This coming Saturday is a very busy day for Asian fight fans with shows taking place through Asia. The day not only features bouts across the continent, but also across all sorts of levels, including a former world title challenger in one bout, and a range from domestic and regional level bouts, right through to show cases for prospects.
Central Gym, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The most notable single bout comes from Hyogo where we see former world champion Tomoki Kameda (38-3, 20) take on hard hitting Dominican William Encarnacion (19-3, 15) in an interesting 10 round Featherweight bout. Kameda is seeking his third straight win since a 2019 loss to Rey Vargas, and is taking a dangerous opponent here, whilst biding his time for another world title fight, but we don wonder whether he should really be at 126lbs given his lack of power and a physicality in his style Encarnacion is no world beater, and he has lost 3 of his last 4, but he's got power, and did give Adam Lopez a really close and solid test back in May. Kameda will be the favourite, but this is a live test for him.
On the same card we'll also see Japanese ranked Light Middleweight Kohei Miyamoto (5-1-1, 5) battle against limited veteran Mao Tameda (3-12-2). The 25 year old Miyamoto has stopped his last 3 in the opening round, and will come into this with a lot of confidence that he has the power and aggression to shine here. As for Tameda he is experienced and tough, having only been stopped in 3 of his 12 losses, but has been struggling to pick up wins recently and is 1-4 in his last 5 going back to 2020. This should be a test of Miyamoto's stamina see what he's like when a fighter can take his punch, but he should still be favoured.
Uchinada Town Sogo Gym, Kahoku-gun, Ishikawa, Japan
A second Japanese card will take place in Ishikawa where we get the debut of a brilliantly named fighter, and a Japanese Youth title fight.
The Japanese Youth title bout on this card will see Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Hiroki Hanabusa (9-2-3, 3) defending his title against Toshiyuki Takahashi (7-4, 4), in what will be Hanabusa's first defense, since winning the title last November. The talented Hanabusa has lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come to very good fighters in the form of Toshiki Shimomachi and Katsuya Fukui, and they helped prepare him for his upset win last time out against Kyonosuke Kameda for the title. As for Takahashi he has won his last 4, though this is a very step up in class for him, and he will go in as the under-dog. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Youth champion Hanabusa defends against Takahashi
The wonderfully named fighter on this card is Megaton Marina (0-0), who will be facing fellow debutant Reona Fukuoka (0-0) in a 4 round female bout at Super Bantamweight. Not really much to add here, other than that Megaton is a brilliant name, especially if it turns out that she's a puncher!
The Grand Ho Tram Strip, Vung Tau, Vietnam
Over in Vietnam we get a a trio of minor title bouts thanks to Cocky Buffalo.
The main event of the card will see Uzebkistani veteran Olimjon Nazarov (27-5, 15) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Filipino challenger Bienvenido Ligas (14-2-2, 9). The 36 year old Nazarov has a messy looking record, with 5 losses, but is currently riding an impressive 14 fight winning streak, dating back more than 5 years, and is banging on the door of a world title fight. Ligas on the other hand is 24 year old who has shown a lot of potential, and could well be only a fight or two from a world title shot of his own, if he wins here. The Filipino youngster already holds win against the likes of Alphoe Dagayloan and Roland Jay Biendima, and a win here would be a step in the right direction for his career.
A second title bout will see local hopeful Hong Quan Dinh (8-1-1, 4) make his first defense of the IBF Asia Lightweight title as he takes on Filipino visitor Jules Victoriano (11-4, 8). Dinh won the title last time out, taking a 10 round decision over Delmar Pellio, and he'll be looking to not just retain his title but also score a 7th straight win, and potentially move towards an OPBF title fight later in the year. As for Victoriano, he's very much a glass cannon, with 8 stoppage wins and 4 stoppage losses from his 15 fights and will be hoping to use his power here, before Dinh cracks his chin.
