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.
This coming Saturday is a genuinely crazy day of action, with a host
London, United Kingdom
The biggest bout for Asian boxing, on a truly hectic day, comes from the Copper Box in London and will see rising local star Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12) take on Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13), in what is likely to be a bit of a mismatch. Dubois is considered by many as one of the future stars of the Middleweight division and is likely going to be took quick, too strong and too powerful for Kyotaro. The Japanese fighter managed to have notable success on the domestic and regional title scene but this is a huge step up in class.
Staying in the Western world Miami plays host to Filipino hopeful Mike Plania (22-1, 12), who takes on Giovanni Gutierrez (9-0, 6) in a bout for the IBF North American Super Bantamweight title. Although not very well known Plania is a real talent and there is genuine potential for him to make a mark in the coming years. On paper Gutierrez has the better wins, but the Nicaraguan hasn't done anything to prove he's better than Plania, making this very much a 50-50 contest in our eyes, and one of the more under-rated bout of the day.
New South Wales, Australia
Staying on the theme of international action it's worth noting that two Asian fighters will be in action "down under".
One of those is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (12-0, 8), who risks his unbeaten record against former world champion Billy Dib (45-6-0-2, 26). This will be Dib's first bout since being stopped in July by Amir Khan, when he moved up to Welterweight on short notice. Although once a world champion Dib has looked a shadow of himself recently and it's hard to see what the 34 year old really has left in the tank. The 27 year old Thao is stepping up massively, and is certainly under pressure as he'll knows a win here would be the biggest win ever by a Vietnamese boxer. The big question is whether Tran has got Dib at the right time or not? If he has this will be a huge win for Tran, and Vietnam.
The other Asian on this card is Indonesian Rivo Kundimang (9-0-2, 5), who looks to make a swift return to the ring following his technical draw with Kunta Lee from early November. The 22 year old Southpaw will be up against fellow unbeaten Daniel Lewis (5-0, 3) in what looks a really interesting match up. It's hard to read much into this, but we do love seeing unbeaten fighters taking risks and that's what they are doing here.
One of the final big cards of the pre-Christmas period is in Russia, where we'll see a number of really interesting match ups, including several bouts with Asian fighters.
The most interesting of the bouts with Asian fighters will see the unbeaten Aidos Yerbossynuly (12-0, 8), from Kazakhstan, take on Ghanaian veteran Obodai Sai (35-3, 26). The talented Yerbossynuly will be seeking his third win of the year here, and is looking to build on a solid win over Rocky Jerkic last time out. As for Sai, this will be his first bout of the year and it's hard to know what the 32 year old has left in the tank.
Lower down the card we'll see the debut of Uzbek Odiljon Aslonov (0-0) and the return to the pros of former amateur standout Rustam Tulaganov (1-0), who hasn't fought as a pro since 2017. At the time of writing it's unclear who either man will be facing off against, though men will likely be matched softly.
A second Russian card will take place in Kanevskaya and will feature unbeaten Russian born Azeri Roman Zakirov (6-0, 4), who is looking for his 5th win of the year. The unbeaten 23 year old is up against South African foe Gift Bholo (8-9, 4), in what should be an easy win for Zakirov.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most notable of three scheduled Filipino shows comes from Metro Manila, where we see a number of notable names in action.
The main event will see Al Toyogon (10-5-1, 6) look to bounce back from successive losses to Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares as he takes on Carlo Magali (24-13-3, 13), in a bout for the GAB Super Featherweight title. Although Toyogon is on a bad run he has shown that he's tough, he comes to fight and really won't be discouraged easily. Magali is no world beater but tends to be a rugged and tough guy who comes to fight. With that in mind this could be a very good 12 round battle.
On the supporting card we'll see 2-time world title challenger Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21) take on Renz Rosia (15-9-1, 8). The heavy handed Palicte will be looking to bounce back from his TKO loss to Kazuto Ioka back in June and will be favoured, though Rosia can play the role of spoiler when he's on form, so Palicte really shouldn't over-look him.
This card will also feature one of our favourite Filipino prospects, Carl Jammes Martin (14-0, 13), who looks to notch his 4th win of the year. The all action Martin will be up against Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-8-1, 4), who has lost his last 3. This could be a very quick win for Martin, who will be expecting to face better competition in 2020.
