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.
December 5th- Thai double header, Nakano in action in Japan and Central Asian's set for Russian show!
It's fair to say that this coming Saturday is set to be an busy day, despite not being one lined up with super-fights. Instead we get some evenly matched bouts and some prospects in action.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
For us the most interesting show this coming Saturday is the latest in the WP Boxing series thanks to NKL and Workpoint, who will be streaming the bout on their Facebook and Youtube channels.
The card is a rare double header on Thai TV and in fairness both of the main bouts are very solid ones.
One of those main bouts will see the unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee (7-0, 2) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Musheg Adoian (7-2, 7) in the second bout between the two men. These two fought back in October with Apichet taking a controversial 8 round decision over Adoian, who scored 2 knockdowns and seemed to do enough to take at least a draw. The controversial nature of their first bout lead to calls for a rematch and now, just 2 months later, we see them go again. We can't help but think that Thai based Russian Adoian will be looking to make a point here following the controversial first bout, and Apichet will need to be at his very best to avoid defeat this time around.
The other main bout will see highly touted prospect Thai prospect Phongsaphon Panyakum (10-1, 5) take on former WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook (60-10, 41), with Phongsaphon looking to defend the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title. The 20 year old Panyakum has been really impressive since losing on debut to Kai Ishizawa, and has gone from a scrawny, under-developed teenage, into a promising, tough and aggressive 20 year old with real raw potential, though potential that certainly needs ironing out. Kompayak on the other hand is a 38 year old who is very much one the back end of his career, but is still a hungry and aggressive fighter who has been testing prospects regularly in recent years, and he could have the style, toughness and energy to be a real handful for the youngster here. Interestingly Kompayak did only get this bout on a few weeks notice, replacing former world title challenger Sarawut Thawornkham, who had to pull out of the bout and then retire, due to health issues.
Also on this card will be 23 year old hopeful Chainoi Worawut (12-0-1, 11), who is already in the WBC world rankings and is tipped for big things. Chainoi, also known as Thattana Luangphon, will be up against Anurak Madua (7-5, 5), in what should be little more than an early blow out win for the unbeaten youngster.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in Thailand we also have some televised action in Japan thanks to Yokohama Hikari and G+ with the latest in the Dynamic Glove series of shows. Compared to many Dynamic Glove cards this is a smaller show, but the two main bouts are certainly worthy of attention.
The chief support bout will see former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13) take on the somewhat limited Masafumi Ando (6-10-2, 3) in an 8 rounder. For Nagano this will be his first bout since losing the Japanese title to Keita Obara back in February, so we do under-stand him having an easier bout, especially when his last 5 have included Riku Nagahama, Yuki Beppu, Ryota Yada and the aforementioned Obara. Whilst Ando is no world beater, and his record makes it fairly clear he's pretty limited, he is only a few fights removed from a big upset win over Toshio Arikawa and if he's in the mood he could be a potential banana skin here. Yes, Nagano is the clear favourite, but this isn't the gimme the records may suggest, especially not after Nagano took a beating to Obara.
In the main event the very promising Mikito Nakano (4-0, 4) will be looking for win #5 as he takes on his first Japanese opponent, Ruito Saeki (7-3-1, 1). The very talented Nakano has looked like a potential star in the making since turning professional in October 2018, and he has been matched hard recently with two good wins against solid Filipino visitors. A win here and we suspect Teiken will begin looking at title fighters for the 25 year old Featherweight hopeful. Saeki on the other hand is a 22 year old in need of a big performance. Entering this bout Saeki has failed to win any of his last 3, but has been matched hard, facing the likes of Takenori Ohashi, Shingo Kawamura and Ken Osato. On paper this should be the best test so far for Nakano, but one we expect him to pass on route to bigger and better things.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
After the two cards in Asia we get another card that will be streamed on the RCC YouTube channel for those interested and will feature several notable and interesting Asian fighters.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card will be 29 year old Uzbek Welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (8-1, 5), who won an Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Sadly since turning professional Gaibnazarov has failed to light up the pros, and had struggled before losing to Mykal Fox in May 2019. This will be his second bout since then and he'll face off with Russian based Armenian Manuk Dilanyan (11-4-1, 4), who should have real size advantage over Gaibnazarov, but we suspect the skills and amateur pedigree of the Uzbek should be enough to see him to a victory here.
Another notable Asian on this show will be unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov (13-0, 8), who looks to be fighting in tune up bout after a year away from the ring. The talented Nursultanov will be up against Ilya Balandin (4-3-1, 2), and it's hard to see anything but an easy win for Nursultanov, who we suspect will be looking to shake some ring rust and move on to bigger things in 2021.
Another Asian on this show will be Turat Osmonov (4-0, 3), from Kyrgyzstan, who will be seeking his third win of 2020 as he takes on Zafar Parpiev (8-2, 1). This is a very clear step up in class for Osmonov who has been treat with kid gloves so far, so it'll be interesting to see if he can develiver against someone coming to win. The 32 year old Parpiev tasted a loss last time out and will be looking to avoid successive defeats here. On paper not a great bout, but a fairly interesting one and one that could end up being pretty competitive, more than we can say for some bouts on this show.
Also on this card will be Uzbek opponent Sardor Muzaffarov (4-3, 2), who clashes with former world title challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (22-3, 12). On paper this should be an easy win for Chuprakov, who has struggled mightily since losing to Masayuki Ito at the end of 2018, however this might not be the gimme it first appears. Muzaffarov has been unlucky in all 3 losses, that could easily have swung his way and is likely to be a nightmare for Chuprakov, if he's got any doubt at all in his mind. Yes the Russian former world title challenger should be the favourite, but this should be regarded as a genuine test given his inconsistent recent form
This coming Friday we see boxing return to both Thailand and South Korea. In Thailand we get a televised show on Work Point whilst in South Korea we appear to be getting a Rookie card as part of the on going "Boxing M Battle Royal" tournament.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
The Thailand card is the latest in the WP Boxing series of shows
The main support bout on this card will see Phongsaphon Panyakum (9-1, 4) look to secure his 10th straight win as he takes on the unbeaten, but untested, Arthit Kaewbantid (3-0, 2). We've been impressed by Phongsaphon, who lost to Kai Ishizawa in his debut and he has since scored wins against the likes of Samartlek Kokietgym and Pigmy Kokietgym, and he will be favoured here. Arthit on the other hand has scored 3 very low profile wins and this is very clearly a step up in class for him.
The main event of the card looks like a massive mismatch as the exciting, heavy handed, and very promising Chainoi Worawut (11-0-1, 10) defends his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title against Filipino challenger Joel Kwong (5-9, 3), who is the current WBC Asian Boxing Council "interim" Featherweight Silver champion. Chainoi is regarded by many as one of the top prospects in Thailand and he will be strongly fancied here to pick up the win. On paper it's hard to imagine Kwong being much of a challenge, though it is worth noting he has won his last 4 in a row, by stoppage, and he will be confident of keeping that run going here. Although he's in good form it would still be a massive upset if Kwong was to get the win here.
SG Boxing Gymnasium, Ansan, South Korea
As well as the action in Thailand there is a small card in Ansan, where all the bouts will be 4 rounders as part of the KBM Rookie tournament, the "Battle Royal 4".
In total this card will feature a staggering 17 bouts, and would have had more had 4 bouts not been cancelled due to injuries.
We won't go through the bouts here, but these cards are usually worth paying attention to and these tournaments are great events for Korean boxing, helping develop talent and build future hopefuls. From last year's tournament fighters like Da Won Gang and Sung Min Yuh shone brightly and the hope is that the tournaments will unearth some genuinely great Korean talent.