Metro Manila, Philippines
Our attention turns to the TV5 studio this coming Sunday for an interesting card featuring an IBO world title bouts, and some good bouts pitting young hopefuls against each other, as the Ultimate Boxing Series (UBS) has it's finals.
The main event of the show will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-1, 7) take on Mexican visitor Maximino Flores (24-4-1-2, 17) for the IBO Flyweight title. The talented Penalosa has won 7 in a row, including 4 straight by T/KO, but this is a step up in class and looks like his toughest bout, by far. Flores on the other hand is a young veteran who has clashed with the likes of Milan Melindo, Martin Tecuapetla and Andrew Selby. Experience favours Flores, but he is 0-2 outside of Mexico.
The UBS Flyweight final will see 26 year old April Jay Abne (3-0, 1), who debuted this February, take on Ronel Sumalpong (8-1-1-1, 5), who has been a professional for more than 2 years. Both fighters have looked really promising through their UBS bouts, winning unanimous decisions in both of their bouts so far, but have shown a real lack of power, with neither man yet to score a stoppage. The winner here will be ear marked for something much bigger in the near future, and will likely have ESPN5 well and truly behind them.
The other UBS bout on this show will take place at Bantamweight and see unbeaten men collide. The match up will have Lienard Sarcon (6-0, 2) take on Aljum Pelesio (8-0, 5) in what looks like a mouth watering prospect vs prospect match. The 19 year old Sarcon won his quarter final bout with no issue, but struggled in his semi with Gary Tamayo. On the other other hand the 21 year old Pelesio has only really lost a single round in both of his bouts and he will likely be the slight favourite here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Filipino show, which is expected to be streamed on ESPN5, there is also a card from Vietnam, with some international title interest.
The main event of this card will see 33 year old Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (18-5, 11) take on 30 year old Filipino Ivan Soriano (20-2-1, 10) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title, which has recently been vacated by the excellent Giemel Magramo. The talented Soriano has rebuilt since losing to Wenfeng Ge last year with a couple of low key wins, and knows that a world title fight not be far off with a win here. Nazarov on the other hand has won 5 in a row, though his wins have typically been against a very low level of opposition and this would be his biggest win to date, if he managed to over-come Soriano.
Kadoebi will be putting on a pretty stacked card at the Korakuen Hall, headlined by a Japanese title fight and littered with notable names from the Kadoebi stable.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) make his first defense of the title, as he battles fellow puncher Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) in a Champion Carnival bout. Ohashi won the title last year in bizarre fashion as he stopped Kosuke Saka as Saka misheard the end of round clacker, and this will be his first defense since that win. Prior to the stoppage Ohashi had looked a monster against Saka, but with 3 stoppages against his name it's clear he's not the toughest. Minamoto is himself a bit of a glass cannon, with 2 stoppages against his name, but he did show good skills last October when he defeated Dai Iwai to earn this shot. This could well be a shoot out, and could be something very exciting.
The chief support bout is a mouth watering ,match up between Akinori Watanabe (35-7, 30) and Ratchasi Sithsaithong (10-4, 7). Watanabe has lost 3 of his last 5, including an 8th round TKO loss last time out to Magomed Kurbanov, but is still a really dangerous puncher and will know that a win here will see him back in the OPBF title mix. For Ratchasi this will be his first bout in Japan since losing the OPBF Light Middleweight title to Takeshi Inoue last October, and prior to that he had been on a role with wins against Cobra Suwa, Yutaka Oishi and Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine. We're expecting this to be two men each fighting to remain relevant, and could be very special.
Fast rising Kadoebi prospect Kazuki Saito (4-0, 4) will be continuing his development as he faces off with Marbon Bodiongan (14-6-2, 11). Despite only having 4 bouts to his name Saito is already ranked by the JBC and OPBF and looks to be racing towards a title fight thanks to good wins over Jimmy Borbon and Alvin Lagumbay. This is, on paper, a slight step up in class for Saito as he takes on his most experienced opponent. Bodiongan is 0-3 on his travels, but has has mixed with the likes of Nihito Arakawa and Masaru Sueyoshi, and should give Saito a chance to compare himself to those two men. They both stopped Bodiongan though if Saito can stop him in 4 rounds he would have bettered both men's win over the Filipino visitor.
Last November we saw Shoma Fukumoto (11-2, 9) being stopped in a 90 second war with Kazuto Takesako, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Middleweight title. Fukumoto makes his return on this show as he goes up against Indonesian foe Maxi Nahak (7-14-3, 3), who has been stopped in his 3 previous visits to Japan.
Another man looking to get some momentum into his career is Cristiano Aoqui (11-7-2, 7), who has lost his last 3 bouts, and 4 of his last 5. The Japanese-Brazilian will be expected to pick up an easy win here as he takes on a poor Thai visitor.
The under-card also has a really interesting match up on it as the 21 year old Tsuyoshi Sato (5-1-1, 2). who was the 2017 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year, takes on the unbeaten Yuma Wada (4-0-1, 1), also 21. Sato had a big year in 2017 going 4-0-1 with an opening round win over Yusei Nagai in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, to put himself in the JBC rankings. He will be risking that rankings here against Wada, who looks a very capable young fighter himself.
As well as the action in Tokyo there will also be a pretty notable Asian show in Cebu.
The main event of this card will see Joe Noynay (13-2-1, 4) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Featherweight title against Mexican Hector Garcia (12-6-2-1, 7).We're really unsure how Garcia qualifies for this title, given that he's not from the Asia Pacific region, but he is battle tested and will be a very tough test for Noynay. The Mexican has never been stopped and gave decent tests to Devin Haney and Juan Carlos Burgos last year. Noynay is a genuine talent, and gave Reiya Abe real problems last year, so should be able to come out on top here, but he should get well tested by the Mexican visitor.
One of the main bouts will see Cris Alfante (13-6-1, 5) hunt a third straight win as he takes on Renoel Pael (21-8-1, 11) in a 10 rounder. Coming in to this one Alfante has got a big of momentum with back to back wins, though he has suffered 2 losses in his last 5 bouts, including a 4th round KO defeat to Daigo Higa. Pael once looked like he could be a diamond in the rough, but with 4 straigth losses his career is floundering now and there is a risk that he has resigned himself to being little more than a regional gatekeeper, which would be a shame given his competitive bouts with Ardin Diale and Suguru Muranaka.
Other undercard bouts on this card will see Cris Paulino (16-3, 6) take on Jason Tinampay (8-8-1, 7), in what could be much better than it looks, and Ronel Sumalpong (4-0, 4) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Justin Darap (2-0, 2).
In Canada fans will be able to see former world title challenger Michael Farenas (42-5-4, 34) take on Guadalupe Rosales (34-14, 18). Filipino banger Farenas has had a pretty stop-start career in recent times, with a couple of low key bouts in 2015, none in 2016 and one last year. Aged 33 there is still life in Farenas' career, but he will need a big and busy 2018, with this bout being a perfect chance to shake some ring rust. Rosales on the other hand is a relatively low risk opponent for someone like Farenas and despite being tough, shouldn't have the legs to avoid Farenas.