September 5th-Akira Yaegashi Vs Roman Gonzalez and Naoya Inoue Vs Samartlek Kokietgym highlight amazing day!
It's not often that the Asian fight scene has every knowledgeable boxing fan actually being excited but this Friday is an exception as we get several top prospects in action, a top pound-for-pound fighter, two world champions and two of the sports most exciting fighters all in action on the same day!
The biggest show of the day, in fact one of the biggest shows of the year, takes place today at the Yoyogi #2 Gymnasium in Tokyo. The show is one of those we've been looking forward to since it was announce and featured 4 bouts we're really excited about and 1 other bout of note.
We'll start with that bout of note which will see rising teenager Takuma Inoue (2-0) taking on Thai debutant Chanachai Sor Siamchai (0-0). From our point of view this is a big step back for Takuma who looked great in his recent win over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr though it seems like he's just getting some experience under his wings before moving up to title level, something we expect to see him doing in the next 12 months.
Although Takuma is taking a step backwards we're glad to see the unbeaten Ryo Matsumoto (11-0, 9) take a huge step up to fight former world champion Denkaosan Kaovichit (63-4-1, 26). Matsumoto did seem to struggle slightly in his last notable bout, against Hiroyuki Hisataka, though he has been groomed for stardom from his debut and will have had serious work on his stamina between that fight and this one. As for Denkaosan this could be his last fight if he loses, ending a long career. Last time out the Thai over-came Gaspar Ampolo though that was a gimme after an 8th round KO at the hands of Kohei Kono earlier this year. We're not going to suggest that this will be one sided but Matsumoto is bigger, faster and younger and needs to be favoured.
Another man taking a step up, albeit it a small one, is Ryota Murata (4-0, 4) who will be battling Mexico's Adrian Luna Flores (17-2-1, 11). We're unsure if this is really a step up from Murata's previous bout with Jesus Angel Nerio but we're expecting a similar result with Murata stopping Flores in the middle of the fight. Flores does come into this bout as the Mexican champion though he's clearly not the top Middleweight in Mexico, in fact he's a million miles away from the likes of Marco Antonio Rubio who really is world class.
Following those 4 bouts we then move on to the two world title bouts. The first of those will see WBC Light Flyweight world champion Naoya Inoue (6-0, 5) fighting for the first time as a world champion. Inoue, a former Japanese and OPBF champion, will be defending his WBC world title against Thailand's little known Samartlek Kokietgym (17-4, 5). Sadly like his brother it appears that Naoya is taking a huge step backwards here, especially considering the way he disposed of the then champion Adrian Hernandez last time out. Samartlek is a PABA champion and does hold wins over Muhammad Rachman and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr though this is clearly a huge step up in class for him and easily his toughest bout to date. For Inoue however it's likely to be little more than an easy day at the office.
The main event is "The Fight" we've been looking forward to all year as WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (20-3, 10) defends his title for the 4th time. In the opposite corner to Yaegashi is the exceptional Roman Gonzalez (39-0, 33) who should prove to be the most talented foe that Yaegashi has faced to date. This is one of those real lower weight super clashes between two men who are both viewed very highly and although they are different types of fighters, with Yaegashi being a speedy boxer and Gonzalez being a destructive pressure fighter, we expect the styles to gel marvellously. Do not be shocked if they turns out to be one of the true fight of the year candidates and helps enhance the winner into the mythical "pound for pound top 10". Amazing bout on paper and hopefully it will live up to expectation.
As well as the big card in Tokyo we also have an historic card in Dubai as Filipino promotional powerhouse ALA Promotions take their show on the road and go to the World Trade Center in Dubai for "Pinoy Pride 27".
This show features a trio of notable Filipino fighters in action in 3 very interesting bouts. The "least significant" of the three major bouts will see the popular Rey Bautista (35-3, 25), a former world title challenger, take on Mexico's aggressive Juan Jose Martinez (19-1, 15). Although the bout is "less significant" it promises to be a thriller with both men being aggressive and both men often hunting the stoppage victory. This could really be all action for as long as it lasts.
Following the Bautista fight we then get two world ranked Filipino's in seperate bouts. One of those is the very hotly tipped Genesis Servania (24-0, 10) who puts his unbeaten record and world ranking on the line against former world title challenger Jose Cabrera (22-4-2, 10). Servania will start as a clear favourite here though we're hoping to see him tested, unfortunately Cabrera was stopped last time out and hasn't looked impressive since fighting to a draw with the then unbeaten Daniel Rosas almost 3 years ago.
The other unbeaten and world ranked Filipino is Arthur Villanueva (25-0, 14) who puts his ranking and record on the line against Nicaraguan puncher Henry Maldonado (19-3-0-1, 14). Villanueva looked very poor last time out as he was given a rough time by Fernando Aguilar who was stopped in 6 rounds by Maldonado just a few weeks back and it's fair to say that the Nicaraguan fighter won't be coming to play with the Filipino fighter. This one has the potential to be a fire cracker if Maldonado has his way though Villanueva is better than he looked last time out.
We also have a televised show in Thailand with titles on the line and some of the most exciting young fighters in Thailand courtesy of Channel 7.
The main event here will be the latest PABA Welterweight title defence by Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (26-0, 20). Teerachai, a world ranked 22 year old power house from Burriram, will be battling fellow 22 year old Nelson Gulpe (8-2, 3) from the Philippines. Interestingly Gulpe is 0-2 outside of the Philippines and has lost his last 2 bouts, including a Lightweight contest to Japanese novice Accel Sumiyoshi. Needless to say Teerachai will be strongly favoured here.
On the under-card we will get the chance to see Inthanon Sithchamuang (22-7, 13), best known for his loss in Macau to Jerwin Ancajas, battling against Heri Amol (34-18-4, 14) of Indonesia. For what it's worth this is Amol's first bout since being beaten by Japanese debutant Ken Shiro at the start of August and we suspect he'll be no match for the Thai here.
The card will also feature one of our favourite Thai prospects Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (4-0, 3) who will be putting his unbeaten record on the line against professional loser Safwan Lombok (1-25-1) of Indonesia. Although Lombok will pose no threat at all to the talented Thai the question is whether or not Eaktawan will be able to stop Lombok who has proven to be a relatively sturdy opponent with only 7 stoppages losses in 25 total losses.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Out side of the Asian shows we have some smaller profile fight cards as well. One of those is in Burkina Faso as Filipino slugger Silvester Lopez (22-7-2, 16) battles against the once beaten Alexis Boureima Kabore (22-1, 6) in an attempt to claim the WBC International Super Bantamweight. This bout was meant to take place several weeks ago though Lopez had travel issues and the bout had to be rescheduled at late notice. We're suspect that Lopez will need a KO to get the win though Kabore has certainly not shown world level ability and Lopez should be seen as a "live under-dog".
Another lesser bout takes place in Italy as the Japanese born Swiss based Aniya Seki (24-3-2, 2) takes on journey-woman Claudia Ferenci (8-35-5, 3). The bout appears to be a clear mismatch though the 35 year old Seki was shocked last time out when Judith Rodriguez blasted her out in 2 rounds in another bout that looked like a mismatch on paper.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)