This coming Saturday is set to be an incredibly busy day for fighters from Asia, with a host of Asian fighters competing in the US and a handful also competing in Russia
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The biggest card for us this weekend comes from Las Vegas and is a Top Rank card with 4 different Asian fighters involved, including a debutant from Japan, an Olympic gold medal winner from Uzbekistan, a world ranked Kazakh and a talented and tricky Japanese Lightweight.
The debuting Japanese fighter is former amateur standout Subaru Murata (0-0), who looks to kick off his professional career with a 4 round bout against fellow professional novice Keven Monroy (1-1, 1). Murata is tipped incredibly highly after a strong amateur career, and some in Japan do view him as a future world champion in the making. Despite the hype and the expectations he will need to impress here, and is getting a chance to shine, in front of a global audience, on a major US show.
The Uzbekistani Olympic gold medal winner is Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (9-1, 5), who also needs to shine as he takes on the unbeaten Quinton Randall (8-0, 2). Gaibnazarov won gold at the 2016 Olympics and was tipped for big things, but has struggled to acclimatise to the professional ranks and hasn't really bounced back from a 2019 loss to the awkward Mykal Fox. Randall on the other hand is 30 years old and fighting in his most notable bout to date. Coming in to this one neither man can really afford a loss and although we're not expecting a fight of the year contender this could be a very, very interesting contest between two men who will both be looking to prove a point
On the subject of interesting contests the chief support bout on this card will see talented Kazakh Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5) take on former WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (26-2, 18), in a huge step up in class for Alimkhanuly. The Kazakh is already world ranked, after just 9 bouts, and has been calling out Demetrius Andrade over the last 12 or so months. A win against Brant here will really strengthen his call outs and could help him land a world title fight later in the year. As for Brant this will be his second bout since losing to Ryota Murata in 2019 and he'll know that a win over Alimkhanuly could, potentially, lead to him getting a chance to become a 2-time world champion. This is a true 50-50 style match up and one of the most interesting looking bouts on the schedule right now, with both men likely feeling they have what it takes to score a victory here.
As for the main event we'll see once beaten Japanese Lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) taking on former Ukrainian amateur boxing god Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10), in a really important bout for the Lightweight division. The tall, rangy, tough Nakatani has impressed in his last two bouts, losing a competitive bout with Teofimo Lopez and stopping Felix Verdejo, and he'll know that a win here would almost certainly secure him a world title bout, potentially even a rematch with Lopez. As for Lomachenko he looked rather poor last time out, losing a decision to Lopez, and there are question marks about whether he's a natural Lightweight, and at 33 what his long in ring career has taken from him. This is a great opportunity for Nakatani, though he will be the clear under-dog against the magical Lomachenko.
State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
As well as the collection of Asian fighters competing on the Top Rank show in Nevada we also bet the chance to see once beaten Uzbekistan born fighter Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7) take on Dominican veteran Algenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12) in a very good looking match up. This is Akhmedov's second bout since his fantastic 2019 bout with Mario Barrios, in what was a legitimate Fight of the Year contender, and is a big step back up in class after a win last September against the limited Rey Perez. Mendez on the other hand is a faded for from the fighter he once was, but he's still a smart and capable fighter, and he'll know that a win here puts him in the mix for some big fights. Expect to see this being a really interesting clash of styles with Akhmedov's pressure and aggression matching up against Mendez's guile and boxing brain.
801 Event Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
On a third US card we'll see Uzbekistani veteran Ravshan Hudaynazarov (18-4, 14) battle against the unbeaten Sergio Sarabia (5-0, 4). The 37 year old Hudaynazarov won his first 17 bouts before disappearing from the sport in 2014. Sadly when he returned in 2018 he lost 4 in a row, before picking up a very low key win in April this year. The 29 year old Sarabia on the other hand hasn't fought since 2013, and although he's unbeaten we have to assume ring rust will be a major issue for him here.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
As well as the action in the US there's also a show in Russia that features some Asian fighters.
One of the Asian fighters on this card is Southpaw Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-2-1, 2), who looks to bounce back from back to back losses as he takes on Zhora Hamazaryan (10-3-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 round Super Featherweight bout. After going unbeaten in his first 9 bouts Turgumbekov will now have low confidence and be questioning his place in the sport, knowing another loss could be the end of his place in notable bouts on RCC shows. On paper Hamazaryan doesn't have the best of records, but the Armenian is a genuine handful and with his aggression, power, work rate and will to win, he should be regarded as the favourite here, in what could be the hidden gem of the weekend.
Another Asian on this card is Turkmenistan's Bahodur Yakubov (1-0), who looks to build on his debut win over Viktor Vezhlivtsev. At the time of writing his opponent here hasn't been named, though he's expected to be competing in a 4 rounder on this show.