A second Filipino card will take place in Cebu, and will be a family affair for the Saludar family.
The main event will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-4, 10) take on Filipino journeyman Mike Kinaadman (7-12-2, 5), in a bout for the ABF Minimumweight title. This should be a very easy win for Saludar, who is looking to get back to winning ways after losing the WBO world title to Wilfredo Mendez back in August.
Vic's brothers Jakeson Saludar (4-0, 4) and Van June Saludar (5-2-2, 3) will also be on the card. On paper neither man is in an easy one here, and we wouldn't be surprised to see at least one of the brothers being tested, if not slipping up and losing.
One other fighter of note on this card is former female world title challenger Casey Morton (8-2-3, 1), who will be taking on Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (8-17, 2).
A third Filipino card will be taking place in Cavite. This is a much, much smaller card than the other two and the most notable name in action here is former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Ronald Pontillas (18-8-3, 9), who takes on Edsil Jungco (3-14, 7) in a 6 rounder.
Bang Phun, Thailand
Another Asian country with some actual action this Saturday is Thailand, as Work Point give us the last WP Boxing of the year. On paper this is one of the more interesting ones, but also one that lacks in terms of name value.
In an interesting 10 rounder Apichet Petchmanee (5-0, 2) will face off with unbeaten Indonesian Ari Agustian (8-0, 8). The 30 year old Thai was touted highly going in to the year, but hasn't really progressed as expected in 2019 and has instead looked rather human. Agustian looked like a potential break out star for Indonesia last year, after his big win over Baolin Kang, but has struggled to build on it. Here we see two men each looking to go into the new year with some momentum and a win here will give their career a big shot in the arm.
In a second notable bout on this card we'll see 22 year old Thai puncher Thattana Luangphon (8-0-1, 8) take on Japanese visitor Daichi Matsuura (7-4-2, 3), with the local looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. Thattana, also known as Chainoi Worawut, has looked like a star of the WP Boxing series, and will be looking for his 6th win of the year. As for Matsuura he'll be looking for his second win since being taken out in a round by Juiki Tatsuyoshi.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian boxing, with a two notable shows in Japan and very high profile bouts in the US.
The most notable of the bouts takes place in California, and is world title fight, with a supporting that also features an Asian fighter.
The main event will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) battle against Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15). For Ancajas this will be his 8th defense, though it's not the type of defense which will really improve his profile. Ancajas is incredibly talented, but seems to have been kept away from most of the other top Super Flyweights, which is incredibly disappointing and frustrating. For Rodriguez this bout is a big step up, and despite a win over Felipe Orucuta last time out there's very, very little quality on his record. Our full preview of this bout can be read here IBF king Ancajas takes on Rodriguez
On the same show we'll see Japan's Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, as he takes on 2008 Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8) in a very interesting looking bout. Okada was stopped last time out, by Raymundo Beltran in a very entertaining bout, and is not being given an easy comeback bout here. Molina isn't a big puncher, but is skilled and has won 3 in a row since his most recent loss, a 2016 decision loss to Jamal James.
Las Vegas, USA
A second US show of note will see two very interesting looking match ups.
The most interesting of those will see the once beaten Romero Duno (21-1, 16) take on unbeaten American Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15). The talented Duno has won 12 in a row since suffering his sole defeat, a 2016 loss in Russia to Mikhail Alexeev. During his winning run he has scored some solid wins but a win here would put him on the map in a big way. On the other hand Garcia is a hotly tipped prospect, and is a hugely popular fighter who will be expected to get a real test here. Garcia has been able to build his record with noteworthy wins over the likes of Jayson Velez and Jose Lopez, but has yet to fight a young prime fighter. This is a big step up for both men and the winner will be ear marked to go a very long way.
The second bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Kazakh fighter Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8) take on tough Mexican fighter Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13). The talented Kazakh has looked good coming through the ranks but this is set to be a genuine test against a flawed but tough and heavy handed for. A very interesting match and a great test, on paper, for Nursultanov.
