This coming Saturday is set to be a great day for fight fans, some major bouts taking place around the globe, some with and some without Asian fighters involved. For fight fans who have been starved of big fights this month, things really do step up a gear this weekend.
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
The biggest show of the day, by far, is from Texas where we see the long awaited rematch between Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada as well as the massive female rematch between Jessica McCaskill and Cecilia Braekhus.
The show will also feature the US debut of Japanese star Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9), as he looked to defend his Ring Magazine and WBA "super" Light Flyweight titles against Mexican youngster Axel Aragon Vega (14-3-1, 8).
Kyoguchi turned professional in 2016 and raced away to his first world title, the IBF Minimumweight title, before moving up in weight in 2018, and winning the WBA Light Flyweight title in Macau, by stopping Hekkie Budler. Since winning the title he has defended the belt twice, and had planned to defend the title in 2020, before he had one bout cancelled due to Covid19 in May and then had to cancel a second bout when he himself tested positive. For the 20 year old Vega, who also debuted in 2016, this will be his second shot at a title, following a 2019 loss to WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez. Despite putting in a good performance against Mendez, and running him close, it's assumed this will be too much, too soon, for the Mexican youngster as he takes on one of the best Light Flyweights out there. Our in depth preview of this world title fight can be read here Kyoguchi makes his US debut, takes on Vega!
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Before the Texas card DAZN we get the chance to see an interesting Thai card, featuring a man who holds a win over both Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, and two very promising Thai prospects.
The man who has beaten both Estrada and Gonzalez is, of course, former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvidai (49-5-1, 42), who looks to kick his 2021 campaign off with a tune up bout. In the opposite corner to the destructive southpaw will be former world WBA Minimumweight world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-7-1, 27). The hard hitting Srisaket is expected to face the winner of the Gonzalez Vs Estrada rematch later in the year, and is the WBC mandatory challenger for the winner. Rather than risking that title shot he'll be up against someone who has been stopped in 4 of his last 7, and scored his last major win more than a decade ago. Thankfully NKL and Work Point, in Thailand, are not dressing this up as a serious match up, and neither will we. This should be a regarded as a tune up for Srisaket before a big fight later in the year, and nothing else.
In a really good supporting bout WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight champion Phongsaphon Panyakum (11-1, 6) will be defending his title against former Naoya Inoue opponent Karoon Jarupianlerd (44-10, 20), also known as Petchbarngborn Kokietgym. The once beaten Phongsaphon has reeled off 11 straight wins since a loss, on debut, to Kai Ishizawa, and has looked like a genuinely promising young prospect in recent bouts. Despite now having 10 losses to his name Karoon is certainly no push over, and he gave talented youngster Nattapong Jankaew genuine fits last November, and could end up being a very game challenger here. Aged 35 now Karoon has seen better days but mixing with the likes of Inoue, Akira Yaegashi, Kohei Kono and Sho Ishida has seen him pick up some tricks and he's a good domestic gatekeeper for the Thai scene.
In another good supporting bout the unbeaten Chainoi Worawut (13-0-1, 12) will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-9, 36). The hard hitting Chainoi has been really exciting and destructive since beginning his professional career back in 2018, and despite an early draw he has looked like one of the most promising young Thai's in the sport. Despite looking promising he has been matched relatively softly and this is a genuine step up in class for him. Pungluang is very much a faded force from what he once was, but he's still a handful and his pressure and work rate should guarantee a really fun fight here. He might be past his best but Pungluang doesn't really understand how to take a step backwards and even got a fun and exciting fight out of Amnat Ruenroeng. We expect this to be a bit of a sleeper hit.
Blue Arena, Samut Prakan, Thailand
The main action this coming Sunday comes from Thailand where Tantelecom are putting in a very, very interesting card, and as with two shows on Saturday this will be free to view online, via the promoters website.
