This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
This coming Friday isn't a massive day, but there are some interesting bouts set to take place, including a world title bout and two contests with promising young hopefuls.
The main bout is the world title fight and sees unbeaten Thai Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) return to the ring to defend his WBC Minimumweight title against mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), from South Africa. Wanheng enters the bout as the longest reigning active, male, champion in the sport having held his title since November 2014. A win here will extend his reign beyond 5 years and the plan is to make his US debut next year. For Konkco the bout will be his second bout for a major world title, following a loss in a WBA title bout, and a loss here could leave "Chain Reaction" in the "who needs him?" club. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Wanheng Menayothin clashes with mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco
In Canada we'll see fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (9-0, 8) take on veteran Johnny Navarrete (33-15-2, 15). The 21 year old Akhmedov has been out of the ring since June, when he beat Daniel Vega Cota, and has managed to get married in his break away from the ring. This is a soft return for Akhmedov, with Navarrete being a limited though experienced foe, and it seems likely that Akhmedov will be back in action in December, when Eye of the Tiger Management return to the Bell Center.
Also in North America will be a bout for talented Filipino youngster Mike Plania (21-1, 11), who takes on 33 year old journeyman Julio Buitrago (13-19-0-2, 3). Given how talented Plania is, we think it's a real shame the 22 year old isn't getting better bouts than this. He has proven he can hold his own with good fighters, and he was very competitive with Juan Carlos Payano, so why he is being matched with Buitrago is a mystery. Buitrago is a rugged enough fighter to get some rounds with, having only been stopped 4 times in 34 bouts, but with only 1 win in the last 10 years this is pointless. The most interesting thing about Buitrago is his 2010 bout with Nestor Maradiaga, which ended in a rare double DQ for "not fighting".
Incheon, South Korea
The biggest bout for us this Saturday will see WBA female Super Featherweight Hyun Mi Choi (16-0-1, 4) defending her title, for the 7th time. The Korean fighting queen will be up against 38 year old Japanese challenger Wakako Fujiwara (8-2-2, 3), in what we suspect will be a bit of a mismatch in favour of the Korean. Choi, who has fought in well over 10 world title bouts, has almost all the advantages here and should be too good for the veteran challenger. A full preview of this bout can be found here Korean queen Choi takes on Fujiwara in 7th defense
In India fans get a small but notable card featuring a host of local hopefuls. The card isn't big, by any stretch, but does feature a number of unbeaten fighters.
One of the bouts on the card is a 6 rounder between Sachin Dekwal (4-0, 2) and Chiranjit Bauri (0-2). It's hard to not imagine Dekwal extending his unbeaten record here, but it's good to see him staying busy after 4 fights last year, and fingers crossed their will be a step up later in the year.
Another 6 round bout on this card will see females clash as the heavy handed Urvashi Singh (4-2, 4) battles against debutant Bhawna (0-0). Again it seems obvious that the fighter with experience should pick up the win, but it's still nice to see her staying active, and this will be her 5th bout in the space of 12 months.
As well as all the other action in Asia there will also be a small card in China featuring novices in low key bouts. There's not much to talk about here, though from what we under-stand much of the card will feature all-debutant bouts.
Another low key Asian card is in Singapore where local talent will be on show. The fighters in action on this show include Nurshahidah Roslie (13-2, 10), Muhammad Ashiq (6-1-1, 5) and Rey Caitom (7-0-1, 2), though none of the fighters had their opponents names at the time of writing.
Outside of Asia we do get some interesting action, with two highly regarded Kazakh prospects.
The more highly regarded of the two men is Sadriddin Akhmedov (8-0, 7), who looks to bounce back from his decision win over John Ruba as he takes on Mexican fighter Daniel Vega Cota (14-3-1, 11). This should be a straight forward win for Akhmedov, especially given Cota has been beat in a few recent fights, but questions will be asked about how Akhmedov has recovered following an injury suffered in the Ruba fight.