The most significant show in Asia for the day is at the Korakuen Hall and will be shown on G+ in Japan. The card has 6 bouts scheduled for it, but 2 of those really stand out.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) defending his belt against Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6). The talented and exciting Matsunaga will be looking to make his first defense of the belt, following his title win over Nobuyuki Shindo earlier this year, and is riding a real hot streak with 9 straight wins. For Koshikawa, who was once tipped as a future star following a strong amateur background, this will be a big step up and marks his first title fight. A very interesting match up, and a very hard one to call. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Matsunaga seeks first defense as he goes up against talented Koshikawa
The chief support bout on this show will be a Japanese Light Middleweight title eliminator, as former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) takes on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5). This a match that will decide who challenges for the title in next year's Champion Carnival and is another hard one to call. Shindo is the more accomplished fighter but Shimizu has impressed in recent fights and will be there to build on a recent win over Charles Bellamy. Our preview of this eliminator can be read here Shindo and Shimizu battle in eliminator
As well as the two main bouts there will supporting bouts featuring former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (17-4-1, 7) and the once beaten Kai Chiba (11-1, 7).
A second show at Korakuen Hall on Saturday, though the one which will actually take place first, is a Teiken show featuring 6 of their brightest hopefuls all in 8 round bouts.
One of those hopefuls is Shuya Masaki (13-1, 5) who looks to be heading towards a title fight in the near future. He will be up against Filipino foe Roman Canto (14-13-3, 8) in what should be a relatively easy bout for Masaki. The Japanese fighter is only a bout or two from a title of some kind, though is likely to head for an OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title fight in 2020. Canto has lost in 5 previous visits to Japan and it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
Another bout pitting a Japanese hopeful against a Filipino will see unbeaten Japanese puncher Hayate Kaji (13-0, 9) take on Diomel Diocos (14-4-3, 4). Early in his career Kaji looked like a star in the making, he looked like he had all the tools to go to the top, combining skills, power, speed and ambition. Sadly he's not really progressed as we'd hoped and his career seems to faltered, and he's had disappointing performances in his last two bouts. The Filipino has lost 2 of his last 3 and was stopped in 4 rounds last time he fought in Japan, being stopped in 2017 by Daigo Higa.
Former amateur stand out Kuntae Lee (2-0, 1) takes his next step up as he takes on unbeaten Indonesian hopeful Rivo Kundimang (9-0-1, 5). As an amateur Lee really was a stand out, and he is hotly tipped to be a a future star in Japan. Despite only being a novice Lee he has already taken one unbeaten record, beating Marlon Paniamogan back in July. Kundimang will be fighting outside of Indonesia for the first time, and has win his last 9 bouts in a row, following a draw on his debut back in September 2017.
In a good step up we'll also see Mikito Nakano (3-0, 3) take on Filipino foe KJ Natuplag (8-1-2, 7), in an excellent bout. The talented Nakano has adapted well to the professional ranks and looks to be on his way to real success at Featherweight in the coming years. On paper this is a step up, but Nakano has looked very good, and last time out he really impressed against Arvin Young. Natuplag has shown real promise, and back in March he stopped Robert Udtohan, but was beaten last time out by Joe Tejones. We're expecting an excellent showing from Nakano who will likely find himself in the title mix next year.
Also on this card will be Kenshin Oshima (6-1-1, 3) and Masaya Tamayama (12-2, 6), who look to continue their rise through the ranks and move towards a title fight in the coming 18 months or so.
One of the other interesting bouts for the day will see the unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (14-0, 9) take on the once beaten Abraham Montoya (18-1-1, 13), in what will be Yaqubov's second defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The talented Yaqubov has impressed recently and moved towards a world title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Mark Urvanov, Victor Alejandro Zunigaabd Emanuel Lopez, and another win here would leave him on the verge of a shot. Montoya, from Mexico, is unbeaten in 19 but this will be his first bout outside of Mexico.
Unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Issa Akberbayev (20-0-0-1, 15) takes on his biggest test so far as he battles against 2016 Olympic champion Evgeny Tishchenko (5-0, 3), who is of course best known for his controversial Olympic win over Vasiliy Levit in the Olympic final. Despite being unbeaten the Kazakh will be the very clear under-dog and the Russian will be the favourite. Notably Akberbayev has been away from the ring for almost 2 years, and it's hard to not imagine that being a major issue here, against his most notable foe so far.
In Australia we'll see the unbeaten Chris Brackin (7-0, 3), an Australian local, take on Indian fighter Balkar Singh (3-1, 1). Singh lost last time out, when he was out pointed by the unbeaten Andrew Hunt over 4 rounds, and we suspect he will suffer another loss here to the talented Brackin.