The main event will see the very promising Nattapong Jankaew (6-0, 3) take on former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (44-9, 20). We've been really impressed by Nattapong and see him as being among the best of the rising Thai prospects. Unlike most Thai's he's very much a boxer first and it's clear he has some solid amateur pedigree and very good boxing foundations. Petchbarngborn is a 35 year old who has been been a pro since 2009 and has faced a relative who's who, including Inoue, Kohei Kono, Sho Ishida and Amnat Ruenroeng. Sadly though he is well past his prime and we see him really struggling here with the very skilled Nattapong.
In a supporting bout we'll see the debuting Thitisak Hoitong (0-0) take on former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (34-14-1, 12), who was last seen losing a decision to Nattapong. Sadly we don't know much about Thitisak, though it is known he fought as an amateur and is only 24 years old, but we do love the fact he's taking a test like Samartlek on his professional debut. Samartlek is past his best, but has proven to be a tough guy, who comes to fight ask questions of prospects and is a baptism of fire for someone making their debut. A very interesting fight, and a really tough debut for Thitisak.
Over in Japan we get the set of bouts from the Western Japan Rookie of the Year in Saga. Originally this show was supposed to have 10 bouts, but 3 of those bouts have been cancelled, including a Middleweight bout. Despite several bouts being cancelled there are still several worth talking about.
One of the more interesting bouts on this show is at Bantamweight, where Hiroki Kinjo (5-0, 4) takes on Fuya Tomita (3-2, 2), in a battle of 21 year olds. The unbeaten Kinjo made his debut in 2018 and has looked good so far, but has only faced absolute novices and his record lacks any sort of substance. In fact his 5 wins have come against opponents with a combined 1-3 record. Tomita's record is less impressive than that of Kinjo, but he has, on paper, faced better competition and was unfortunate in one of his losses. This might look like a mismatch but should be more competitive than it looks.
Another bout worthy of some attention is at Featherweight, where the 21 year old Hikaru Fukunaga (6-1, 4) takes on unbeaten 25 year old Masashi Tokihiro (1-0-1, 1). The talented Fukunaga lost around a year ago to the brilliant Jinki Maeda and since then has bounced back with two straight decision wins, though was run very close last time out out. Tokihiro made his debut in September 2019 with a win, but was held to a draw last time out. We expect this one to be explosive, and competitive.
This coming Saturday is a really busy day in Asia, but the standout card is a Japanese one with 4 notable bouts on it. Notably this card isn't just a good one on paper, but will also be available live, thanks to Boxing Raise.
The main event will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 12) make his first defense, of his second reign, as he battles against the limited but typically fun to watch Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5). The hard hitting Kuga won the belt back earlier this year, winning a Japanese Fight of the Year Contender against Ryoichi Tamura, and will be looking to impress here as he attempts to put his 2018 loss to Shingo Wake behind him. The power, pressure and aggression of Kuga is likely to be too much for the challenger but Fujihara does make for fun fights and this should be a fan friendly 1-sided bout. A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuga takes on Fujihara in first title defense!
A second title bout will see fast rising Japanese hopeful Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) take on former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Although not one of the big name hopefuls in Japan Murachi is very well regarded by those who have followed his career, and the plan had always been to fast track him, though we didn't expect such a big step up so early in his career. A win for Murachi at this stage will likely secure him a WBO world ranking but it's not an easy task. Saludar, who was once touted as a future world champion himself, has faltered in his biggest bouts, including bouts against Takuma Inoue and Sho Kimura, but is very capable. For Saludar another loss here would likely end his hopes of getting another world title fight, but he'll feel confident that his experience will be too much for the Japanese youngster. A very interesting match up. A full preview of this bout can be read here Murachi goes for gold in 5th fight, takes on Saludar for WBO regional title!
The third bout which is getting a lot of interest is a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator. This bout, the second of the eliminators for the 2020 Champion Carnival, will see former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) going up against hard hitting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6). For Taniguchi this is a must win bout, but also a huge step backwards following a bout with Vic Saludar earlier this year. As for Ishizawa this is a massive step up in class, and a win will put him on the map and secure a title fight next year. Our view is that it maybe too much too soon for Ishizawa, but we understand why he has taken the fight. This is genuine high risk, high reward for both men. Our preview of this bout is available here Taniguchi and Ishizawa meet in Japanese title eliminator
The final of the notable bouts will see rising Afghan born Japanese based Welterweight hopeful Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) continue to step up as he takes on rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) in what could turn out to be the best bout of the show. Kaneko is a very exciting, hard hitting boxer-puncher whilst Yun is a genuine tough guy who has scored more than his share of upset wins. This should be a real test for Kaneko, and could well be a genuine banana skin given the style that Yun brings to the ring. This bout has been featured as our One to watch-Kudura Kaneko vs Moon Hyon Yun this week.