A third title fight on this show will see the unbeaten Korean teenager Chan Ho Song (7-0, 3) defending his WBO Youth Light Welterweight title against Thai foe Bunchuai Phonsungnoen (4-1-1, 3). Song won the title in April, with a narrow win over Romer Pinili, and should be favoured here, but this is certainly not a gimme for a first defense. The 22 year old Bunchuai was stopped on his debut, in 4 rounds against Toshio Tarumi in Japan, but showed enough there to catch the eye, and has gone unbeaten in the 4 years following the defeat. This is a genuinely solid first defense for this level of title.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we'll see rising star Carl Jammes Martin (19-0, 16) defending his WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title against Charles Tondo (12-5-2, 5). The hard hitting Martin won the title last time out, when he stopped Ronnie Baldonado in 11 rounds, and had to show some grit to pull himself off the canvas early on. As for Tondo, from Tanzania, he was recently beaten by rising British fighter Dennis McCann in a bout where he looked limited but tough, and that toughness will be tested again here.
Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Ona separate card in the Philippines we'll get a battle of unbeaten punchers, as Kenneth Llover (5-0, 4) takes on Ridick Tablanza (4-0, 4). On paper this looks like an excellent match up between two young men each looking to move their careers forward. Of the two men Llover is the more notable, having turned professional in 2020 and racking up two wins already this year. As for Tablanza he debuted in late 2018, and ran up 4 wins in a combined 6 rounds, but has now been out of the ring since December 2019, and it's hard to know what desire he has given that lengthy lay off.
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA
In the US we'll see once beaten Kazakh hopeful Ali Akhmedov (18-1, 14) take on Mexican veteran Ricardo Adrian Luna (23-8-2, 15). The hard hitting and exciting Akhmedov has picked up 2 low key wins since his thrilling 2020 loss to Carlos Gongora, and is rebuilding his confidence against low key opponents. Luna is a big step up from Akhmedov's recent opponents, and he recently held Vyacheslav Shabranskyy to a shock draw, but he is a naturally smaller man who has really been more of a gym fighter in recent years, notable as a main sparring partner for Ryota Murata.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The big show this coming Saturday is in Osaka, where Nakazato Boxing Gym will be promoting a very good looking Japanese title double header, with both title bouts being genuinely good looking ones.
On paper the less competitive looking bout will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) defending his belt against the criminally under-rated, but very much in form Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5). Saka won the title in 2019, in arguably the best performance of his career as he battered Masaru Sueyoshi into submission, and defended it 2021 with a destructive win over Takuya Watanabe, but lost in a regional title bout against Yoshimitsu Kimura at the end of last year, which could see his confidence being shattered coming in to this. Nakagawa has a very scruffy looking record, but he is 7-1 in his last 8 and has won his last 6, including notable victories over Seiichi Okada, Taiki Minamoto and Shinnosuke Hasegawa, and will be full of confidence here, in the biggest opportunity of his career. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Japanese champion Saka faces Nakagawa!
The other title fight will see veterans collide as Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) faces Kenta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 12) for the Japanese Super Flyweight title, which was vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga. For both men it feels like a must win bout. Aged 37 Kudaka is a true veteran, a 4 time world title challenger and a former 1-time Japanese national champion who has had a thrilling career, with an exciting style, and some really memorable nights. Sadly at his age and with his style things will catch up with him, but he's very much a true warrior, with impressive work rate, stamina, toughness and fighting spirit, even in his mid 30's. As for Nakagawa, who's a 2-time Japanese champion, he is 36 himself and the better technical boxer here, but also the man who took an absolute pasting just 2 fighter ago, against the aforementioned Fukunaga. These two could put on a stinker, if father time has his word, or a legitimate fight of the year contender, it really is a very hard one to call, and one we are seriously intrigued by. Our preview of this bout can be read here Kudaka and Nakagawa clash for Japanese title!
The Grand Ho Tram Strip, Vung Tau, Vietnam
There is also set to be a small, but notable, card in Vietnam, where Cocky Buffalo will be putting on their next show.
