawed, on her debut last year but we're expecting to see a more rounded performance here. Phannaluk is no patsy here, and was in action in November, when she won the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Bantamweight title, so should provide a test for the Japanese novice.
La Union, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan we also get a low key one in the Philippines.
The main event of this card will see Michael Mendoza (8-1-2, 3) battle against Vincent Bautista (5-12-4, 1), in a bout for the PBF Flyweight title. Mendoza will be strongly favoured here, given his record but he could be tested by Bautista who is typically a tough nut to crack. Although Bautista has gone 0-7-1 in his last 8, we wouldn't be surprised by him making this a competitive contest.
In a supporting bout Ryan Torres (8-2-1, 7) will battle against Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-7, 2). Torres was beaten last time out, and is almost 2 years removed from his last win, but will still be the favourite, especially given that Villagracia has been stopped in his last 6, and 7 of his last 8. If we're being honest this looks little more than a confidence builder for Torres.
In Thailand fans will be able to see once beaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (22-1, 8) , aka Anurak Thisa, fighting for the WBA Asia Featherweight title against JR Magboo (17-2-2, 8). The Thai is currently riding a 5 fight winning run following his 2016 loss to the then WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno in China. Magboo on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, though is a solid Filipino domestic level fighter.
The big action of the day comes from Wenzhou in China where fight fans will get a genuinely notable card of international note. Not only does it feature 3 of China's most notable fighters but also a world title fight between a Thai and a Panamanian based Venezuelan.
That world title bout will see WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) take on unbeaten Thai challenger Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5), aka Anurak Thisa, in an intriguing match up between ambitious youngster and veteran champion. The champion will be looking to record his first defense of the title he won in June, when he stopped Qiu Xiao Jun in the 12th round though at 36 he is ancient for a top level fighter. On the other hand the 25 year old Thai will be fighting outside of Thailand for the first time and will be taking a huge step up in class.
In a supporting title bout Can Xu (9-2) will be facing the unbeaten Ramiro Blanco (14-0-3, 7) in what looks like an intriguing match up. Blanco is an unbeaten Nicaraguan, fighting outside of home for the first time. Xu on the other hand is one of China's most promising young talents and despite lacking power he does look to be a diamond in the rough for Chinese boxing.
Another Chinese diamond in the rough is Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who fights for the first time since being stopped by Cermeno. Although very rudimentary Jun has scored a number of notable wins and will be looking to add another as he faces Filipino Robert Udtohan (23-1-3, 15) here. The Filipino has a pretty good looking record but this is actually a big step up for him and he'll be the clear under-dog against the solid hitting Jun.
In a Heavyweight bout fans will see Zhang Zhilei (11-0, 7) take on the highly experienced Gogita Gorgiladze (32-13, 27) from Georgia. On paper this looks like a good step forward for Zhilei but the reality is that the visitor has a very padded record and shouldn't last long with “Big Bang”
In another China Vs Georgia bout we'll see the touted Fanlong Meng (8-0, 6) battle against Zura Mekereshvili (18-5, 14). The 28 year old Meng is tipped as a real hopeful and a win here should be his final one before moving into 10 rounders. Sadly Mekereshvili should prove to be too small to really test Meng.
Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
As well as the big show in China there is also a notable card in the Philippines where titles will be on the line.
The two main bouts on this card are both OPBF Silver title fights and both feature a former world title challenger against an unbeaten foe. One of those fights comes at 115lbs and sees former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-10-3, 15) battle Ryan Lumacad (11-0-1, 6). Coming in to this one the 44 fight Diale will be looking to show that his recent beating to Daigo Higa wasn't the start of the end. For Luamcad the bout is a potential break out opportunity and he'll be coming into this one with the belief of an unbeaten man looking for a career best win.
The other OPBF Silver title fight comes at Flyweight and sees former WBC Light Flyweight world title challenger Richard Claveras (15-2-2, 13) battle against Jeronil Borres (7-0-1, 5). Claveras is best known for losing to Pedro Guevara last year and since then has gone 3-1 (1). The 20 year old Borres is leaping up in class but will hope to have struck at the right time with Claveras showing flaws recently.
The key bout from Thailand will see Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (21-3, 14) defending his IBF regional title against Filipino puncher Jeny Boy Boca (12-3, 10) in what looks like a really intriguing match up and one not expected to see the final bell. Both of these guys can punch and both will be hoping to make the most of their power here.
Also in Thailand fight fans will see the unbeaten Downua Ruaviking (2-0, 1) battle against Thai based Cameroonian Afanwi Kingsly Shu (1-1). The Thai is tipped as a real hope and although this is a very low quality bout some are hyping him as a bright prospect already. This bout likely won't tell us much but hopefully a step up in 2017 will tell us something about the youngster.
Thai fans again get some action as Channel 3 air a show from Bangkok.
In the main event Nop Kratingdaenggym (13-0, 3) will be defending his PABA Super Bantamweight title. Sadly we're unsure who Nop will be facing, though we have been told that his opponent will be from South Africa. We do like Nop and think he's very promising however it's a real shame that he's still wasting time against low level of opposition when he could be mixing it against very good regional foes, such as those from Japan or the Philippines.