The other touted prospect is Nurzat Sabirov (9-0, 8) who will battle against Hungarian puncher Laszlo Toth (7-0, 6), the less well known fighter with this name. Sabirov is regarded incredibly highly as a prospect, has power, skills and a very good amateur pedigree but we wouldn't be surprised if he was given a bit of test here by an unbeaten fighter with a point to prove. Whilst Hungarian fighters do have a reputation of not travelling well Toth's namesake, a very solid Welterweight, has proven a capable fighter so hopefully this Toth can also prove to be a solid fighter on the road.
Also on this card will be the debuting 21 year old Aman Kazankapov (0-0),who was an excellent amateur and looks to be another excellent young Kazakh signing for Eye of the Tiger Management. Kazankapov's debut will be against Mexican novice Ismael Molina Moreno (2-1, 2) and although Moreno has been dangerous in the opening round he isn't expected to live with the Kazakh debutant, who is expected to be a real top prospect.
Staying outside of Asia we'll also see Filipino fighter Neil John Tabanao (17-5, 11) take on the unbeaten, and extremely skilled, Tramaine Williams (17-0, 6) in Connecticut. The Filipino is a bit of a road warrior, though he's struggled in bouts away from home recently, and has lost 4 of his last 5 outside of the Philippines, including a very wide loss to Angelo Leo in the US in April. The unbeaten Williams has already fought twice this year and looks to be making up for what was a frustrating 2018, in which he fought just once. He is a very talented, quick and sharp fighter and could well find himself using Tabanao as a punch bag here.
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.
In Texas this coming Saturday we'll get a number of Asian fighters fighting on a major Golden Boy card, two of whom will be challenging for major titles
The main event of the card will see unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26) defending his WBO Light Middleweight title against Japanese challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7). The champion really burst onto the scene last year, not only winning the title but also fitting in 2 defenses of the belt in a real break out year. Surprisingly Munguia was an unknown when was denied the chance to fight Gennady Golovkin, but ended the year one with incredible momentum. A real break out star of the year. Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, had a brilliant 2017, scoring 4 wins and unifying the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, but had a frustrating 2018 fighting only once. The expectation is that Inoue will be brushed aside by the excellent Mexican, but he will have travelled to score the upset and seems to be fully aware of how big this opportunity is. Our preview of this contest can be read here Inoue looks to upset WBO champion Munguia!
Thhe other bout will see Puerto Rican puncher Jesus M Rojas (26-2-2-1, 19) take on Chinese challenger Can Xu (15-2, 2), with Rojas looking to defend his WBA "Regular" Featherweight title. Rojas lost last time out to Joseph Diaz, but Diaz failed to make weight resulting in Rojas keeping the, and he'll be looking to make a real statement this coming year. Xu will be looking to become the first Chinese man above 112lbs to win any form of a world title but is up against it here. Rojas is the more experienced man, the hard hitting and the more proven fight, but Xu will certainly be there to win and to put himself at the top of the world scene. This is an interesting match and for many their first real chance to see Xu fighting live. Our preview of this bout can be found here Can Xu become the WBA "regular" Featherweight champion?
New York, USA
Staying in the US, though travelling over to New York, we get a real 50-50 match up, as unbeaten Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (10-0, 9) take on the explosive Dominican Claudio Marrero (23-2, 17) in a bout for the lightly regarded IBO Featherweight title. It's hard to see this bout going the distance, with both being serious punchers and both having been down in recent bouts. For Nyambayar this bout is a big step up in class, and his first against a Featherweight puncher in his prime. On the other hand Marrero has fought just 33 seconds since being stopped by Jesus M Rojas back in September 2017. It's hard to see this as anything but a thrilling contest. Our preview of this fight can be read here Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Claudio Marrero clash!
