The key bout featuring an Asian this coming Sunday comes from Victoria in Australia and will see once beaten local prospect Ibrahim Balla (13-1, 7) battle against unbeaten Thai hopeful Norasing Kokietgym (22-0-1, 15). The bout, which will be for Balla's WBA Ocenia Featherweight, looks like a really good one on paper. The local hopeful has bounced back really well since his June 2016 loss to Neil John Tabanao, scoring notable decision wins over Vergil Puton and Silvester Lopez last year, and looks to be someone rising through the rankings at a very good rate. As for Norasing he once looked like one of Thailand's best prospects, but he failed to fight in 2017 and didn't really face anyone of note in 2016. This is a step up for the Thai but a win would be the perfect way to put himself back in the mix for notable fights later in the year. A really good match up.
As well as the card in Victoria there is also a small on in Kagoshima, Japan.
The main event here will see Filipino visitor Jeffrey Galero (16-3, 8) take on Japanese local Naoya Haruguchi (14-8, 6). The Filipino is 0-3 on the road, including a loss in a world title bout to Wanheng Menayothin and a stoppage loss to Tsubasa Koura, though is a genuinely solid fighter at the Oriental level, and will be risking his OPBF ranking here. As for Haruguchi he has a very misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest. The local was last seen suffering a razor thin defeat to Riku Kano and has shared the ring with a number of notable Japanese domestic fighters, including Reiya Konishi. Although far from a Oriental title level clash this should be very competitive and compelling contest.
In a supporting bout fans will see the heavy handed and very promising Shuma Nakazato (6-1-1, 5) battling against Thai teenager Chanchai Khowaka (0-2), who has lost both of his recorded bouts in Japan. Nakazato is a genuine prospect, with power, and despite going 1-1-1 in his last 3 should really blitz his Thai foe here.
This Friday isn't a great day in Asian boxing, but there a couple of shows worth making a note of.
The only Japanese show of the day is a less than great one.
In the main event former OPBF champion Hiroshige Osawa (27-3-4, 16) faces of against Shota Yamaguchi (13-2, 8). Osawa, who has been in and out of the world rankings in recent times, has gone 12-0-1 (9) the last 7 years though we're hoping that if he wins here he will move towards a much more meaningful than the ones he's been involved in recently, which have been very poor. On paper Yamaguchi is a step up from the opponents Osawa has been fighting recently but doesn't have a real win of note to make us think he could really push Osawa here.
In the chief support bout Kosuke Saka (10-3, 7) will be up against Kazuki Hashimoto (11-5, 7) in what actually could be a fun fight between two solid punchers. Of the two men it's Hashimoto who is the more well known, though he's actually known for a loss in Mexico to Jhonny Gonzalez. Despite being the more “known” man Hashimoto has suffered 5 stoppage losses and there's a good chance thus could be stoppage loss #6.
Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
In Thailand the Kokiet Group will be putting a show with a pair of title fights, both of which will be televised by Channel 7.
One of those bouts will see the unbeaten Norasing Kokietgym (16-0-1, 12) take on Indonesia's Kichang Kim (6-2-1, 2) in what appears to be a genuinely horrific mismatch. The title on the line here is Norasing's WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title, which he will be defending for the first time, following his win over Juventus Baga back in April.
The other title bout sees former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (22-5, 7) take part in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight title. This will be Samartlek's first title bout since he was stopped by Naoya Inoue in September 2014, in a bout for the WBC Light Flyweight title. Supposedly Samartlek's opponent will be Oscar Raknafa (12-11, 5).
This coming Friday is an interesting day with bouts across Asia ranging from prospect bouts to national title contests.
In South Korea cans will get a KBF title double televised on MBC Sports +. The bouts may not be the biggest bouts of the day though they do show just how committed the KBF are to continue the sport in Korea.
One of the bouts will see KBF Featherweight champion Bong Joon Suk (8-1-2, 1) defending his title against Sa Myung Noh (6-2, 1). Noh appears to be going up in weight for this bout having first made a name for himself at Super Bantamweight, however he did manage to score a win over Suk back in 2012 in their first meeting. For Suk this is a chance to defend his title and gain revenge over the only man to have beaten him so far.