In Australia we'll see Thailand's limited Pramool Boonpok (1-18-1) battle against Cyrus Peri (4-2-1, 2). Peri has lost 2 of his last 3, and struggled to a win in the other one of those bouts, so it's clear his team are trying to help him rebuild his confidence with this one. From Pramool's view point this allows him to stay busy but it'd be nice to see him do more than just make up the numbers.
In the US fans get another chance to see Kazakh hopeful Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (2-0, 2). The promising 23 year old will be up against his biggest test so far in the form of 25 year old James Robinson (3-3-2, 1). So far Tazhibay has made light work of his opposition, beating his first 2 foes in 3 rounds, but Robinson has never been stopped and could prove to be a good test for the the promising youngster.
For the second day running Thai fans get treat to televised title action with Channel 7 showing a card from the Thai capital of Bangkok. We won't pretend the card is great but there interesting fighters involved in it.
One of those interesting fighters takes part in the main event which will see PABA Welterweight champion Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (28-0, 22) defending his belt against against South African fighter Nthuthuko Memela (10-1-2, 7), who looks like a puncher according to the numbers though sadly hasn't beaten anyone to really make a note of. Teerachai brings both the PABA and world ranking into this bout and will be hoping to get a world title shot in the future, sadly however bouts like this won't prepare him for a fight at the top level.
Another of the interesting fighters on this card is Nop Kratingdaenggym (11-0, 1)* who fights a stay busy fight against Indonesian foe Boido Simanjuntak (18-26-1, 7). Simanjuntak has lost his last 8 bouts, including a KO loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and will be expected to suffer another defeat here. As for Nop he looks a talented fighter and fights in a very a-typical style for a Thai however he does lack power and we suspect that will, ultimately, hold him back from reaching his potential.
A third notable fighter on this card is former WBA Minimumweight world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (48-3-1, 25) who is fighting for the third time since he was beaten by teenage hopeful Stamp Kiatniwat back in August. The 30 year old Kwanthai hasn't had his opponent named so we're expecting a very poor foe
In the US fans will get the chance to see Jordanian fighter Ahmed Majed Mahmood (3-0-1, 3) attempting to secure a 4th straight win as he takes on Carlos Alcala (2-5, 1).
*Boxrec.com don't recognise Nop's win over Skak Max which can be seen here.
In November the Manny Pacquiao show will take over Macau, a small self governing area off the coast of China. For many that is as all Chinese boxing is currently about. Those people would be wrong, very wrong.
Although Chinese boxing isn't incredibly strong it is developing and we suspect that in the next few years success will have breed more success. Last year we had the first Chinese world champion, this year we've had two Chinese Heavyweights appear on US TV and the future does look potentially very exciting.
On of the most promising of the current bunch of Chinese fighters is current WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight champion Qiu Xiao Jun (14-2, 6). Jun is a very promising fighter who has avenged his losses, both of which came in Japan to Jonathan Baat, and it would seem that he's possibly the next notable fighter from China. Jun will have to prove his quality here as he takes on once beaten American Yuandale Evans (16-1, 12). At one point Evans looked like a very promising young fighter himself though an opening round loss to Javier Fortuna in April 2012 has derailed his career and this will be his first bout in almost 30 months. Jun will have to be in top form to beat Evans though if he does get the win here expect him to get another US bout in the next 12 months or so.
Jun isn't the only Chinese fighter on this card and his compatriot Xian Wei Qian (5-3-1) will be fighting against the limited Josh Crespo (2-1-2, 1). We don't really rate Qian anywhere near as highly as Jun though we do have to say he is better than his record indicates and he's twice fought in Thailand. One of those bouts was a loss to the world ranked Petch Sor Chitpattana whilst the other was a shock win over Thewa Onesongchaigym which saw Qian getting his name printed in the record books as the first Chinese fighter to win a title in Thailand. Crespo doesn't compare to the two Thai's that Qian has fought so we'd assume that Qian will pick up the win here, though it certainly won't be easy with this bout taking place in the US.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
As well as the action in the US we also have some interesting bouts in Thailand with 2 separate televised cards.
On channel 3 we get a Kokiet Group card headlined by PABA Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (27-7-1, 10). Petchbarngnorn will be defending his title against teenager Ki-chang Kim (5-1-1, 1). Kim will clearly be seen as a huge under-dog going into this fight though could be rewarded with a ranking if he can beat the Thai. That's a big "if" however as Petchbarngborn is a world ranked fighter with fringe-world level talent and a clear edge in experience.
The chief support bout here will see Norasing Kokietgym (11-0-1, 8) defending his unbeaten record against Indonesian visitor Jemmy Gobel (18-24-5, 13) who has lost his last 3 bouts, including a 6th round stoppage to Eaktawan Mor Krunthepthonburi last time out. Gobel has lost 17 previous bouts in Thailand where he has yet to win and we suspect that run will continue again here with Norasing being a far better fighter than Gobel
The other show is on Channel 7 and comes from Bangkok.