In Canadian we'll see top Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (6-0, 6) look to enhance his reputation after a brilliant 2018. He'll be up against Mexican foe Abraham Juarez (13-1, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Middleweight title. The unbeaten 20 year old Kazakh really impressed us in 2018 and we are expecting him to shine again this year. On paper Juarez is a good step up in class, and he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts, but he is seen as the clear under-dog against the sensational Kazakh.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see Kazakh fighter Aida Satybaldinova (4-1-1, 1) begin her 2019 campaign. "Lady Sparta" made he debut in March 2018 and was bust last year, but lost against her only opponent with a winning record and we suspect she's going to be matched softly here, though her opponent hasn't currently been announced.
The more interesting of two Filipino cards will take place in Cavite, in what is being sold a very clear double header.
One of the main bouts will see Alphoe Dagayloan (11-2-5, 5) battle against Danrick Sumabong (7-1, 6) for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, who showed his power last year with stoppage wins against Madiyar Zhanuzak and Rongguo Wu. Sumabong on the other hand is a 19 year old who hasn't had much attention, but is heavy-handed fighter who managed to give the very highly regarded Jade Bornea real problems last year. This is certainly worth getting excited about.
The other bout of note will see ArAr Andales (8-0, 1) battle Charlie Malupangue (7-3-3, 6) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The 19 year old Andales is stepping up massively here, but he has shown plenty of promise and has won the LuzProBA title already in his short career. Mulapangue was stopped in his most notable bout, by Robert Paradero, but this is a credible fighter on the domestic scene, as he'll be looking to prove here. It's worth mentioning that neither of these really should be fighting for a WBA Asia title, but it's still an interesting fight all the same.
Paranque City, Philippines
As well as the Cavite show there will also be one at Paranque City. This show will be headlined by an WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title clash between Al Toyogon (9-2-1, 6), the defending champion, and Ryusei Ishii (7-4-1, 4). On paper this is a well matched bout and should be pretty competitive.
The show will also feature a WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title bout, with Ricardo Sueno (8-2-4, 3) and Diomel Diocos (13-2-3, 4) fighting for the vacant title. On paper this is another well matched contest and should provide some excellent action for the fans, who appear to be getting treated well in the Philippines this year with strong low level domestic clashes!
Highly touted Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (5-0, 5) squeezes his 6th bout into just over 8 months as he goes up against Mexican journeyman Eliud Melendez Rocha (14-10-2, 7). The talented Akhmedov, one of the best young prospects in the sport, has needed just 10 rounds to stop his first 5 opponents and it's a shame that he's yet to really be tested. On paper this looks like another easy win for Akhmedov, with Rocha being a smaller man fighting outside of Mexico for the third time, but he doesn't generally get blown out early and might manage to last a bit longer than Akhmedov's last 2 opponents.
London, United Kingdom
In London we get the chance to see two talented Kazakh prospects continue their early development.
One of those prospects is Sultan Zaurbek (2-0, 1), who fights for the third time in less than 2 months. The Featherweight/Super Featherweight prospect will be up against Croatian journeyman Antonio Horvatic (10-52, 5), who has picked up losses on a regular basis against novices in the UK. Horvatic hasn't scored a win since 2016, and has gone 0-28 coming in to this bout, which shows how little of a threat he is to the 22 year old Kazakh.
The other Kazakh on this card is 24 year old Lightweight Nurtas Azhbenov (1-0), who looks to build on his debut win, in October, with a bout against Spanish based Nicaraguan Reynaldo Cajina (14-54-5-1, 10). Azhbenov impressed on his debut, though was forced to go the distance with the very negative Eligio Palacios, and he'll be hoping to be the latest man to stop Cajina, who has been stopped 13 times in his 74 fight career. Cajina is usually a survivor in the ring, but we're hoping Azhbenov's debut have given him some tricks to cope with negative opponents.
Western Australia, Australia
In Western Australia we see a Filipino against it, as Pinoy fighter Cris Paulino (19-3, 8) takes on the unbeaten, and very talented, Andrew Moloney (18-0, 11). The 25 year old Paulino has won his last 5, but has been facing relatively poor competition since losing back to back fights to Koki Eto and Vic Dachinyan, in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This is a big step up to that type of level for Paulino and it's hard to imagine him getting a positive result here. Moloney, the twin brother of WBSS participant Jason, is regarded as one of the top Australian prospects and recently stopped former world champion Luis Concepcion. Moloney has scored a string of wins against Filipino foes and we're expecting him to add another win over a Filipino here.
