City Hall Ground, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
This coming Tuesday our attention turns to Thailand, for a notable show, headlined by a rematch that is now on it's third date this and also features a major step up for a prospect taking on a former world champion.
The main event of the card will see WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (37-1, 23) taking on former champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-1, 19), in a much anticipated rematch between the two men who fought back in 2020. In their first bout we saw a great performance from both men, with the judges narrowly giving the win to Panya, to end Wanheng's notable, and lengthy, unbeaten run. It was assumed that would be the end for Wanheng, who has instead bounced back with a single win and will now be determined to avenge his sole loss. As for the champion this is a great chance to solidify his reign, and prove he didn't need a little bit of luck from the judges when the two men first met. Notably this bout has been pencilled in for January and February, and is now on its third date this year, fingers crossed it won't be postponed again. Our in depth preview of this bout, which was written ahead of the original January date for the bout, can be read here Panya and Wanheng clash again for WBC crown!
The main support bout for the show will see novice Peerapol Boonchauy (1-0) take on former world champion Suriyan Satorn (61-13, 41), also known as Kompayak Porpramook, in a huge step up in class. Aged 22 Peerapol debuted last November, beating Chaiwat Buatkrathok, and is now stepping up to face someone who once held the WBC Light Flyweight title. Whilst this is a huge step up, it should be noted that Peerapol is a naturally bigger, much younger fighter, and at 39 Suriyan is now little more than a trial horse for Thai prospects, than a real threat. Even with that in mind however, Peerapol will have to answer some genuine questions posed by the veteran here.
The most notable action in Asia this coming Saturday will be in Thailand as we get the next show in the WP Boxing series of events, and it's a show that will look to highlight two of the hottest prospects in Thailand.
One of the promising Thai's in question is Phongsaphon Panyakum (12-1, 6), who will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title against Adrian Lerasan (10-4, 3). The 21 year old Panyakum is one of the best prospects in Thailand, and has gone on a great run since a defeat to Kai Ishizawa on debut back in 2017, and is looking to continue his rise through the ranks towards a WBC world title fight, something we expect to see him in in 5 or 6 years time. Despite Panyakum being a great prospect this won't be an easy one for him and Lerasan can't be over-looked, especially given his recent form in Thailand, that included a massive upset win over Tanes Ongjunta in 2020. This should be a very interesting match up.
Sadly the other main bout on this show is less likely to be an interesting one, as the hard hitting Chainoi Worawut (14-0-1, 12) takes on the much older, much smaller Suriyan Satorn (61-12, 41). A prime Suriyan was always great fun to watch, and a legitimately great warrior, but he was at his best at 108lbs and is now fighting up at 122lbs for this bout. Chainoi Worawut is a genuinely promising prospect, and hopefully we see him in with some interesting international opponents in the near future, but at the moment he's a long way from being a legitimate threat in the Super Bantamweight division. Despite being a long way from a top fight he should be far too big and too strong here to even be tested.
CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Over in Canada we'll see a new Canadian Middleweight champion being crowned, as Canadian based Indian born fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (9-0, 3) takes on Jordan Balmir (11-1, 6) for the vacant title. Bhatti slowly been making a name for himself on the Canadian scene, and despite having a frustrating level of inactivity in recent years, with just a single fight in 2020 and a single fight in 2021, he is clearly a promising fighter who could help kick start the love of professional for Indian youngsters. Balmir on the other hand is a Canadian fighter best known for losing in 2018 to Steven Butler, who stopped Balmir in 3 rounds. That loss aside there's not much on Balmir's record to talk about, though he was inactive through 2019 and 2021 and has had just 6 rounds of action since losing to Butler in October 2018.
Olympic Arena, Andijan, Uzbekistan
Staying in notable Asian boxing countries we see Uzbekistan, an amateur boxing power house, hosting a show in Andijan. It's not a big show but there are some interesting fighters on the card.
Potentially the most interesting fight on the show is a 10 rounder between Khusniddin Pulatov (11-3, 7) and the debuting Dilshod Sodikov (0-0), in what seems a really strange one. Pulatov has been quietly making a name for himself in Uzbekistan and South Korea, scoring a notable win over In Duck Seo in 2019, and should be heavily favoured here, however it's clear that Sodikov and his team are confident in his potential and are throwing him in deep here in what could be a great chance for him to announce himself on the regional scene.
