This coming Saturday is a hectic day of action, despite the fact the bout most of us wanted to see was cancelled when Sergey Kobalev failed a drug test ahead of his scheduled bout with fast rising Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev. Even with that bout off, there is a lot taking place.
Oxigeno Human playground, Heredia, Costa Rica
The most notable bout for us is an IBF female Minimumweight title bout in Costa Rica, where Yokasta Valle (20-2, 9) will be defending her title against Japanese challenger Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2). This bout was only announced earlier this month, though it appears both fighters are hungry and both are out to make a statement. For Valle the stakes are high, and she will likely get a shot at vengeance, with a rematch against WBC champion Tina Rupprecht, if she wins here. As for Hazuki she enters as the clear under-dog, but will get a chance to etch her name in to the history books if she can somehow over-come the talented champion. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hazuki takes on IBF champion Valle in Costa Rica!
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
We also have Asian in action in Florida on the latest show from M&R Boxing Promotions.
Arguably the most notable of the Asian fighters on this show is Filipino slugger James Bacon (25-4, 17) who takes on Argentinian journeyman Ramon De La Cruz Sena (23-27-3, 13). This should be little more than a showcase for the 30 year old Bacon who scored two wins last year, including a KO of the year contender against Roque Agustin Junco in November. The 34 year old Argentinian is a veteran but has been racking up losses in recent years. Despite picking up a lot of losses Sena has only been stopped 5 times and should provide some resistance to the power of Bacon.
As well as Bacon there will be 3 Central Asian prospects on the card. One of those is Tajik fighter Mekhrubon Sanginov (8-0-1, 6), who risks his unbeaten record against 27 year old American Quincy LaVallais (10-0-1, 5). Coming into this both men are riding high with Sanginov taking a big TKO win in November against Cleotis Pendarvis, in his best win to date, whilst LaVallais is looking to build on a December 2020 win over Clay Collard. This 10 round match really is a very interesting match up and should tell us where both men are going with their careers.
Another of the prospects here is Uzbek Kozimbek Mardonov (0-0), who looks to build on a successful amateur campaign with a bout against experienced Argentinian Marcelo Ruben Molina (23-18-1-1, 19). The talented Mardonov has turned professional with high expectations on his shoulders, and he really was a very, very solid amateur and it's going to be great to follow his journey as a professional. As for Molina the 27 year old last scored a win back in 2016 and since then has been knocked out 4 times, leaving him with 15 stoppage losses from 18 defeats.
Daejeon, South Korea
There's a trio of shows in Asia, the most notable which will be a KBA show in Daejeon. The card is set to feature 6 bouts in total, though it's really only the main event that needs any sort of real attention.
That main event will be a Korean Heavyweight title bout, as 37 year old Sang Ho Kim (7-3-1, 1) takes on 42 year old Sung Jin Kwak (6-1, 5). We love Korean boxing, and even bouts like this, that don't look the best on paper, manage to deliver thrilling action and interesting back and forth. With that in mind we expect to see a real fun one here, even if it is at a very, very low level.
Macao Boxing House, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China
In Macao we're set for a card featuring novices. The show, for the most part, will be 4 rounders only, though the main event will be over 6 rounds, at Super Featherweight.
That Super Featherweight bout will see Yi You (2-1-1, 1) take on Jiaming Li (4-2, 2), in a second bout between the two men. These two clashed in a very competitive bout in 2019, with Li taking a majority decision, and we expect another close and competitive one here. Saying that however this is a very, very low level bout, on a very low level show.
Infiniti Mall, Malad West, Mumbai, India
We get another novice card in India, though this one does feature a number of 6 round bouts.
The most interesting match up here will see the unbeaten Lalrinsanga Tlau (3-0, 1) take on the wonderfully named Prince Mojesh Shrivastava (0-0), in a battle of 21 year olds. If we're being honest it's clear that Tlau should be the favourite, given his edge in experience. Saying that however this is still an interesting match up, and it'll be interesting to see who comes out on top here, as the Indian scene continues to try and develop and build out of almost nothing.
Fightclub, Wuppertal, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
We'll also have a bout of interest in Germany as 26 year old German based Uzbek born Cruiserweight Muhammadjon Hayotov (1-0, 1) looks for his second professional win, as he takes on Cornel Paul Cristea (0-1), from Romania. Hard to say too much about this one, but Hayatov was successful in his 2019 debut whilst Cristea was stopped in his debut, a few weeks later.