Fire works will be expected in Russia as hard hitting Uzbek Shohjahon Ergashev (14-0, 13) takes on heavy handed Ugandan Badru Lusambya (26-4-2, 24). This bout will be Ergashev's 5th of the year, and he'll be expecting to score his latest win and move on to bigger and better challenges in 2019. Lusambya has failed to shine when he's fought outside of Uganda, and we expect him to be taken out inside the distance here.
This Saturday is a huge one for Asian fight fans with notable bouts taking place on 3 different continents.
New Jersey, USA
The biggest card for us is North America where we see a headlining bout between two established fighters and get a supporting card featuring major Central Asian prospects.
The card is headlined by Dmitry Bivol (14-0, 11)defending his WBA Light Heavyweight title against veteran Jean Pascal (33-5-1-1, 20). The talented Bivol has been busy this year with wins against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba and a win over Pascal would see him ending a good year with a big name on his record, albeit a faded force in Pascal. The 36 year old Pascal is well beyond his best, but was competitive with Eleider Alvarez last year and the hope will be for Bivol and Alvarez to face off in 2019. A prime Pascal would have given Bivol a real test, but he's now little more than a name. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here - Can Bivol over-come Pascal in one of the final HBO shows?
One of the prospects on this card is Uzbek sensation Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0, 3), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBA Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Akhmadaliev was a former amateur stand out will be up against American foe Isaac Zarate (16-3-3, 2) , who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run including wins over Carlos Carlson and Horacio Garcia. This is a good step up for the Uzbek, who's is set to have his fight televised on HBO, and hopefully bigger and better opportunities will come his way in 2019.
One of the other major prospects on this card is the debuting Israil Madrimov (0-0), who looks to instantly announce himself as one to watch, as he takes on Vladimir Hernandez (10-2, 6) in a 10 rounder, on debut. The highly regarded Madrimov is tipped to be a major success, and it seems clear that his team have big expectations for him, putting him in such a tough bout to begin his career. Hernandez might not be a major name but he's a very solid opponent for a debut, and has only lost a couple of close decisions, to Humberto Velazco Torres and Adrian Luna Flores. Not only has Hernandez been competitive with good opponents, but he has scored decent wins over Elco Garcia and Danny Valdivia. This is a serious debut.
Another prospect on this card is 2016 Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (5-0, 4), who will be up against the very experienced Miguel Zamudio (41-11-1, 25). The unbeaten Giyasov has been very impressive this year, beating good opponents like Gabor Gorbics, Albert Mensah and Julio Laguna, defeating Laguna at Wembley on a massive international card. Zamudio is a 27 year old Mexican veteran, who debuted back in 2009 and has been ultra-active. Despite being active Zamudio has lost to the notable opponents he's faced, such as Jose Zepeda, Sharif Bogere and Will Tomlinson.
Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) was also scheduled to be on this card, though was pulled in the weeks leading up to the show, without a reason being given.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Another international card with notable action comes from Monaco, where we get a couple bouts involving Asian fighters.
A second unbeaten Chinese fighter on this card is Meng Fanlong (13-0, 8) who goes up against popular Englishman Frank Buglioni (22-3-1, 16). The bout will be Fanlong's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, a title he won in October 2017 when he defeated Ammanuel Danso. The Chinese fighter has looked good at times, but has been shown to have a less than amazing chin and although Buglioni is not a world beater, he does have respectable power. If Buglioni lands clean this could be a night to forget for Fanlong, who will be making his Euroipean debut.