The other title bout will see Woo Shin Kim (5-1-2, 2) battle against Sung Tae Kim (5-10-1, 2) for the vacant Korean Light Welterweight title. For Sung Tae Kim it'll be a chance to become a 2-weight Korean champion however he will need to score his first win since September 2009 if he's to become the champion. Woo Shin Kim however will be in his first title bout and is seeking a break out win here.
There is also a show in Laos with a notable main event.
In the main event we'll see the unbeaten Norasing Kokietgym (14-0-1, 10) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Flyweight title against Indonesian fighter Juventus Baga (2-1, 2) in what looks like a huge mismatch. We like Norasing but at 28 years old he really needs to make the step up now if he's to do anything with his career other than tread water with meaningless bouts, like this one.
In the Philippines 3 Jewels Promotions will be putting on a small card with a couples of interesting bouts.
The most interesting bout here is the main event which will see the unbeaten Dexter Alimento (8-0, 6) battle against Lester John Pronco (9-9-1, 6) for the LuzProBA Minimumweight title. The 19 year old Alimento is a promising prospect but has yet to be given a real test. Although Pronco isn't an amazing fighter he is better than his record suggests and although he is 0-6-1 in his last 7 we really wouldn't be shocked to see him run Alimento close.
A second notable bout will see the unbeaten Jeronil Borres (5-0-1, 5) take on Gerald Paclar (2-1, 1) . Last time out Paclar “exposed” the then 3-0 record of Rene Mark Cuarto and he'll be hoping to do the same here against Borres. Saying that however Borres does appear to have genuine power and has already been in a gut-check, drawing with fellow unbeaten hopeful Salatiel Amit back in January.
(Image courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.or.kr)
The action this Friday is relatively low key on the international conciousness but there is quite a lot of significance to it in some ways with a national tournament and several world ranked fighters in action.
Gwangju, South Korea
In January South Korean fans got 4 days of preliminary bouts for their national tournament. Those prelims took place from the 27th of January to the 30th of January and featured more bouts than we could count. Sadly those aren't recorded on boxrec and we were unable to recognise the fighters involved, who are all believed to have either been debutants or very inexperienced novices.
Today we see the next round in the tournament as we reach the semi final of the competition.
From what we understand this show will feature a total of 16 bouts with these bouts set to take place between Bantamweight and Light Middleweight. Sadly however the names of the fighters are beyond comprehension of Hangul.
Another show in Asia, in fact a much higher profile one, takes place in Thailand where we get a world class Light Flyweight in what appears to be a tune up bout as he continues to angle towards a world title fight later in the year.
The main event will see that world ranked fighter, Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20), defending his WBO regional title against Filipino visitor Lionel Legada (12-7-1, 5). At one point Legada was world ranked by the WBC but poor form has seen him dropped and with 5 losses in his last 8 bouts that dropping has been more than understandable.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Norasing Kokietgym (13-0-1, 10) who faces an unknown opponent and we also expect to see world ranked South Korean Myung Goo Yuh (24-4-1, 19), though we also don't know who he will be up against.
Western Australia, Australia
As well as the fights in Korea there will also be Asian fighters in action in Australia with a pair of Thai's and an Indonesian all on the same show.
The Indonesian fighter is the chinny Anshori Anhar Pitulay (8-14-2, 6) who will be battling against Nathaniel May (8-1, 4). Pitulay has been stopped in 12 of his 14 losses and we suspect he'll be stopped again here by the 19 year old May.
One of the Thai's is former female world title challenger Angor Onesongchaigym (7-1, 4), who was stopped in 9 rounds last year by Momo Koseki in a WBC Atomweight title fight. Angor will be battling against unbeaten Australian Louisa Hawton (3-0, 1) who will be facing her first non-debutant. Hawton is 3-0 against Thai's though this is a big step up for her.
The other Thai is Middleweight veteran Kiatchai Singwancha (35-12, 24), who is also known as “Ice Jellybaby”. Singwancha has a very tough assignment ahead of him as he battles the unbeaten Wes Capper (8-0, 6). This is a step up for Capper but it appears to be a calculated one against a man who is 0-8 in Australia and has been stopped in 7 of his 8 bouts in the country.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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)
After a few poor days in terms of fights recently we get back to the swing of things here with fights taking places all over the place.
