In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
This Saturday sees a lack of action actually in Asia but there is a couple of Asian fighters in action making a note of.
One of those is upset minded Filipino Rey Labao (27-8, 18) who fights in Russia against the unbeaten Russian based Armenian born Petros Ananyan (6-0-2, 3). This an easy looking bout for Labao however Ananyan has been fighting at Welterweight and scored notable results over Vaginak Tamrazyanm Baxrom Oayazov and Uktamjon Rahmonov. Labao holds wins over Masao Nakamura, Daiki Koide and Jay Solmiano and so will be confident of picking up a win here, though has lost 3 of his last 4.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico fight fans will be able to see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (21-5, 13) battle against Luis Jesus Vidales Gutierrez (9-4, 5). On paper the under-rated Sakai should be favoured however Gutierrez has proven to be an upsetter himself with wins over the likes of Ernesto Ortiz, then 9-0, and Antonio Moran, then 16-0. Sakai is coming in to this one on the back of a win in his US debut and will be looking to secure his 5th straight win.
This coming Friday isn't packed with action but there are some notable names in action.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a relatively good looking show with several notable fighters in action.
The main event, a WBC Youth Super Featherweight title fight, will see Argie Toquero (8-3-1, 6) defending his belt against unbeaten puncher Ardie Boyose (15-0-1, 11). On paper this is a really tricky defense for Toquero however the bout is also a step up for Boyose who has been matched softly so far.
Arguably the most interesting bout, on paper, will see Jerry Nardo (20-6, 11) battle against Jason Egera (21-13, 10). This bouts pits two flawed fighters against each other and could end up being a very interesting match up, even if it's not likely to a really highly skilled affair.
The biggest name fighter here is former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (23-2-1, 12) who fights for the first time since his shock loss to Faris Nenggo last November. Sabillo, who has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 bouts, will be expected to pick up a straight forward win here against Powell Balaba (8-13-1, 5) though it really is a must win for Sabillo who has been stopped in his last 2 bouts.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fans will be getting a televised show featuring several notable names.
The most notable is Terdsak Kokietgym (56-5-1, 36) who looks to continue his long career as he battles once beaten Filipino Roldan Aldea (9-1-1, 3). Up for grabs here will be the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title with Terdsak looking to earn himself one more shot at a world title. Unfortunately for the 33 year old Thai he is getting on and it would appear like that his last shot at the top level was his September 2014 FOTY contender with Orlando Salido.
In one of the supporting bouts we'll see the unbeaten Petchmanee Kokietgym (7-0, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Rofiq Aditaya (2-1-1, 2). Aditaya will be fighting in Thailand for the second time, and this one comes less than a month after his defeat to Jirapan Nakorluang, a 3rd round KO.
The second supporting bout of note will see former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym (56-7-2, 22) battle against Indonesian foe Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). Tefa comes in to this bout 0-4 outside of his homeland and it's very hard to see him changing that against someone with Pigmy's experience.
In Germany we'll get the chance to see two Asian fighters in action.
One of those is Kazakh Cruiserweight hopeful Isa Akerbayev (15-0-0-1, 11) take on Brazilian puncher Julio Cesar Dos Santos (27-4, 24). This should be a straight forward win for Akerbayev, however given the fact Dos Santos can punch we may see the Kazakh take his time and fight cautiously against the 37 year old South American.
The other fighter in action here is Filipino tough guy Rey Labao (27-6, 18) who takes on once German Rico Mueller (18-1-1, 13). This is Labao's third successive bout on the road and although he'll be the under-dog he is very live, as seen last time out when he shocked former OPBF champion Masao Nakamura. The one big problem for Labao here will be the weight with the bout having been made at Welterweight rather than his more natural Lightweight or even Light Welterweight.
Dec 28th- Nonaka and Ota start off the New Year run but Nakamura and Labao have the potential to steal the show
Although December 30th and 31st are by far the most exciting days left this year for boxing fans we do have a very interesting “starter” a few days early as Muto Promotions put on a genuinely interesting card around the Japanese domestic scene. The show won't have international fans too excited but there is a potential FOTY on it and 3 genuinely interesting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (26-8-2, 9) defending his belt against former champion Charlie Ota (24-2-1, 16). Nonaka won the title earlier this year with an excellent victory over the heavy handed Kengo Nagashima, it was a bout Nonaka made look easy despite Nagashima being a dangerous puncher. Whilst Nagashima was a dangerous puncher it's fair to say Ota is a much more rounded and dangerous fighter and we suspect Ota will be a nightmare for Nonaka here in what is potentially a very good bout between a boxer and a brawler.
Although the main event looks really good we've got to admit that the co-feature has the potential to be even better as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (18-2, 18) takes on tough Filipino Rey Labao (26-6, 17) in a contest that has all the ingredients to be something special. Nakamura comes into the bout following a loss to the unheralded Masayuki Ito and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here. Labao, himself a loser last time out Roman Andreev, will also be wanting to to get back with a win. Not only do both men need a win here but both also love to punch and have real belief in their power. Of the two we suspect Nakamura is the bigger puncher however Labao has never been stopped and there is every chance he can Nakamura's power. There is however no proof that Nakamura can take the best Labao has to offer. This one may be a thriller or it may be over very quickly.
A third notable contest on this card will see Kojiro Takada (13-7-3, 9) battle against former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (15-4-4, 7). Takada is a streaky fighter and as he lost last time out we suspect he'll loser again here, though the bout was close and he has got the ability to spring genuine upsets, as he did against Ratchasak KKP and Jerope Mercado. Kikuchi will be seeking his second straight win after suffering back-to-back losses, including a stoppage defeat to Shingo Wake in an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight. Although the loser won't be heading to retirement the winner will certain take a big boost here whilst the loser will, obviously, be hit by a big set back that could be hard to come back from.
One more bout we'd like to quickly mention will see Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-3, 4) battle against the criminally under-rated Satoshi Niwa (15-18-3, 2). Kobayashi was recently the pro-test partner for the highly regarded Hinata Maruta and the reports suggest Maruta man handled him at times, it'll be interesting to see what he's like here. Niwa on the other hand sports the most misleading record in Japanese boxing and last time out he pushed the then unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu very close in a hard fought 8 rounder. This will be competitive if nothing else.
As well as the 4 bouts we've spoken about this card will feature a further 3 bouts
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines. Although this can't isn't as big it does look like a really interesting one with 3 genuinely notable bouts on it.
The most interesting of the bouts it at Bantamweight where the unbeaten Rex Wao (10-0, 8) attempts to defend his WBC International title against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (22-9-2, 16). Wao is very highly touted and some in the Philippines seem to view him as one of the country's most promising fighters however this is a step up for the 24 year old. Lopez might only be 27 but he already appears to be on the slide, big time, and will know a loss here could be the end of his dreams of ever becoming a force on the world scene. Really good match up and a very important one.
At Featherweight fans will see an interesting clash between Dennis Tubieron (19-3-1, 8) and Carlo Magali (18-7-2, 9). The two men will be fighting for the WBC International title at Featherweight and the winner may well find them put into the verges of the WBC's top 15.
In a Lightweight clash Japan's heavy handed, and under-rated, Tosho Makoto Aoki (18-12-2, 15) will battle against Indonesia's Rengga Rengga (7-1, 1) for the IBF Asia title. Aoki comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight stoppage victories and a growing reputation as a dangerous puncher whilst Rengga was last seen being stopped in just 119 seconds by Masatoshi Kotani. We suspect this will be a mismatch with Aoki taking out the Indonesian early on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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)