Another Olympic medal winner on this card will be 2016 gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0, 2) of Kazakhstan. The 2016 Olympic champion will be battling against Nicaraguan Marcos Mojica (16-2-2, 12) and this is another good platform for Yeleussinov to shine on, as he did last time out, when he stopped Matt Doherty. If Yeleussinov can continue to develop his style he could become a star, but there is still a long way for him to go. Mojica is the under-dog, but is a live under-dog here.
We were also hoping to see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhang Zhilei (20-0, 16) take on veteran Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25), but that bout was cancelled at late notice due to Zhilei having visa issues in the weeks running up to the fight.
Despite the notable action in the US and Monaco there is actually a stacked card in the Philippines, courtesy of ALA Promotions who are putting on a show with several WBO affiliated titles.
One of those title bouts will feature the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) making his first defense of the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Mexican visitor Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6). The champion won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda and this should be a good defense against a fighter who has proven he can fight on the road. Lopez first came to our attention in 2016, when he upset Ryo Matsumoto, and despite a loss to Matsumoto in a rematch he has remained relevant, with a big win this past August against Antonio Tostado. We're expecting an interesting bout here.
Another title bout on this card will see the once beaten Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) make his first defense of the WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on Ghanaian puncher George Krampah (14-3, 12). On paper this looks dangerous for Pagara, but the visitor has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts, and he lacks any win of note. This is a great chance for Pagara to make his first defense, and we suspect his aim will be on stopping Krampah in under 4 rounds, to try and beat the result Isaac Dogboe had against him.
In one of the major supporting bouts we'll see former world title challengers face off with Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) taking on Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16). Sultan failed to shine in his recent world title fight with Jerwin Ancajas, but he is a talented fighter and will be wanting to bounce back from that setback. A win over would certainly help him go into 2019 with some momentum. As for Diale his record has been patchy recently, though he has mixed with top quality fighters such as Daigo Higa, Moruti Mthlane and Andrew Selby. We suspect Sultan's youth will get him over the line here, but this could be more competitive than the records suggest.
Sultan isn't the only former world title challenger on this show as the once touted Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18) looks to rebuild his career after his loss earlier this year to Luis Nery. Villanueva will be up against countryman Carlo Demecillo (11-5, 5) who is less than 2 years removed from a brutal KO loss to Satoshi Shimizu. He is 5-1 (4) since that loss, but this is a big step back up in class and is certainly his toughest bout since the Shimizu bout. Hard to see anything but a win for Villanueva, but he will have to work for it.
Unbeaten prospect KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) takes a step up as he faces Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. Cataraja is widely regarded as one of the top Filipino prospects but hasn't yet had the opponents to really show what he's capable of. This is a good chance to Cataraja to prove what he can do and potentially convince his team to give him better match ups in the new year. Reyes is a live fighter, but his record doesn't have much quality on it, with his most notable bout being his loss to Ricardo Rafael Sandoval back in March. Reyes will travel to win, and should give Cataraja a good teat, but one that we expect Cataraja to pass.
Japanese prospect Go Hosaka (1-0, 1), who is signed with ALA Promotions, will be having his second professional bout. The talented former amateur stand out will be up against the hard hitting but limited Jason Tinampay (8-11-1, 7). Hosaka is a real talent and ALA may well have a future world champion on their hands here, if they manage his career properly. At this stage putting him in with Tinampay seems a good choice. Tinampay was once a dangerous fighter, but has gone 1-10-1 since a 7-1 start to his career.
We see yet more prospects in Canada, where two Kazakh hopefuls will be looking to extend their unbeaten records.
One of those prospects is the very talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (4-0, 4), who goes up against the experienced Jose Francisco Zuniga (14-11-2, 5). On paper this is a slight step up in class for Akhmedov, who has stopped his first 4 opponents in a combined 8 rounds, but one he should manage without any issues. It's worth noting Zuniga has only been stopped once in his 11 losses, but we feel he will have to put in a real survival effort to hear the final bell here.