In a rarity the show that has caught our eye for November 17th comes from Indonesia and will feature the biggest name in Indonesian boxing and one of the hottest prospects in the country.
The main event of the card will see former world title challenger Daud Yordan (39-4-0-1, 27), who takes on South African foe Michael Mokoena (15-4, 10) in a bout for the IBA World and WBO Oriental Light Welterweight titles. The talented Yordan is looking to score his second win since his 2018 loss to Anthony Crolla a year ago whilst Mokoena is looking to avoid a third loss in 4. It's hard to go against Yordan in Indonesia but the visitor will not be there to make up the numbers.
A second bout of note on this show will see the unbeaten Ongen Saknosiwi (7-0, 7) take on experienced Filipino Marco Demecillo (24-8-1, 19), in a bout for the IBA world Featherweight title. The unbeaten Saknosiwi is, on paper, taking a leap up in class after 7 bouts against relative novices, however he should have size, and physical advantage over Demecillo. The Filipino, who began his career around Super Flyweight, has fought as high as Lightweight in recent years, but is very much a blown-up-Bantamweight type fighter. Despite being the smaller man Demecillo shouldn't be written off, and he's an upset minded type of fighter who will be in the ring looking to shock the unbeaten local hero.
In Japan we have a couple of shows with the most notable of those taking place in Hyogo.
The main event of this card will see former world title challenger Riku Kano (15-4-1, 8) face off against the once beaten Tetsuya Mimura (8-1, 1), in what looks likely to be a much more interesting bout than the records suggest. Kano is a talent, but isn't looking likely to live up to the early expectations put on his shoulders, and looks like the best he'll do any time soon is a national title. Mimura on the other hand is looking for his third win since losing in the 2018 Rookie of the Year final. We'd assume Kano's experience will be key here, but it's not a given.
In the main support bout Japanese ranked Flyweight Arata Matsuoka (8-6, 4) will take on Shota Asami (7-6, 4). On paper this looks like a really competitive bout, and one that is worthy of attention. Matsuoka is a former Japanese Youth Flyweight champion and despite his record he is 6-1 (3) in his last 7, rebuilding from a 2-5 start. Asami on the other hand has suffered a lot of close losses, and could have had a 12-1 record with some good fortune shining his way. This might not look like the best of bouts, but we expect it will be much, much better than the records suggest.
Another bout that has the potential to out-shine the main event will see former Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Hikaru Matsuoka (15-5-3, 2) take on Retsu Kosaka (10-4, 4). With 23 bouts to his name it's hard to believe Matsuoka is only 24, but the youngster is an experienced young veteran who always comes to fight, despite his limitations. Kosaka isn't a great, and is 3-4 in his last 7, but can score the occasional upset and hold a a very big 2017 win over current Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa. This is another very good match up, even if it's not going to get much attention outside of Hyogo.
As well as the show in Hyogo there will also be a Japanese card in Yamaguchi, featuring a promising and talented young female fighter, a bout between Japanese fighters and a young novice with a lot of promise.
The main event of the show will be the one featuring the talented young female fighter, teenager Eruka Hiromoto (5-0). The promising Hiromoto will be looking to defend her OPBF female Minimumweight title, as she takes on the aggressive, but somewhat clumsy, Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2). For Hiromoto this will be her first defense, and the fleet footed southpaw will know she's in for a legitimate test here against the 35 year old Hazuki. Although Hazuki is the more technically limited of the two she's aggressive and will ask serious questions of of the champion in what promising to be a very interesting contest. Our preview of this bout can be read here Teenager Hiromoto takes on Hazuki in first title defense
The chief support bout will see Japanese ranked fighters Taiyo Inoue (8-5-2, 5) and Yuto Nakamura (11-5, 8) face off in an interesting looking 8 round contest. Entering the bout Inoue is ranked by the JBC at Light Flyweight, though has been fighting at Flyweight and Super Flyweight recently. Although Inoue is 2-3-2 in his last 7 he is much better than those numbers suggest. Nakamura on the other hand is ranked by the JBC at 115lb is a former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion who enters on the back of 4 straight wins. The size and power is with Nakamura here, but Inoue will certainly be in the ring seeking the upset.