One of two title bouts here will see the unbeaten Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (5-0, 4) defending his WBA Asia Flyweight title against Filipino foe Edison Berwela (13-28-7, 3). We'll admit we are big fans of Eaktawan though we'd suspect that this will be his toughest bout to date and although Berwela isn't an amazing fighter he is also not someone who falls over the first time they are hit. Berwela will be fighting for the 7th time in Thailand and currently boasts a record of 0-5-1 in the country and that will likely be extended to 0-6-1 though we do suspect that Eaktawan will have to work for the win.
The other title bout on this show will see Nop Kratingdaenggym (10-0, 1)* defending his PABA Super Bantamweight title against Filipino visitor Eranio Semillano (10-5, 3). On paper this looks a pretty decent contest, especially when you consider that Semillano comes into this bout with 7 straight wins and is unbeaten in well over 2 years. Saying that however Nop does look a very talented young fighter and his potential to be a world champion is being spoken about by some hardcore fans in Thailand.
(*Boxrec don't include Nop's win over Skax Max for some peculiar reason)
Some times we get shows that have a bit of everything and that's what we're expecting this coming Monday, a day in which we get two separate cards in Asia.
The most important of the two Asian cards takes place in Tokyo as Kadoebi Jewel put on a very interesting show with several of their most notable fighters taking part on a 7 fight card.
The first of the notable fighters in action will be the hard hitting and thoroughly exciting Shuhei Tsuchiya (15-3, 13). Tsuchiya is a former Rookie of the Year though in recent times his career has started to fall apart and he has suffered notable losses to former domestic contender Shoji Kawase, the then unheralded Masayoshi Nakatani and most recently Leonardo Zappvigna, in what was a great fight. With 3 losses in his last 4 it's no wonder Tsuchiya is having an easy one and he'll be expected to make very light work of Thailand's Fonluang Sor Singyu (6-4, 4).
Following Tsuchiya's bout with Fonluang we're then expecting to see former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (12-1, 3) who will be up against Anuntachai Sor Por Lor Krungthep (6-7. 4). Oguni will be fighting for the third time since losing his OPBF belt and will hunting a second successive stoppage. World ranked by the WBC Oguni has a reputation for being highly skilled and despite being dominated by Shingo Wake there is real promise with this young Japanese fight who has the potential to challenge for world honours in the next year or two, as long as he keeps winning bouts.
The first of two title fights on the show will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (8-0, 7) making the first defence of his belt as he takes on the exciting Shamgar Koichi (18-5-1, 11). Okada, who won the title earlier this year with a hard fought decision over Masayoshi Kotake, will know that this is likely to be the toughest bout of his career and although Koichi was blasted out in a round by Shinya Iwabuchi back in 2011 he has strung together 5 wins in his last 6 bouts, including a thrilling war with Tomohiko Sakai. Of the 7 bouts on this card this one looks like the most exciting by a long way.
In the shows second title bout we get a rematch as long reigning Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (20-1, 7) defends his belt against the man he beat for the belt back in December 2012, Koshinmaru Saito (20-5-1, 11). The men fought a very competitive bout back in '12 but since then Takayama has improved whilst Saito has turned 35 and been relatively inactive. We're favouring Takayama though we do tend to feel that the winner of this bout should begin targeting a bout with Yoshihiro Kamegai as that really is the only bout of interest in the division in Japan right now.
We get more title action in the Philippines as Benezer Alolod (14-5-5, 4) attempts to record the first defence of his GAB Light Flyweight title. Alolod will be taking on Jomar Fajardo (14-4-1, 7) in what looks like an even bout on paper though we do need to favour the champion who has mixed with the better opposition by far, including Rey Loreto, Nkosinathi Joyi and Vergilio Silvano.
In the co-feature on this card there is another relatively well matched bout as Desson Cag-ong (14-11, 8) takes on Jonel Alibio (16-18-5, 8) in a 10 round affair at Super Featherweight. This is a hard one to call and should be very competitive with both men giving their all in an attempt to claim a win.
A third bout of note will see the unbeaten Justo Bornilla (4-0-2) battle against the experienced Ronald Postrano (7-19-2, 3). The 18 year old Bornilla will be having his toughest test to date though if he can come through this 8 rounder he maybe be given some more experience building contests.
We also get title action in Thailand as PABA interim Super Bantamweight champion Nop Kratingdaenggym (8-0, 1) defends his title against limited Indonesian Hendrik Barongsay (16-17-3, 15). From what we understand Barongsay has lost every time he has fought outside of Indonesia though he should be tough enough to get Nop some good rounds under his belt.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)
We have been informed by Pal, who is quickly becoming our go to guy for Thai fights, that there is action this Thursday from Thailand.
The show, televised on Channel 3, will see Nop Kratingdaenggym (7-0, 1) defending his PABA Super Bantamweight title again Filipino youngster Renren Pasignahin (6-2-1, 2). Although a light puncher Nop does look like a very talented fighter and it's hard to see the limited Pasignahin defeating him here. Interesting both men have faced 2 fighters with winning records so far, Nop is 2-0 against them whilst Pasignahin is 0-2 against fighters with winning records, with imagine both of those streaks will continue here.