The other is prospects is 24 year old Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6), who a huge step up in class to battle Rocky Montoya (32-2, 22). Sabirov is tipped to be a star, like many of the Kazakh's currently based in Canada , and has looked very promising since his debut in June 2017. This is however a step up and Montoya has only been stopped once, by the under-rated David Lopez. Whilst Montoya is a test on paper it's hard to know how good he is given that, for the most part, his competition has been dreadful. We suspect Montoya's record will be exposed here by the talented Kazakh.
In less notable action we'll see Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (13-6, 5) look to build on a recent big win in China, over Youli Dong. The under-rated Filipino will be facing off with Australian Joel Camilleri (15-5-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Although relatively unknown Abdulhamid is a very good fighter and seems happy fighting on the road, despite bein 1-3 outside of the Philippines. Camilleri has won just 1 of his last 3 fights, and really lacks a good wins, but was competitive with Dwight Richie last time out, and is better than his record suggests. This looks like it could be a very interesting match up.
The biggest show in Asia takes place in Hyogo and will feature two notable bouts.
The main event will see Japan's Shohei Kawashima (16-2-2, 3) take on Filipino Ronnie Campos (8-3-3, 5). The Japanese fighter has impressed over-all, and pushed Cristian Mijares surprisingly close in 2016. Sadly for Kawashima he did suffer a KO loss last year to Gaku Aikawa and this is his first step up in class since that loss. The 21 year old visitor will bee fighting in Japan for the second time, having lost in 2017 to Junki Sasaki, and will feel like he could pick up a win against Kawashima, who may be low on confidence here.
Also on this card is unbeaten prospect Yuki Yamauchi (1-0, 1), who was originally announced to have a 10 round bout, but has since had the bout rescheduled to a 6 rounders, take on Alvin Medura (8-2, 7). The Japanese novice is tipped to be a massive star in the future and this is a really good test for him against a limited, but dangerous, Filipino puncher. Medura is no world beater, but at this level he is very dangerous if he lands, and he's a hungry fighter, but was out boxed a year ago by Ryuto Owan, who showed that he can be out boxed.
This show will also feature the retirement ceremony of Japan's Ryuya Yamanaka, who has had to hang up the gloves on medical grounds. It's a shame to see Yamanaka hang up his gloves at just 23 years old. Despite his early retirement we do expect the fans to send him into a retirement with a serious send out.
Cebu also plays host to a small card, which really hasn't got much attention or much worth talking about, if we're being honest.
The main event will see local loser Wilbert Rota (0-4) take on unbeaten Taiwanese fighter Ming Hung Lee (6-0, 4), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the 29 year old Lee.
A slightly more interesting bout on the same card will see Cris Ganoza (15-2, 8) take on Ernesto Alera (5-5-1). The 24 year old Ganoza is a talented fighter who has only suffered losses to Edward Heno and John Michael Zulueta, two very talented unbeaten youngsters. The light punching Alera has won just 1 of his last 5 bouts and isn't expected to be much of a test for Ganoza, despite the fact Ganoza was beaten last time out.
Busan, South Korea
There is also set to be a small novice show in Korea, headlined by Suk Joon Hwang (3-1-2) and Urmat Amankulov (2-0, 1). The 23 year old Hwang lost after 103 seconds on his debut but has since gone on a 5 fight unbeaten run. The unbeaten Amankulov is a Korean based Kyrgyzstan born fighter who debuted in July and has already racked up a couple of wins. Although not a mouth watering match up on paper this could be very fun for the fans in Busan.
Other notable prospects will be in action in Canada, with a duo of Central Asian prospects taking on interesting tests in Quebec.
One of those prospects is Kazakh Lightweight Ablaikhan Khussainov (8-0, 5), who takes a notable step up up in class, as he takes on the experienced Jesus Laguna (22-12-3, 19) in an 8 round bout. The 27 year old Kazakh is a talent but has been moved very slowly since making his debut in December 2015 and this step up is well over-due. The 30 year old Laguna has been around the block but has failed to win any of his more notable bouts. On paper this is a step up, but a manageable one for the Kazakh.