It's also worth noting that Eruka Hiromoto's older brother Ayato Hiromoto (1-0, 1) will be having his second bout on this card. The talented Hiromoto will be taking on Filipino foe Romel Oliveros (10-5-1, 4), in what is a big step up in class from his debut back in September against Suriyo Chonlathan. Although Oliveros is no World beater he's a very good test for someone as inexperienced in the professional ranks as Hiromoto.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most botable card in Asia is the next in the ESPN5 line of shows, stacked with prospects.
One of top prospects on the show is Jayson Mama (12-0, 6), who takes on former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-6-1, 26). The talented Filipino is a real talent and will be expected to win here, though the question is how he wins and how good he looks against the Thai veteran. Kwanthai was very good, once, but is a long way removed from his best years.
Another of the notable prospects in action here will see the all action Carl Jammes Martin (12-0, 11) take on unbeaten Indian visitor Rakesh Lohchab (6-0, 2). On paper this looks like a decent test for Martin, but in reality the Filipino youngster should pick up his next win with no problems. Martin is one of the sports true "made for TV" fighters and we suggest fans do all they can to catch every bout of his that they can.
In an all-Filipino show down we'll see the very highly regarded Dave Apolinario (10-0 6) take on the out of form Dexter Alimento (13-6, 9). Apolinario looks to be up there with the top prospects in Asia, and he should be too strong and too powerful for Alimento. Alimento's career once promised a lot, but it really has faltered in recent bouts and it's hard to know what he really has left.
In one other bout of note we'll see former world title challenger Randy Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22) take on Thai journeyman Worawatchai Boonjan (14-21-1, 13), aka Phupha Por Nobnom. This will be Petalcorin's first bout since losing to Felix Alvarado in an IBF Light Flyweight world title fight last October and will likely be little more than a confidence building win for the talented Filipino.
A second notable card this coming Sunday takes place in Hiroshima, Japan, and features a female OPBF title fight, and a couple of interesting, but low level, domestic bouts.
The main event of this show will see unbeaten teenager Eruka Hiromoto (4-0) taking on Korean foe Chan Mi Lim (4-6-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF female Minimumweight title. The talented Hiromoto comes into this bout having already scored a win over Lim, just over a year ago, and will be hotly tipped to pick up the victory here and claim her first title. Lim has gone 2-1 since losing to Hiromoto in their first bout but is 0-2 on the road, having twice lost in Japan.
Another female bout on this card will see Yumi Narita (3-3-3, 1) battle Sana Hazuki (6-4-1, 2). Coming in to this both fighters are ranked by the OPBF and JBC, and will know that a win here could open the door to another title fight. We say another title fight as both women are, 0-1-1 in Japanese female title bouts, so both will be hoping to secure another shot and make it third time lucky.
One other female bout of note will see JBC ranked female Flyweights Sachiko Kondo (2-3-2) and Yume Hirayama (3-0) face off in a pretty good test for the 19 year old Kondo.
In a male Flyweight bout we'll see Taiyo Inoue (8-4-2, 5) take on Akira Kokubo (7-8-3, 2). Coming in to this Inoue is ranked by the WBO Asia Pacific , thanks to a win in November against Roland Jay Biendima, and will be risking that ranking here. On paper Inoue will be favoured, though it's worth noting that Kokubo has won 5 of his last 6, turning around a really bad start to his career.
As well as the shows in Asia there is also a show in Russia featuring several Asian fighters.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card is unbeaten Uzbek puncher Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14). Ergashev struggled last time out, narrowly over-coming Mykal Fox, and we're expecting him to have an easier time here against what appears to be a very late notice opponent
The other is Russian based Korean fighter He Su Khan (5-4-1, 1). Although Khan is 0-3-1 in his last 4 he has been unlucky in some of those set backs, and he is much, much better than his record suggests. At the time of writing Khan's opponent hasn't been named, though given how Khan has been facing fighters with better record we are hoping for him to get an easy win here.
This coming Monday Dangan put on their second “Victoriva” show, which took the role of Dangan Ladies. From that it should be clear that this will be an all female show, and it actually features a couple of female title fights.
The main event of the card will see Miyo Yoshida (9-1) take on Filipino foe Gretel de Paz (5-3, 2) in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Bantamweight title. The once beaten Yoshida has reeled off 5 straight wins, including a big win over Tomomi Takano for the Japanese female title, and looks to be getting better and better as she develops her in ring experience. As for de Paz she is pretty much a journey-woman, with her last 3 fights all taking place away from home. The visitor won last time out, against a debutant, but we can't see her beating the very in form Yoshida here.