The biggest bout, at least in terms of attention that a bout will receive, is in the USA where Chinese Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (0-0) will make his professional debut against Curtis Lee Tate (7-4, 6). Zhilei, stood at 6'6", is the second recent Chinese Heavyweight to debut in the US following Taishan Dong, who stopped Alex Rozman. Although significantly older than Dong we actually think Zhilei has the more potential, especially when you consider his amateur credentials which have included an Olympic Silver medal in 2008 and a World Amateur Bronze medal in 2009
As is often the case the most notable action inside of Asia is at the Korakuen Hall where we get the rather misleading "The Greatest Boxing Vol 19" show.
The headline bout for this show is a clash between the very talented Tetsuma Hayashi (24-2-1, 8) and the heavy handed but limited Hideyuki Watanabe (7-6-2, 5). Of the two men it's clear that Hayashi has to be the favourite and he has fought at a much higher level than Watanabe, in fact Hayashi pushed Takuya Kogawa close in a Japanese Flyweight title fight back in 2012. Watanabe however will no there is no pressure on his shoulders and that a win could catapult him in to the national rankings.
Whilst the main event looks a little bit one sided the co-feature looks very interesting as former multi-time title challenger Yoshihisa Tonimura (17-9-4, 5) takes on fellow Japanese ranked Light Middleweight Toshio Arikawa (8-4, 7). Arikawa is heavy handed though Tonimura has gone 18 rounds with Tadashi Yuba and many felt Tonimura deserved wins over Yuba in both fights they've had together.
A third notable bout on this card looks like another mismatch as the highly ranked former multi-time title challenger Koji Umetsu (21-14-3, 9) battles against Thai novice Chamuakpetch Por Panya (0-2). Chamaukpetch has been stopped in both of his previous contests, both in Japan, and we'd expect him to be stopped again here by Umetsu, despite the fact Umetsu is 37 an has never been much of a puncher.
Whilst the Japanese show is technically the best, due to having 3 bouts of note, the most significant bouts of the day are probably in Laos where the unbeaten Norasing Kokietgym (10-0-1, 7) attempts to extend his winning record and claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Flyweight title. In the opposite corner to Norasing will be Filipino journeyman Geboi Mansalayao (9-16-4, 3). Going into this bout the Filipino has lost 7 of his last 8, including a stoppage to Amnat Ruenroeng, and we'd expect to see another loss added to his record here.
In another title bout on this show Nampetch Kwanjaisrikod (1-1, 1) will be fighting the debuting Kanda Por Muangpetch (0-0) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Light Flyweight title. We're not sure what either fighter has done to qualify for a title fight but the WBC, in their infinite wisdom, have managed to pick up a sanctioning fee for the bout all the same.
A second show with Thai backing takes places in Thailand and is headlines by a genuinely exciting looking all Thai bout as veteran Kwanthai Sithmorseng (46-2-1, 24) battles against rising young star Stamp Kiatniwat (8-0, 4). Stamp is viewed as one of the future faces of boxing in Thailand and this will be an insane test for the youngster who knows that if he wins he will shoot into the fringes of the world rankings. If you've not seen Stamp before we do have videos of his bout with John Bima and his bout with Johna Wahyudi.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we see another title bout as Indonesia's Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus (15-6-1, 8) attempts to claim the currently vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Light Welterweight title. Unfortunately for Ferdinandus he's going to need a considerable upset to see off Australia's very own Chad Bennett (33-4-3, 24) in what appears to be another mismatch. Going in Bennet has won his last 9 with 8 stoppages, we'd expect him to increase both of those numbers.
Staying in Australia there will be another bout with an Asian as win-less Thai Pramool Boonpok (0-7) competes in his 8th bout of the year and takes on the light hitting Charlie King (18-5, 1). King, originally form the UK, has won just 1 of his 3 bouts since relocating to Australia though it appears almost certain that he will over-come the Thai here.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)