In China we get an interesting card with an international feel to it.
In one of the main bouts we'll see Chinese puncher Jun Zhao (11-2-1, 8) take on Japanese foe Sonin Nihei (9-4-2, 1) in a contest for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Coming in to this the 26 year old Zhao has been in good form, winning his last 6, but hasn't looked sensational during that run and he certainly improvements to make. On the other hand Nihei has struggled for results, winning just 1 of his last 3, but will be travelling with the knowledge that he has the skills to spring in the upset.
In a supporting bout we'll see Mongolian hopeful Erkhembayar Batbayar (5-0, 3) take on Korean foe Jun Yong Lee (6-5-4, 3). This is a 10 rounder and on paper a big step up for the Mongolian, who has never been beyond 6 rounds so far. The Korean is a former national champion, but has won just 1 of his last 4, and is 2-4-1 in his last 7. Batbayar will be the favourite, and rightfully so, but this is certainly his biggest test to date.
Bang Phun, Thailand
We return to the Work Point Studio for a Thai card which will be available on Work Point in Thailand and DAZN in the US.
One of the main bouts on this card will see former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-9, 20) take on Filipino visitor Renz Rosia (15-8-1, 8). Petchbarngborn, also known as Karoon Jarupianlerd, has gone 8-1 since losing to Inoue in 2016 but has fought at a most limited level, with a loss earlier this year to Amnat Ruenroeng being the most notable of those bouts. Rosia on the other hand is 1-3-1 in his last 5 and despite once being a solid fighter at regional level looks like a man who is is often fighting above his best weight. Rosia always comes to fight, but there is a feeling that he probably won't have enough to over-come the Thai in Thailand, where an away win is never easy.
Another bout on this card pitting a Thai against a Filipino will see Nawaphon Kaikanha (46-1-1, 36) take the under-rated and tough Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). The once beaten Nawaphon is a former world title challenger who is also the brother of former world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Since his loss, in a WBC Flyweight title bout to Juan Hernandez, Nawaphon has moved up to Bantamweight and reeled off 10 straight wins. On paper Ponteras doesn't look like much of a threat, but in reality he's a really good journeyman who should take Nawaphon some rounds, and be competitive at times. Saying that however there are question marks about what Ponteras still has left following his first stoppage defeat back in March, when he was stopped in the opening round by Seiya Tsutsumi. At his best he was very much an upset minded fighter, who scored more than his share of wins against the odds, but he's now without a win in 4 bouts and could well be past his best.
Another bout on this card will be part of the WP Boxing Super Flyweight tournament and will see novices Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) face off. These two were supposed to fight in August but their bout was pushed back to here. On paper this 6 rounder promises a lot and should be competitive, and of course we're big fans of tournaments, so fingers crossed the winner of the overall competition will be given a career boost as Thailand looks to unearth it's next generation of talent.
A second show in Thailand is a much lower profile card. The bouts here are much less interesting and the main event will see Murodjon Yokubov (4-0, 3) battle against teenager Tanawat Ketsiri (2-5, 2). The 25 year old Yokubov is a Thai based Uzbek who turned pro last year and really needs a step up in the near future. Ketsiri on the other hand has lost 4 times this year, and looks almost certain to pick up another loss here.
Sadly not other bout on this card is really worth talking about.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Yet another show of some note is a Filipino card from the Elorde Sports Center in Paranaque City.