The most notable bout on this card will see Uzbek veteran Olimjon Nazarov (27-5, 15) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title, as he takes on Filipino youngster Jerome Baloro (6-1, 4). The 33 year old Nazarov is highly ranked by the WBO, but his competition has, for the most part, been weak and this feels very much like a case a case of defending his regional title until he becomes the mandatory and gets a shot almost by default, without being prepared or particularly qualified for a shot at a fighter like Junto Nakatani. As or Baloro his competition has been weak and he was beaten last December by fellow Filipino hopeful Regie Suganob.
Dauis, Bohol, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan and Vietnam there is also set to be a show in Bohol, headlined by an interesting domestic Super Flyweight title bout.
The aforementioned regional title bout will see the unbeaten Rodel Suganob (6-0-1, 2) battle against Ranelio Quizo (10-2, 3) for the very lightly regarded, and currently vacant, WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight crown. The 25 year old Suganob has is a promising youngster who showed his potential last time out, when he stopped former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano in 4 rounds. The promising southpaw looks like he could go a long, but needs to be tested so we can see what he's really made of. As for Quizo he's 23 and has won his last 3 bouts, including a good win over Philip Luis Cuerdo, but did lost back to back bouts not too long ago, and it's unclear just how good he is. One thing that we should see here is both men answering questions and pushing each other which is exactly what both men need at this point in their careers.
Wadong Gymnasium, Ansan, South Korea
The main card this coming Saturday comes from South Korea where we get an excellent card featuring a female world title fight, two minor regional title fights and several promising prospects.
The main event of the show will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) defending her title, for the first time, against mandatory challenger Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1) of Vietnam. This champion won the title in spectacular fashion, knocking out Ayaka Miyao, but has at 40 years old and with just 3 fights since the start of 2019 it's hard to know what she has left, especially given how hard her career has been and how many wars she has been involved in. At her best Tada was one of the elite female fighters in the lower weights, but those years are well past her by now. Nguyen made her debut in 2015, but only really started taking the sport seriously as a professional in 2019, scoring 3 wins before the pandemic pretty much paused her career in early 2020. She has been lined up for a world title fight for well over a year, but due to the pandemic was unable to face Ayaka Miyao or Tada for the belt, and has had to wait until now for this opportunity. That has left her out of the ring for over 18 months. A full preview of this bout can be read here Tada travels to defend against Nguyen
The more notable of two WBO Oriental title bouts will see the world ranked Olimjon Nazarov (25-5, 14) defending his regional title against once beaten Filipino challenger Michael Mendoza (11-1-2, 4). The 35 year old champion is knocking on the door of a WBO world title fight, however he is ancient for a Flyweight, at 35, and he lacks the profile which would help him get a shot at the top. Notably he has aged well and is currently riding a 12 fight winning run coming into this bout. Mendoza is a relative unknown outside of Asia, but he has shown plenty to like and looked very impressive in his 2019 win over Kento Yabusaki, which is the only other time he's fought outside of the Philippines. He will go in to this as the under-dog, but is the much younger man, and knows that he has nothing to lose and everything to win. Expect to see Mendoza using his speed and movement, and Nazarov looking to use power and experience.
A second WBO Oriental title fight will be held at Minimumweight and see Vietnam's Minh Phat Sam (7-3, 5) take on former world title challenger ArAr Andales (12-2, 4), from the Philippines. Of the two men Andales is the more well known, having given Knockout CP Freshmart a tough test in 2019, but he has struggled since than win and is only 2-1 since losing to Knockout more than 3 years ago. He's certainly a talent but his career has lost all momentum in recent years. Phat on the other hand is is a man who struggled early on in his career, but is 7-1 in his last 8, albeit against very low level competition. This bout is a chance for Phat to make a name for himself, but he will be a a very clear under-dog.