Originally the talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (3-0, 3) was pencilled in to face off against Norberto Gonzalez (23-11, 13) on this card. Gonzalez has however been removed from the card, and Akhmedov will instead face off with Jesus Javier Mendoza (7-5-1, 6), in what looks like a big downgrade. The unbeaten Akhmedov, from Kazakhstan, has looked excellent since making his debut in April and will be looking to leave an impression here as well.
Sadly it seems like the previously reported match up between Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6) and Adrian Luna Flores (20-5-1, 13) has been cancelled in the days leading up to the fight. On paper this was an excellent match up for Sabirov and a great test against a fighter who has been a long term sparring partner for Ryota Murata, so it's a shame to see the bout falling through.
In Belgium fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Super Featherweight hopeful Faroukh Kourbanov (15-1, 3) take on Frenchman Sylvain Chapelle (17-25-2). The talented Kourbanov, who is bow based in Belgium, is a former EBU European Union champion who suffered his first loss this past May against Italian veteran Devis Boschiero, in a close bout on the road, and he'll be looking to bounce back. The 32 year old Chapelle is very limited but typically fights at Lightweight or Light Welterweight and is very tough and well travelled. Chapelle has never been stopped and has fought the likes of Scott Cardle, Yvan Mendy, Romain Jacob and Emiliano Marsili. This should be a clear win for Kourbanov, but he will be expecting to be taken the distance.
There isn't much action this coming Friday but there are a number of Asian prospects in action.
The most notable of those prospects is the very talented and very exciting Canadian based Kazakh Sadriddin Akhmedov (3-0, 3), who takes a massive step up in class to take on Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-5, 18). The 20 year old Akhmedov, who is fighting out of Quebec, was a sensational amateur at youth level and already appears to be on the fast track in the professional ranks, thats despite only making his debut this past April. Whilst this is a big step up it does seem like Akhmedov's team are confident and his next bout is pencilled in for October. Argentinian 30 year old Romay is heavy handed and tough, and should pose a very serious threat to Akhmedov. Romay has only been stopped once in 26 bouts, and that was all the way back in his 4th bout, since then he has faced mostly limited opposition, but was able to go 10 rounds with Zhankosh Turarov last September.
As well as Akhmedov's fight in Canada there will also be a couple of bouts of note in Russia.
For us the most interesting bout will see Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (11-0, 5) take on Mirzhan Zhaxylykov (10-3, 4). Uulu, originally from Kyrgyzstan though now based in Russia, has been slowly stepping up the quality of his opposition though was pushed all the way last time out by Leonardo Padilla which perhaps showed his team that he needs a step backwards. Kazakh foe Zhaxylykov hasn't fought in almost 18 months, and was stopped in his last 2 bouts, so he shouldn't serve as much of a test for Uulu.
A more promising Kazakh on thus card will be Stanislav Kalitskiy (4-0, 3). Sadly however he hasn't had his opponent for the card announced at the time of writing.
Busan, South Korea
In Asia it's self there will be a low key card in Busan, featuring a couple of title fights.
One of those title fights will see former OPBF title challenger Jin Wook Lim (10-5-5, 3) take on Filipino visitor Jess Rhey Waminal (11-2-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Both men have come up short against their most notable opponents, with Lim losing to the likes of Shohei Kawashima and Shun Kubo whilst Waminal has lost to Ben Mananquil and Carlo Demecillo, however they should make for a very interesting match up together.
The second title bout will see big punching Middleweight hopeful Sung Jae Jo (6-0, 5) take on Jong Min Bang (3-7-1) in a bout for the vacant Korean Middleweight title. The 23 year old Jo has shown promise and has been moved relatively well for a Korean domestic level fighter, and should be strongly favoured here. Unfortunately Bang has been stopped in his last 3, and should pose no real threat to the rising youngster.
Another bout on this card will see 31 year old Tae San Kil (5-0, 3) battle against Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-2, 2) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds. It's hard to see anything but a win for the unbeaten man, though hopefully this will open doors to more meaningful bouts in the near future.