The second title fight will see Japanese Atomweight champion Nanae Suzuki (6-2-1, 1) defending her belt against Akari Arase (6-4, 1), in what will be Suzuki's first defense of the title. Teh champion claimed the belt back in March, when she took a majority decision win over Sana Hazuki, in what was the second meeting between the two women. The 36 year old Arase is better than her record suggests, having ran Masae Akitaya close last year, but is no world beater and a win here would be her best win to date.
A supporting bout will see the aforementioned Sana Hazuki (6-3-1, 2) taking on the debuting Eri Matsuda (0-0) in a 6 round bout. As mentioned Hazuki has twice faced Suzuki in Japanese title fights, drawing once and losing a majority decision, showing that she is among the top domestic fighters at 102lbs. Matsuda on the other hand was a former amateur stand out who is jumping in at the deep end here. A win for Matsuda would see her announce herself on the national stage and be a huge way to kick off her career, but of course Hazuki is not there to make up the numbers.
Another supporting bout of note will see the once beaten Tomoko Okuda (4-1-1) battle against the unbeaten Yoshie Wakasa (5-0, 2). Okuda lost on her debut but has since gone 4-0-1 and moved into 6 rounders. Wakasa on the other hand has avoided a loss so far, but this will be her first 6 rounder. Interestingly neither fighter has a win of any real note so the winner here will have a career best win.
In the last few year's we've seen female boxing grow in the west, thanks to former amateur fighters like Katie Taylor, Nicola Adams and Claressa Shields. It's worth noting however that over the last few years Japan have had some all-female cards. The next one of those takes place this coming Thursday, and is the most stacked all-female card in Japanese history, with an incredible 6 title bouts, ranging from Japanese to world title bouts.
The main event is one of the two world title bouts, and will see WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) make her first defense, as she takes on Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-2, 6). The Japanese fighter won the belt last May, in her 6th world title fight, and will be fully aware that a loss here will likely end her career, given that she's 42 years old. The Korean challenger is 32 and was once a very highly regarded fighter, but she comes into this bout after having not fought in over 2 years. At her best Park was a real talent, but with ring rust she may well not be the fighter she once was, or look like a fighter who has an active 16 fight unbeaten run.
The other world title fight promises to be something a bit special as the highly aggressive Chaoz Minowa (5-0, 4) battles Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) for the vacant WBO female Light Flyweight title. The unbeaten Minowa has spoke about winning world titles in a number of weight classes nut this will be her first world title fight and it's a genuinely tough one for the 30 year old former amateur standout. To date Minowa has mowed mowed through her first 5 foes in a combined 18 rounds and looked a truly spiteful force, but she is taking a huge step up in class here. Tsunami is a former WBA female Super Flyweight champion, holding that title for more than 3 years, and has fought a who's who of female boxing, often giving top fighters very tough fights. This could be something very exciting.
In an OPBF female Minimumweight title bout fans will see former world title challengers clash, with Saemi Hanagata (13-7-4, 7) battling Erika Hanawa (8-1, 3). It was Hanawa that was beaten by the aforementioned Ebata last year for the WBO title at this weight, and since then she has claimed the interim OPBF title. It's worth noting however that Hanagata is a 2-time OPBF champion who has come up just short in 4 world title bouts, and is hungry to get a 5th shot at at world honours.
In a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout fans will see Miyo Yoshida (8-1) make her first defense as she takes on Kai Johnson (5-11-3, 2). The champion won the title last October when she narrowly out pointed Tomomi Takano and will be favoured to retain her title, but Johnson is better than her record suggests, and is much better than a typical fighter on a 6 fight losing run.
A Japanese Flyweight title bout will see the inaugural champion being crowned, as Yuki Koseki (5-4, 1) takes on Yumemi Ikemoto (4-1). On paper Koseki looks the lesser of the two but she has mixed with good opponents, and has gone 1-1 with the aforementioned Yoshida. Ikemoto on the other hand hasn't faced anyone of any real note and is clearly stepping up a level here.
Another inaugural title will be the JBC female Atomweight class, which will be competed for between Sana Hazuki (6-2-1, 2) and Nanae Suzuki (5-2-1, 1), who fought to a draw in a bout for this very same title back in December. On paper these two are very evenly matched, and the fact the judges failed to separate them last time out suggests this could be a very competitive contest again.