In other bouts on this card we'll see once beaten Uzbekistani prospect Abdurasul Ismoilov (8-1, 5) clash with Korean fighter Moo Hyun Kim (8-1, 4), in what looks like a fantastic 50-50 style bout whilst unbeaten Uzbekistani puncher Abdulazizbek Najmiddinov (7-0, 6) takes on Sung Hun Kim (1-4), in what should be an easy win for Najmiddinov
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the show in South Korea we also have an interesting card in the Philippines, headlined by an excellent regional title bout, and also featuring a strong of notable names on the under-cards.
The main event will see former world title challenger Giemel Magramo (24-2, 20) look to bounce back from his 2020 loss to Junto Nakatani as he takes on Jayr Raquinel (12-1-1, 9), in a bout for the vacant OPBF Flyweight title. The talented and heavy handed Magramo was made to look third rate against Nakatani and will be looking to avoid another loss here, though with a lot of inactivity and his confidence likely to be at a low point following that loss it's hard to know just what he'll be like here. Raquinel, a former OPBF Flyweight champion, is a man who has been easy to over-look, but is a very live fighter with solid power and no fear of fighting as the under-dog. Sadly Raquinel has fought just twice since the start of 2019, and is horribly inactive, but the 24 year old southpaw will know a win gets his career back on track. This could be a very, very exciting bout and is one of the best all-Filipino match ups of 2021. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Magramo and Raquinel battle for OPBF honours!
The chief support bout will be another bout as another member of the Magramo clan, this time Arvin Magramo (12-1-1, 8), takes on the once beaten Jerry Francisco (9-1, 2) for the lightly regarded WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title. The talented Magramo has bounced back well since suffering a split decision loss to Garen Diagan back in 2018, winning 4 bouts in a row to get his career back in track. Incidentally Francisco's only loss has also come to Diagan, losing a technical decision to Diagan in 2019. Since that loss Francisco has bounced back with two wins, but they have come at a very low level and he should, really enter this bout as the under-dog
Another man who came up short in a world title bout is Juan Miguel Elorde (28-2, 15) , who is best known for losing to Emanuel Navarrete in 2019. The once touted Elorde, who is Flash Elorde's grandson, will be fighting for the first time since losing to Navarrete and should be picking up a very, very easy win as he takes on Aroel Romasasa (11-9, 5). Although not world class, or even close to it, Elorde is a solid and decent fighter whilst Romasasa is man who has lost his last 8, hasn't win since 2010 and hasn't fought since 2016, and that's not likely to change here.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22), who fights for the first time since being stopped in 2019 by Kenshiro Teraji. The hard hitting 34 year old south paw is now likely past his best, but should still have far, far too much for 38 year old journeyman Albert Alcoy (15-28-8, 5), who is 1-14-3 in his last 18 bouts! Taconing is unlikely to get another world title fight, but he should get a win here.
Ghani Sports Football Club, Karachi, Pakistan
We're set to get a show from Pakistan, albeit at a much, much lower level, as Pakistani boxing continues its slow and gradual domestic development.
The proof of how lacking the Pakistani domestic scene currently is can be seen in the fact the card is set to feature a bout between Shahir Afridi (2-0-1) and Haroon Khan (1-3, 1), who clash for the national Middleweight title. Afridi, struggled to a win last time out and has never beaten anyone with a win to their name, whilst Khan's last fight was a loss at Welterweight. Fingers crossed the domestic scene improves as this sort of a "title fight" does little to help the Pakistani scene.
Also on the card will be the unbeaten Taimoor Khan (3-0, 2), a very rare Pakistani Heavyweight hopeful who is looking to step up into an 8 rounder for the first time and battle for the Pakistan national Heavyweight title. Sadly however no opponent has been named at the time of writing, suggesting that his opponent will not be a notable one, or a testing one. Again not a great way to crown a national champion.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge one for Asian boxing, but we so have plenty of hopefuls in action.
The biggest name in action is the hotly tipped Uzbek standout Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4), who takes on former world title challenger Charlie Navarro (29-9, 22). This bout, a world title eliminator with the WBA, is a good step forward for Madrimov on paper, but should be little more than another showcase when the two men actually get into the ring. As we all already know Madrimov is a very special talent and a win here should set him up for a world title fight later in the year. Navarro, despite being 40 years old, is no push over and could ask some questions of Madrimov by relying on his experience and power.