Among the bouts on this card is a clash of once beaten youngsters, as Arvin Magramo (10-1-1, 6) and Francis Jay Diaz (8-1-1, 1) face off in an 8 round Light Flyweight contest. Magramo is very much in the rebuilding stages of his career, following a defeat at the hands of Garen Diagan a year ago, but this is a tough match up on paper and his team are taking a risk here. The 21 year old Diaz, dubbed "The Amazing Boy" began his career 1-1-1 before reeling off 7 straight wins, but this is a bi step up for him. Although a low key bout, in the grand scheme of things, this is a very interesting match up
A second contest between fighters with a single loss to their name will feature Marlon Paniamogan (9-1-1, 5) and Jino Rodrigo (5-1-2, 4), who will also be involved in a 10 round fight. On paper this should be more explosive than the other bout however it's worth noting that Paniamogan was beaten last time out, losing a decision in Japan to Kuntae Lee. Rodrigo, on the other hand, is 3-1-2 in his last 6, suggesting neither has much moment coming into this bout.
A third bout of interest here sees unbeaten men battle, with Delmar Pellio (7-0, 3) and Marjon Piencenaves (6-0-1, 4) fighting in an 8 rounder. The 19 year old Pellio has only previously faced 1 opponent with a winning record and will be looking for his third win of the year. Piencenaves on the other hand is a 24 year old who is facing his first opponent with a winning record, so for both men this is a step up and their real, serious test.
New Delhi, India
There's also a small show in India.
The main bout on this card will see the unbeaten Rajesh Kumar (10-0-1-2) take on Filipino foe Ivor Lastrilla (11-7-1, 6) in an 8 round contest. The 25 year old Kumar has won his last 5, following a draw in October 2016, and is looking to build on those wins here. On paper Lastrilla is a step down from Kumar's last 2 foes, but could still make for an interesting test. The 27 year old Lastrilla has lost his last 3, but when on form he can be a good test. Lastrilla is unlikely to have the size, power or strength to be a physical threat to Kumar, but may have the skills to ask questions of him.
In a supporting bout female hopeful Ramandeep Kaur (5-0) will take on Thai journey-woman Saranyaphong Theinthong (2-13, 2), in what really should be an easy win for Kaur over 6 rounds.
Bang Phun, Thailand
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from Thailand, where Workpoint will be televising two notable all-Thai bouts.
The main event will see former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (59-5, 40) look to score his second win over Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (15-5-1, 13), and retain the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title. The veteran defeated Pongsaklek with a razor thin split decision back in March, to reclaim the regional title and to notch a win on his return to the ring after 18 months of inactivity. Pongsaklek will clearly be looking to avenge that loss and reclaim his title, and given his youth and relative freshness his team will be confident of their man getting revenge, and scoring his biggest win to date.
A second match will see the once beaten Rakniran Muadransarakam (13-1, 8) battle against former world title challenger Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (43-8-1, 20). Of the two men it's Petchbarngborn who is better know, though he is best known for losing in 8 rounds to Naoya Inoue back in 2016. Since that loss the experienced Petchbarngborn has scored 5 straight wins, though all 5 have come against very weak opposition. Rakniran on the other hand suffered his sole loss in October 2016, a technical draw against Shota Kawaguchi, and has only scored a single win since then. This is a real toss up, and should be very fun to watch.
As well as the relatively big Thai card there will be a small domestic show in the Philippines, featuring two really well matched bouts.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten 22 year old Denmark Quibido (6-0, 4) take on the once beaten Adrian Lerasan (6-1, 1), himself a 19 year old. The unbeaten fighter has impressed as he's stepped up in class, and his win over Ryan Torres this past March was a coming of age performance for the southpaw hopeful. The once beaten Lerasan can't be written off, his sole defeat was a 5 technical decision against the touted Jerven Mama and he does have the ability to get a win here. The winner will of this bout progress and the loser could also come out with an enhanced reputation.
The other excellent match up is a rematch between the unbeaten pairing of Joseph Ambo (6-0-1, 5) and Bienvenido Ligas (6-0-1, 4), who fought to a technical draw back in march when Ligas suffered a nasty cut from a headclash. Both of these men can punch, both are unbeaten and bother are young, with Ligas being 20 and Ambo being 21. Given the result of their first bout we're expecting both to come out fighting hard here, and not have an opening round feeling out session, and fans could be in for a real treat.
