The main card this coming Sunday is the first Japanese card of 2020, and it's an exciting one as we see the Knock Out Dynamite finals, as well as the return to the ring of a former Japanese national champion and a likely show case for a former world title challenger.
For those who aren't aware of the Knock Out Dynamite format the fighters will be given a financial bonus for a stoppage win. The bonuses are bigger the earlier a fighter gets a stoppage, so round 1 pays better than round 5.
The most interesting match up will see hard hitting Japanese based Dominican fighter Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24) take on former Mongolian amateur standout Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0) in the 65KG Knock Out Dynamite tournament final. On paper this looks like a massive mismatch, with Baez having so much more experience than the Mongolian, however we were really impressed by Byambatsogt on debut and certainly wouldn't rule him out here.
At 60KG's, in another Knock Out Dynamite tournament final, Japanese veteran Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) will take on Filipino slugger Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9). Takahata is a former Japanese title challenger who, at the age of 40, will know that time is running down on his career, Esquierdo on the other hand took the full bonus in his semi-final bout. We expect this to be a very exciting match up.
In a rather notable Lightweight bout former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) returns to the ring for the first time in over 2 and a half years! The popular and hard hitting Tsuchiya was last seen in a ring in June 2017, retiring soon after his win over Shota Suito. In the opposite corner to Tsuichya will be China's once beaten Yangyang Li (8-1-2). On paper this looks interesting but it should be noted that this is a huge step up in class for Li, in what will be his first bout outside of China.
In what looks likely to be a total mismatch former world title challenger Shohei Omori (20-3, 15) will take on Filipino Danny Tampipi (9-10-2, 5), who is a replacement for Chinese fighter Leshan Li who was stopped in December in Kazakhstan. The last time we saw Omori he was being stopped by Hiroaki Teshigawara in an OPBF title and this is a big step down for the "Demon Left", who should rebuild some self belief with a blow out.
Sadly a match up between the unbeaten pairing of Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) and Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) has been cancelled. They were set to clash in the 56KG Knockout Dynamite final, before the bout was called off.
China will play host to a small yet card headlined by an OPBF Silver title fight, which could end up being a very explosive one.
The bout in question will see Korean In Duck Seo (12-2-2, 7) take on Chinese local Youli Dong (15-2-1, 9) for the OPBF Silver Welterweight title. The Korean fighter had a mixed 2019, scoring a sensational KO in Australia against Tysinn Best before losing later in the year against Khusniddin Pulatov. Interestingly Dong also had an up and down 2019, losing to Mikka Shonena in Tanzania before bouncing back with a win in December against Larry Siwu. Given both men can bang this could be very fun, low level action.
The chief support bout here will see Tajik born Chinese fighter Avzalbek Kuranbaev (5-1-1, 3) take on Indonesian foe Rivo Kundimang (9-1-2, 5) in a rather solid looking 6 rounder.
On the subject of China there will also be a low level show in Changsha, featuring rookies. Not too worthy of note here, but there are 6 bouts pencilled in for this card, featuring 10 debutants in total.
Another card will be held in Indonesia, where the Metro TV Studio will play host to a small card featuring a mix of veterans and novices.
The most notable bout on the card will see former world title contender Noldi Manakane (33-30-3, 18) take on the once promising Patrick Liukhoto (10-2-1, 7) in a second bout between the two men. The 36 year old Manakane, who has now had 66 bouts, has failed to win any of his last 6 bouts, and has lost 5 in a row. Interestingly the last time Manakane avoided a loss was when he fought to a draw with Liukhoto. The 26 year old Liukhoto was 9-0 when he faced Manakane in November 2018 but is now 1-2-1 in his last 4 and his early promise appears to be well and truly done.
Another veteran here is journeyman Jason Butar Butar (31-27-1, 19), who faces off with novice Carlos Obisuru (3-4-1, 1). Butar Butar is no world beater and he should have far too much in the tank for Obisuru, who has gone 0-4-1 in his last 5, but if Obisuru loses here it's almost impossible to think of him having much of a career going forward.
Arguably the most interesting of the match ups here is an all debutant bout as Dedy Imprax (0-0) and Zainul Hasan Jr (0-0) face off in a 6 rounder. Given this is an all debutant bout it at least looks even on paper, whilst much of the card looks like it's heavily stacked in favour of the more experienced fighter involved.
A week after the East Japan Rookie of the Year final we get the West Japan Rookie of the Year final, and as with the East Japan version we again get some fantastic looking bouts. Obviously we won't go through the whole card but have selected 4 bouts that intrigue us
We see unbeaten fighters clash in the Minimumweight bout as 24 year old Sho Hatsuda (2-0) takes on 21 year old puncher Takumi Chono (4-0, 3). Hatsuda made his debut last December, and then spent 9 months away from the ring before earning his place here in September, with a narrow win over Hyogo Kimura. Chono on the other hand struggled to a majority decision win in Vietnam last December, against Van Thanh Nguyen, but has blown away his other 3 opponents. We have boxer against puncher, and this could be a lot of fun.