Over in Asia we'll have a show in Cambodia of all places, where we'll see several fighters of note in action.
In the main event Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (21-5, 12) will take on Filipino fighter Orlie Silvestre (15-5-2, 8) in a bout for a WBO regional title. Although Nazarov has 5 losses to his name he has won his last 8 and appears to be "coming good" as experience and time has allowed him to develop, and score wins over the likes of Ivan Soriano and Kongfah Nakornluang. Silvestre is a decent fighter, but is very much the smaller man and we suspect he'll struggle here, given he's a small Light Flyweight, and Nazarov is a big Flyweight.
In another title bout we'll see Vietnamese fighter Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (3-0, 1) battle against Thai foe Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (7-4, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title. The unbeaten 23 year old Nguyen is stepping up massively here, but a win would put her in the mix for a world title bout. Aged 21 Kanyarat has previously fought at world level, where she was stopped by Etsuko Tada in a world title eliminator, and has lost 2 of her last 3. We see the unbeaten Vietnamese fighter picking up the win here.
Another Uzbek Vs Philippines bout on this show will see Abdurasul Ismoilov (7-1, 4) take on veteran Adones Aguelo (33-20-2, 23). On paper this looks like another step forward for Ismoilov, who looks to continue to rebuild following a surprise 2019 loss to Hwang Kil Kim, but Aguelo, on his day, can be a banana skin. Aguelo is tough, rugged, his hard and can pick up upsets, as he did last year against Eden Sonsona and did a few years ago against Jerry Nardo. Aguelo will be the under-dog, but he has got the ability to ask real questions of Ismoilov.
Another fighter of note on this card is Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (12-1 8), who looks to rebuild from a loss to Billy Dib. The talented Tran will be strongly favoured here as he takes on Filipino journeyman Aries Buenavidez (13-4, 7), who was stopped in November by Petch Sor Chitpattana. Tran may have disappointed against Dib, but we suspect he will be too big and too good for Buenavidez here.
The main show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo, where we get the East Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 12 bouts scheduled for the show. The winners here will move on to December's All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where they will face the West Japan representatives. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have got 4 bouts that do really interest us.
At Lightweight we'll see Shinnosuke Saito (5-3, 2) take on the unbeaten Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6). Saito has has twice been beaten in previous Rookie of the Year events, losing to Zirolian Riku in 2017 and George Tachibana in 2018, and will be hoping it's third time lucky. Sasaki on the other hand only made his debut in August 2018, and the 18 year old has been really active and really impressive. His competition hasn't been great though he looked fantastic in his East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final in September, when he stopped Tetsuya Kondo. It's hard to see Sasaki losing, but this should be his best test so far.
At Featherweight we'll see the unbeaten Daiki Imanari (5-0, 3) take on Kyonosuke Kameda (4-1-1, 3). The unbeaten Imanari made his debut in October 2018 and has notched 4 wins this year as he's marched his way to. Aged 22 and fighting out of the southpaw stance Imanari has been impressive and booked his place in the final with an opening round TKO win against Azumah Tanaka. The once beaten Kameda, the cousin of the Kameda fighting brothers, is a huge Featherweight, at 6'0" and although he's not unbeaten he has improved drastically since being stopped on his debut at the very start of January 2018. This could be a really interesting bout and it's worth noting that both men can really punch.
On paper the Super Flyweight bout between Satoshi Iriinafuku (5-4, 4) and Seiya Meguro (4-0, 3) might not look great but this could be the hidden gem for the show. The 26 year old Iriinafuku is on a roll this year, scoring 3 successive stoppages and appears to have build his confidence with those wins, including surprise win over Rui Ikari in his semi final in September. Meguro on the other hand is a talented 19 year old who has been very dangerous in the early stages. Expect leather to fly in the opening couple of rounds of their scheduled 5 rounder.