The first big Japanese show of the month takes place this coming Sunday in Kanagawa and looks set to be a significant one for a number of fighters as well as fans who can tune in on Fuji TV.
The main event of the show sees WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (10-0, 8) defending his title, for the third time, against Thai Petchbarngborn Kokikietgym (38-7-1, 18). For the challenger this will be his most notable fighter to date, and sees him return to Japan for his 6th bout in the country, it will however be his most difficult, and probably most painful. For Inoue the bout is a chance to get back to his most destructive against an opponent who really isn't in his league.
Naoya's little brother Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) is taking on another serious test as he faces fringe level Filipino fighter Froilan Saludar (23-1-1, 14). Saludar was, once, tipped to be one of the big stars of Filipino boxing but appears to have fallen well short of that mark. A win here for the Filipino would however reignite his career and put him back in the title mix. Inoue is the favourite and will be viewing this bout as a test before a potential world title fight, with the Japanese youngster said to be targeting a Bantamweight title later in the year.
A third Inoue on this card is cousin Koki Inoue (4-0, 3) who looks to continue his impressive start as he takes on Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (22-22-2,10). Inoue will be stepping into his first 8 round bout but we don't expect to see Andriyanto lasting the distance against the aggressive and heavy handed Japanese fighter.
Whilst much of the attention will be on the Inoue family there is however a lot of buzz around the debuting Satoshi Shimizu (0-0), who will be facing off against Korean visitor In Kyoo Lee (3-2, 1). Shimizu won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Aged 30 Shimizu's time to progress is relatively short but he's likely to be fast tracked and we could see him facing notable names as early as his next fight
A second Japanese card will be taking place in Osaka, with boxingraise.com showing this one on a 1 day tape delay.
In the main event fans will see the promising Takuya Uehara (9-0, 6) face off against the much more experienced Katsuhiko Kanno (9-9-7, 4). This Kanno has won just 1 of his last 9 bouts, but he has faced stiff competition and held several fighters to a draw, in fact with 7 draws from his 25 fights we can call him a draw expected. Aged 20 Uehara is a really promising fighter but this is a step up in class.
In a supporting bout former Japanese title challenger Masato Morisaki (11-4-1, 6) will be up against Takahiro Murai (13-6-2, 4) in what looks like a relatively even match up between two men each in need of a big win to build towards 2017 on.
Another notable match up here sees 23 year old prospect Kazuaki Miyamoto (1-0, 1) facing off against an Indonesian foe. Not much is known about the “opponent” but Miyamoto is tipped to be a special fighter and a win here will likely result in him moving into 8 round bouts and then building towards a title opportunity in 2017
The month of June has started relatively slowly though this Saturday sees things heating up with a lot of action featuring Asian fighters, including notable bouts outside of Asia.
One of those notable bouts is set to take place in the UK where Thai veteran Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (38-7-1, 18) faces former IBF Bantamweight champion Paul Butler (21-1, 12) in a bout for the WBO International Super Flyweight title, and a bout that could well set the winner on the way to facing world champion Naoya Inoue. For Petchbarngborn the bout sees him risking a 16 fight winning streak though he will be the clear under-dog and will be facing one of his best opponents to date. For Butler the bout is a step up in class, but one he will be strongly favoured to win.
Staying “on the road” Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan (35-3-0-1, 24) will be in Uruguay where he will face Argentinian fighter Cristian Rafael Coria (24-4-2, 9) in a bout for the “Interim” WBA International Lightweight title. Yordan should be the favourite here, but will be looking to do more than “just win” in what could potentially be a huge stepping stone towards a world title fight, later in the year.
Continuing with title action action outside of Asian fight fans in the US will see Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-6-1, 5) battle against the unbeaten, and heavy handed, Christian Gonzalez (13-0, 12) for the WBC Youth Lightweight title. This looks like a huge ask for Gemino but he will go in to the ring knowing that a win would open up some doors, and be a genuinely good win.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
One final bout of note outside of Asia will see former OPBF title challenger Jovylito Aligarbes (12-3, 6) face off against Edgar Jimenez (21-11-2, 15) in what looks like a well matched bout in Jimenez's homeland of Mexico.