Another battle between unbeaten men comes at Flyweight where 19 year olds Yasuhiro Kanzaki (3-0, 1) and Atsuki Nakamura (3-0-1, 3) clash. Kanzaki only debuted in April this year but has had a year to remember, earning his place in the West Japan Rookie of the Year final. Interesting Nakamura has been a professional for a year longer than his foe, but he hasn't had significantly more activity, and both of his last 2 bouts were wins over the win-less Daichi Kosaka. On paper this is another boxer Vs puncher bout, and is a very even looking one.
On paper the most explosive is the Featherweight bout, which will pit 23 year old banger Jinki Maeda (2-0, 2), who has stopped both of his bouts so far inside the opening round, against 20 year Hikaru Fukunaga (4-0, 4), who has scored 3 opening round T/KO's. We're not expecting this one to go long and we're certainly not expecting a boxing classic, but this could end up being a very, very explosive and exciting clash between two guys who look to go for the win, and go for it early.
One final bout worthy of some attention is the Welterweight bout, where Homare Yasui (3-1-2, 3) will face the unbeaten Hiroya Nojima (3-0, 2). Strangely Nojima debuted after Yasui's most recent bout, and Yasui is more than 18 months removed from his last win. We suspect Nojima will be the favourite, but both guys can punch and this, like the Featherweight bout, could be very explosive.
We also get a Filipino card thanks to Brico Santig and his Highland Boxing Team.
Overall this card isn't great but we do like the main event, which will be the third meeting between Alie Laurel (16-4-1, 10) and Ernesto Saulong (22-5-2, 9), with the two men trading blows for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The two fighter have had two hotly contested bouts already, with Saulong winning both at Bantamweight, but this is a good chance for Laurel to get revenge and build on his momentum. Coming in to this Saulong has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, including a huge upset loss to Waldo Sabu, whilst Laurel has gone 6-1-1 in his last 8 and has all the momentum behind him.
In Fuzhou, China we get a small card that has 3 bouts of note on it, including one of the most anticipated debuts in recent years. The card certainly isn't a big one, but it's one that does do enough to deserve real attention.
On paper the main event looks to be an all Chinese bout, with the best bout on the show set to be a contest between unbeaten puncher Jianzheng Wang (9-0, 7) and the once beaten Zhaoxin Zhang (7-1-1, 3). The 32 year old Wang has won various regional minor titles and although his competition hasn't been great he does seem to have the power to step up a level, to the more significant regional titles. Zhang on the other hand appears to be abandoning the Light Heavyweight division to make his mark at Cruiserweight and he has proven to be a tough, but flawed, fighter. This could be a very entertaining clash.
Another unbeaten Chinese fighter on this show is Yeerlan Nuerlanbieke (3-0, 1), who will be up against the more experienced Yangcheng Jin (9-5-2, 5). The unbeaten Nuerlanbieke isn't the most active but is seemingly going with the "quality, not quantity" argument here and will be stepping up from 6 rounders to 10 rounds. He's looked decent but this is a big step up. Jin on the other hand has lost 3 of his last 5, but shouldn't be written off, with wins over Ukyo Yoshigai and Antonio Siesmundo in his last 3. This is a lot better than it looks on paper.
The main talking point for this show, at least when the show was announced, was the debut of 2016 Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov (0-0) from Uzbekistan. The talented Uzbek has has seen a lot of attention given his way with rumours since 2016 about his professional debut, and some notable upset losses in major amateur competitions since Rio. He's expected to be fast tracked through the ranks, but will need to get past Chinese local De Bin Zhou (3-1-1, 2) in an 8 rounder before eyeing up those bigger bouts. It should be noted however that this bout has now been removed from Boxrec, so there is a feeling this contest may now have been cancelled, which would be massively unfortunate.
A second Chinese card will come from Qingdao and the most notable bout pencilled in here is a contest between Chenghao Luo (2-0-1, 2) and the debuting Iranian Yaser Yaser (0-0).
We also have a show in Thailand, which is low key but still interesting.
The most interesting bout on the show will see the unbeaten pairing of Murodjon Yokubov (5-0, 4) and Abhilash Raut (3-0, 3) face off. The 26 year old Yokubov is a Thai based Uzbek hopeful, who has stopped his last 4, including 3 opening round stoppages. He looks promising, but his competition so far has been very limited. On the other hand Raut, from India, turned pro this January and has also been crushing cans, with 3 stoppages in a combined 5 rounds. Expect this one to be explosive from the off.
A second bout of interest will be a Thai Light Welterweight title fight as Musheg Adoian (2-1, 2) takes on Padyod Keartjareunsiri (2-0). The 24 year old Adoian is an Armenian born Russian who is now fighting out Thailand and has scored a couple of early wins after a loss on debut in June. Incidentally Adoian's loss on debut came to Padyod, who was also debuting, meaning this bout has a little bit of history, as well as the title, going for it.
Another low key card comes from Indonesia, where we'll see a card headlined by Jason Butar Butar (30-27-1, 19), who was last seen losing to Hiroshige Osawa, taking on Selsius Rumlus (5-12, 3).
This card will also feature the once touted Patrick Liukhoto (9-2-1, 7) battle against Louis Loemoli (4-18-1, 2), with Liukhoto looking to bounce back from successive losses.