Some days are insanely busy and today is one such day with more fights of note than almost any other day this year, and better yet they are spread all over the globe form the Philippines to the US, from Germany to Mexico. It really is a great day to look forward to.
New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)
Some times we get days that are ridiculously busy, and we mean ridiculously busy! This Coming Saturday is one such day with more action and more fights that we are used to seeing on a single day!
New Jersey, USA
The most notable of the fights will feature former WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion and current WBO Light Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (24-0-1, 22). Kovalev will be defending the WBO title for the third time since winning less than a year ago. The unfortunate man to share the ring with the "Krusher" will be the unbeaten, but light hitting, Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6) who is almost certainly going to be the next victim of Kovalev's thudding power and vicious assaults. Going in to this bout Kovalev has stopped his last 8 opponents in a combined 31 rounds! The general view seems to be that Caparello won't last more than 3 or 4.
New York, USA
Kovalev isn't the only Russian in a world title fight and in New York Anton Novikov (29-0-0-1, 10) will be challenging for the WBA Light Welterweight title currently held by the unbeaten Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9). Vargas, who beat Khabib Allakhverdiev back in April, will be making the first defence of his title but the challenger, a former WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight champion, will be looking to upset the once touted American fighter. This bout certainly looks more competitive than the Kovalev fight and looks a bit like a coin toss right now.
As well as title action in the US we also get a female double in Japan in one two Tokyo shows.
The female double header will be held at the Adachi Ward Sogo Sports Center and will be headlined by female IBF Light Flyweight champion Naoko Shibata (12-3, 3) who will be seeking the second defence of her title. Unfortunately for Shibata she's in a very tough one with the experienced Ana Arrazola (20-9-2, 13). Arrazola has been in with some of the best around and will be expected to give Shibata an incredibly hard fight here and we'd not be shocked by the title changing hands in what is truly a hard bout to call.
Although Shibata/Arrazola is the main event we dare suggest that the other female title fight, between long reigning WBC Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (18-2-1, 5) and former Muay Thai sensation Denise Castle (2-0, 2). Castle really was tremendous in Muay Thai though this will be a big test of ho those skills transfer over. For Koseki we'd like to see her box more than usual, like she did against Maria Jimenez, as opposed to using the billy goat tactics that she has used through her career. If Koseki gets into a war this is anyone's fight whilst if she boxes she should win with out too many issues.
In the chief support bout fans will get the chance to see two debutants in action in a 6 round bout at Welterweight. From what we understand this contest will see Takeshi Inoue (0-0) fighting Daishi Nagata (0-0). It's rare for debutants to collide in 6 rounders but both guys are B Class licensed fighters are have shown that they are capable meaning that this is a seriously tough way to start their careers.
The other Tokyo show will be at the Korakuen Hall and feature several interesting fighters and match ups.
The most interesting of the fighters is former WBA Super Featherweight world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (20-3-3, 13) who will be hunting his second win since losing his world title bout to Takashi Uchiyama. Kaneko will be fighting the limited but tough Filipino visitor Cirilo Espino (19-13-3, 12) who has only suffered a controversial stoppage loss in his 35 fight career. Disappointingly Espino as beaten last time out by Ryota Kajiki a man who Kaneko stopped back in December 2012 and with that in mind we can't see anything but a win for Kaneko. The question here is just how long can Espino last with the heavy handed Kaneko.
Whilst Kaneko is the most interesting fighter on the card he's not in the most interesting fight. That honour belongs to Ryo Akaho (23-1-2, 16) and Masaaki Serie (25-6, 10) who get it on in a potential fire cracker. Akaho goes in to this bout hunting a second world title tilt though, as shown in his fight with Jacker Buhawe, he will need to tidy up his boxing if he wants to have any chance of winning a world title. Serie is probably past his prime but has the toughness, experience and skills to make life very difficult for Akaho here.
The most interesting of 2 Filipino shows will take place in Batangas an will feature two title fights. The most interesting of these is a bout between the unbeaten JR Magboo (15-0-2, 7) and the the promising youngster Virgil Puton (14-3, 7). The men, who battle for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific Super Bantamweight title have been matched up very well here and the winner will likely earn an IBF ranking position next month meaning there is a lot to gain by wining this all Filipino clash.
Unfortunately the other title fight is a mismatch to say the least as the talented and unbeaten Ben McCulloch (13-0, 10) defends his PABA Super Middleweight title against the very limited Yodkhunsuk Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1). There is little one can say to defend this type of match up though we do question why the PABA would allow this contest to go ahead.