As well as the bouts outside of Asia there is some interesting match ups in Asia.
One of those interesting match ups sees former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (22-5-3, 15) battle against Ribo Takahata (12-6-1, 4), in what could see the winner move towards a title fight. On paper Kaneko should be strongly favoured however he has lost 3 of his last 6 and doesn't look like the fighter that many tipped to become a world champion, following his competitive bout with Takashi Uchiyama at the end of 2013.
Another really good bout will see Shingo Eto (17-4-1, 9) face the once beaten Masaru Sueyoshi (11-1, 7). Eto is the better known man here but he has lost twice in his last 5 bouts and knows that another loss here could be the end of his title dreams. For Sueyoshi the bout will see him going for a 9th straight win and build on victories over the likes of Yuta Nagai and Kazuma Sanpei. This could be the bout of the day and is really well matched.
Talking about the possible “bout of the day” it's hard not to get a little bit excited about seeing Kenji Ono (10-1, 5) face Takumi Suda (12-11-2, 3). The records may not suggest that this one will be anything special but Ono has been in a FOTY once already this year, his 8th round win over Jun Takigawa, and could be forced into a war here against the under-rated Suda.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
There's also action in the Philippines, though the matches here are mostly looking like mismatches.
The biggest of the mismatches sees former Filipino Light Welterweight champion Adones Cabalquinto (22-1, 15) battle against journeyman Rodel Wenceslao (11-11-1, 4). Cabalquinto was once tipped for big things but has seen his career flat line recently, despite that he should be far too good for Wenceslao here.
Thankfully there are some prospects on this card, despite them being in mismatches. One of those prospects is Genesis Libranza (9-0, 6) who looks to extend his perfect start as he battles veteran Jetly Purisima (21-18-4, 6). Although likely to be a mismatch this is a step up for Libranza and is the right way to move the promising 22 year “Cobra”.
Another prospect of note on this show is Lightweight hopeful Jayar Inson (10-0, 7), who faces Richard Betos (20-14-1, 7). This another “logical step” for a prospect, but one that doesn't look too exciting on paper. Inson has impressed in recent times and some are tipping him to fight for regional honours in the near future, he will however have to see off fighters like Betos if he's to progress to fighting for an OPBF title
For a second day running we get Rookie of the Year east bouts at the Korakuen Hall. The winners from these bouts will face the winners from Thursday's bout in the East Japan finals.
Again we won't look at all the bouts but a few have caught our eye, though it's just 2 this time.
On paper the best match up is at Featherweight where we get two fighters with identical records facing off in a really good encounter. This bout will see 19 year old Ryota Ishida (5-0, 3) take on 21 year old Teppei Kayanuma (5-0, 3). In his last bout Ishida looked fortunate to over-come Daiki Funayama, however Funayama was a southpaw and used that to his advantage, though has looked really promising in his other 4 bouts. Kayanuma had an easier time in his last bout, stopping Kazuhiro Koike in 4 rounds, but this will his toughest bout to date. A really good match up.
Another all unbeaten match up comes at Welterweight where we see southpaws collide in a bout between Masaharu Kaito (3-0) and Toshinobu Mimura (4-0-1, 3). The 26 year old Kaito hasn't really shined but has remained unbeaten so far winning and notched up 12 rounds of competitive experience. Since draw on his debut, back in May 2013, Mimura has looked very good and has taken out his last 3 foes in a combined 4 rounds, he'll be hoping to continue that run here. One guy can certainly in this one, whilst the other is a clear non puncher however they should make for a good bout together.
Naknon Sawan, Thailand
On Channel 7 in Thailand fans will get the chance to see the world ranked Petch Sor Chitpattana (32-0, 21) defend his WBC Youth Silver Bantamweight title against the limited and light hitting Eric Panza (8-4-1, 2). This should be an easy win for Petch, but we have been seeing Filipino's travel with a mind on upset mentality recently and we may well see that again here.