The final bout that really interests us is the Minimumweight bout, which will pit unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Katsuki Mori (4-0, 1) against the very exciting Shu Nawai (3-1, 2), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two actually fought in October 2018, when Mori out pointed the debuting Nawai, and it's fair to say that the aggressive Nawai will want to avenge that loss against the slippery and sharp Mori. This should be very interesting with their styles meshing well and the history of their previous bout.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Rookie of the Year show in Japan there will also be a card in Vietnam.
The main event of this card is a really interesting one, with Korean teenager Jong Seon Kang (9-0-2, 6) facing off against Filipino youngster Tomjune Mangubat (11-1-1, 9) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Featherweight title. Kang impressed earlier this year, when he stopped Qixiu Zhang in China, and this will be his second bout in Vietnam, following a draw back in August. Mangubat on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 and there is very little of quality on his record and this appears to be a genuine step up for him. This could be a very interesting match up.
Another potentially interesting fight will see Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (19-5, 11) take on the limited but fun to watch Kongfah Nakornluang (32-1, 20) from Thailand. Coming in to this Nazarov has won 6 in a row, including a huge win in August over Ivan Soriano, and is a long way removed from the man who lost 3 times in just over 3 months. Kongfah on the other hand has 10 wins in a row since his sole loss, Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, but those wins have come against total novices, and his last bout was way back in March 2018.
Also set for this show is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (11-0, 8), who takes on Filipino visitor Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5). The talented Tran has had a really frustrating career, with bouts being cancelled and plans being changed, and sadly this will be his first bout in over 16 months! A huge change to the first half of 2018, where he fought 4 times in just 6 months. Remandiman has rebuilt really well since a 2-4-1 start to his career, and has won 8 in a row, including a recent win over Renz Rosia. The visitor has momentum coming into this, but will be regarded as the clear under-dog.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Our attention turns to the TV5 studio this coming Sunday for an interesting card featuring an IBO world title bouts, and some good bouts pitting young hopefuls against each other, as the Ultimate Boxing Series (UBS) has it's finals.
The main event of the show will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-1, 7) take on Mexican visitor Maximino Flores (24-4-1-2, 17) for the IBO Flyweight title. The talented Penalosa has won 7 in a row, including 4 straight by T/KO, but this is a step up in class and looks like his toughest bout, by far. Flores on the other hand is a young veteran who has clashed with the likes of Milan Melindo, Martin Tecuapetla and Andrew Selby. Experience favours Flores, but he is 0-2 outside of Mexico.
The UBS Flyweight final will see 26 year old April Jay Abne (3-0, 1), who debuted this February, take on Ronel Sumalpong (8-1-1-1, 5), who has been a professional for more than 2 years. Both fighters have looked really promising through their UBS bouts, winning unanimous decisions in both of their bouts so far, but have shown a real lack of power, with neither man yet to score a stoppage. The winner here will be ear marked for something much bigger in the near future, and will likely have ESPN5 well and truly behind them.
The other UBS bout on this show will take place at Bantamweight and see unbeaten men collide. The match up will have Lienard Sarcon (6-0, 2) take on Aljum Pelesio (8-0, 5) in what looks like a mouth watering prospect vs prospect match. The 19 year old Sarcon won his quarter final bout with no issue, but struggled in his semi with Gary Tamayo. On the other other hand the 21 year old Pelesio has only really lost a single round in both of his bouts and he will likely be the slight favourite here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Filipino show, which is expected to be streamed on ESPN5, there is also a card from Vietnam, with some international title interest.
The main event of this card will see 33 year old Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (18-5, 11) take on 30 year old Filipino Ivan Soriano (20-2-1, 10) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title, which has recently been vacated by the excellent Giemel Magramo. The talented Soriano has rebuilt since losing to Wenfeng Ge last year with a couple of low key wins, and knows that a world title fight not be far off with a win here. Nazarov on the other hand has won 5 in a row, though his wins have typically been against a very low level of opposition and this would be his biggest win to date, if he managed to over-come Soriano.