Although there are 5 other bouts on the card there was only one that really stood out and that was the contest between Roberto Gonzales (23-2, 14) and the exciting and under-rated Allan Tanada (13-2-3, 5). Gonzales won his first 20 fights but has gone 3-2 in his last 5 with both of those losses coming by stoppage as he career has began to falter. Tanada is best known for his upset win over Japan's Rikiya Fukuhara for the OPBF Super Featherweight title though he has struggled himself since then and this should prove to be a very important cross roads fight for both men.
The second of the Filipino cards seems to be more of a prospect show than one one with really interest contests. It does however have 2 bouts of note.
One of those will see the unbeaten Ardie Boyosi (10-0-1, 7) taking on the experienced and tough Richard Betos (20-8-1, 7). Boyosi has won his last 10 bouts including 6 successive T/KO wins whilst Betos has proven toughness having only been stopped once in his 29 fights. Sadly Betos's has lost 3 of his last 4 and is likely on a slide physically. Boyosi should win but we'd expect this to be a good test for the hard hitting prospect.
The other bout of note will see the unbeaten Neil John Tabanao (7-0, 6) battling against against Jhon Gemino (10-2-1, 4). Tabanao has looked good so far but this should be considered a step up for the unbeaten youngster who will be facing an opponent coming to win as opposed to someone with little self belief.
Back in the US we're expecting to see Filipino slugger Drian Francisco (24-2-1, 19) in action though his opponent has yet to be named. Francisco has been out of the ring for more than a year following his loss to Chris Avalos though he will be expecting to win here in an attempt to restart his career.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we will get to see Filipino Adones Aguelo (21-9-2, 13) battling against former world title challenger Sergio Thompson (29-3, 26). Thompson, best known for his thriller with Takashi Miura, is hoping to earn himself a second world title fight but will likely need to do more than just beat Aguelo here to secure a rematch with Miura, the current WBC champion. Aguelo will know that this is a huge opportunity for him to throw his name into the mix but he won't be expecting to over-come the tough and heavy handed Thompson.
(Image courtesy of http://boxenplus.com)
This coming Saturday is an interesting one in the world of Asian boxing. It's not a hugely active one, in fact compared to Sunday it's a very quiet one, but the action we do have, especially on the road, is genuine interesting and has a lot of significance to it.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The only show actually in the Orient is a small one in the Philippines. This show is headlined by a trio of 10 rounders though for us the stand out name is the promising "Captain A" Al Sabaupan (20-2-1, 15) who will be fighting Thai visitor Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit (14-7, 6). Sabaupan was beaten last time out by Ricardo Dominguez so will be looking to bounce back with a win here.
Another semi-notable name on this card is Roberto Gonzales (22-2, 13) who will be looking for his third successive victory as he takes on domestic journeyman Ronald Postrano (7-18-2, 3) in a clear mismatch.
Another mismatch will see the promising Michael Dasmarinas (14-1, 8) attempt to extend his 11 fight winning streak as he takes on the limited Zoren Pama (5-9-3, 2). As with the Gonzalez bout, this looks to be a pretty clear mismatch.
Whilst the only Oriental card of the day looks uninspiring it does look better than the Russian show which is headlined by Sergey Ekimov (9-0, 3) fighting against Said Mbelwa (26-14-4, 18). The unbeaten Ekimov scored two solid wins last year but on paper this should be his toughest assignment so far.
New Jersey, USA
Talking about Russian's it's actually a Russian fighter that is the highlight of the night. That's because hard hitting Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21) returns to the ring for his second defence of the WBO Light Heavyweight title. In the opposite corner to Kovalev will be unbeaten American Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13) who will be taking a huge step up in class. Kovalev isn't just expected to defend his belt but is expected to stop Agnew inside the first few rounds as he has done with his last few opponents.
On the same card in the US there will also be a fight featuring Kovalev's compatriot and managerial stable-mate Khurshid Abdullaev (6-0-1, 3) who will be taking a huge step up to fight Wilky Campfort (16-1, 9). We're sad to say that we don't expect a victory for Abdullaev here.
Nuevo León, Mexico
We go first circle here having started with Filipino's we actually finish in Mexico with a different Filipino, Balweg Bangoyan (18-8, 7) who is essentially being thrown in with the wolves. Bangoyan, a Filipino journeyman who has lost 6 of his last 8, is travelling to fight the vicious and highly destructive Adrian Estrella (16-0, 16) who comes in to the bout on back to back victories over Asian fighters including Jose Maxian, who was stopped in 3 by Estrella last year. It's really hard to give Bangoyan any chance at all here.