On a second Thai show, this one being aired on Channel 3SD, fans will see world ranked Super Flyweight contender Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (33-7-1, 15) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against the always testing Espinos Sabu (12-6-2, 5), of Indonesia. We know that Petchbarngborn will be the favourite but Sabu is capable of the upset here and may well shock his world ranked foe.
The most notable Asian action for the day is set to come form Laos and feature a world ranked Thai as well as a touted Hawaiian fighter.
The Thai, who is in the main event, is Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (32-7-1, 15) who will be hoping to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Indonesian visitor Frans Damur Palue (11-7-2, 6). This will be the second meeting between the two men this year with Petchbarngborn having already stopped the Indonesian in March in a PABA title fight
The other fight will see the unbeaten Kalae McShane (3-0, 1) take on Norasing Patanakan Gym (1-3, 1), who has lost his last 3. On paper this should be an easy win for McShane who has been touted following a successful career as an amateur.
In China fans will get the chance to see a WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title fight, the first in more than 5 years. The bout will see Taiwan's Yao Yi Ma (14-1, 10) take on Burkina Faso's Patrice Sou Toke (21-3, 11) in what looks to be a well matched bout on paper. Coming in to the bout Ma is on a 12 fight winning streak dating back to 2010 whilst Toke has won his last 4, albeit against limited opposition.
Western Australia, Australia
In Australia fans will get the chance to see Filipino puncher Marlon Alta (12-6, 9) battle against Australia's very own Luke Sharp (12-2-3, 5) in an intriguing 8 round bout. Whilst Alta has lost his last 4 bouts we wouldn't totally rule him out of this one against a man who was held to a draw last time out.
The Rookie of the Year continues on May 15th with 12 bouts in the Rookie of the East. These bouts will take place between Light Flyweight and Middleweight.
Rather than going into each of the bouts we'll just note that the Super Featherweight division is the busiest of the weight classes with 3 bouts, though there was originally 4 bouts in the division wish one being cancelled after the card was announced.
In Thailand fans will have a small show on channel 7.
The main event on the Thai show will see Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (31-7-1, 14) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Indonesian Tommy Seran (24-4, 15) in what looks like a great bout on paper. Unfortunately however Seran is 1-3 in his last 4 bouts and all 3 of those losses have come on the round, including a defeat to recent “world” title challenger Ma Yi Ming, who was recently dominated by Randy Petalcorin.
In a supporting bout Petchorhae Kokietgym (11-0, 7) will be putting his unbeaten record on the line against busy Indonesian Domi Nenokeba (11-23-1, 7), who will be looking to avoid a 24th straight loss. Although active Nenokeba has become a professional loser, picking up 6 defeats last year alone.
Another Thai in action here will be Manachai Banchamek (3-0-1, 2) , who continues his trend of fighting every month this year. Last time out we saw Manachai fight to a draw with Boonpon Rachawongsi and we've got to admit we like what we've seen so far of Manachai.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we get the chance to see a couple more fights involving Asian fighters.
The main event of the card will see Filipino puncher Marco Demecillo (20-3-1, 15) attempt to claim the PABA Super Bantamweight title as he battles against TJ Doheny (10-0, 7). The bout is genuinely interesting and we're hoping it lives up to the expectation.
Lower on the card China's Zhang Yong (3-4-1, 1) will be battling win-less Australian Ehsan Shakeri (0-4) in a low level 4 round bout whilst Komkit Chanawong (0-1) will be up against it as he faces Darragh Foley (4-0, 3).
In the US fans will have the chance to see the very promising Dauren Yeleussinov (1-0, 1), originally from Kazakhstan, battle against Eddie Tigs (1-5-3). Tigs is a tough and tall fighter, who has never been stopped, however Yeleussinov is a sensational prospect and the 28 year old is expected to be fast tracked. A quick win here for the Kazakh will hopefully see him stepping up in class.
Some days are insanely busy and today is one such day with more fights of note than almost any other day this year, and better yet they are spread all over the globe form the Philippines to the US, from Germany to Mexico. It really is a great day to look forward to.
New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)