Another interesting looking bout will see 23 year old Ulugbek Sobirov (11-1, 6) take on Argentinian fighter Brian Damian Chaves (14-1, 5). Sobirov had a fair bit of momentum build at one point, but a loss in 2020 to Dmytro Mytrofanov slowed his rise and he's yet to really rebuild from that defeat, with just a single win since then. Chaves on the other hand has won 3 in a row since being blasted out by Jeremias Nicolas Ponce. Notably Chavez has shown a questionable chin, but will feel confident of having the tools to over-come Sobirov in a good looking match up.
Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Over in Dubai we're set to see the next chapter in the long running saga of Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-2-0-1, 13) versus the Philippines, as he takes on Vincent Astrolabio (16-3, 12) for the vacant WBC International Bantamweight title. The Cuban veteran has faced numerous Filipino's over the years, and was unbeaten against them until his 2021 loss to John Riel Casimero last year, and it did seem like he had slowed significantly from the man who beat Nonito Donaire, in what is still the career defining win for Rigondeaux. Despite the Cuban's slow down he should have way too much for Astrolabio, who is very much a Filipino level domestic fighter who has fallen short against his most notable opponents, such as Yuki Strong Kobayashi and John Mark Apolinario.
This coming Saturday is a hectic day for fans of Asian fighters, with a host of shows through out Asia, some of which will show case some of the brightest prospects in Thailand and the Philippines. As well as the action in Asia there is also set to be some interesting action in Russia, which could end up stealing the day!
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
The best of the Asian action, at least on paper, comes from Thailand where we get two bright prospects taking on veterans in what should be very good tests for the youngsters.
One of the youngsters on this card is 17 year old sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5), who will be looking to record his second defense of the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title, as he clashes with former multi-time world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-7, 41). The talented Phoobadin has been impressing for a while, and really shone last year, particularly in his title defence against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, but there is a lot of work for him to do before thinking about world titles. The highly experienced Chonlatarn, best known for losing in world title bouts against Vasyl Lomachenkoand Chris John, is going to be a game opponent here, but we suspect the 36 year old will be under-sized and under-powered against the very promising teenage hopeful.
The second notable hopeful on this show will be Tanes Ongjunta (7-1, 4), who takes on Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-11, 41), also known as Suriyan Satorn or Kompayak Porpramook. The talented Ongjunta was upset early last year, when he came undone against an inspired Adrian Lerasan, but since then he has reeled off 3 low key wins and is now taking a big step up, as he tried to give his career a kick start. The 38 year old Kompayak has lost 6of his last 8, but has, typically, been in the ring looking to score wins. We suspect Kompayak will be in there giving his all against Ongjunta, but will come up short, and potentially suffer a late stoppage against the talented Ongjunta.
As well as the action in the Philippines there will also be prospects in action over in the Philippines.
One of the exciting prospects on this card is the once beaten Peter Apolinar (13-1, 8), who looks to record a 9th successive win, as he takes on Juanito Paredes (8-6-1, 3). There talented 25 year old Apolinar has shown some real potential, but has faced far too many limited opponents to develop his skills properly and he really does need some step ups when the world returns to normality. Sadly Paredes looks like another limited foe for Apolinar, and another man he should easily defeat.
Another mismatch featuring a bright hopeful will see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (12-0-1, 6) take on Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4). The unbeaten 25 year old Vicelles has won his last 9 in a row including solid wins over the likes of Robert Onggocan and Jesse Espinas but sadly this looks like a massive step backwards for him. Garde has lost his last 4, and 6 of his last 7 and it's unlikely he will pose anything of a test for Vicelles.
The exciting and hard hitting Tomjune Mangubat (12-2-1, 10) will be in action against the very limited Ryan Maano (5-10-2, 1). Although certainly not a big name Mangubat can be involved in some really great action fights, as we saw in his 2019 thriller against Jong Seon Kang. Sadly this looks very much like a tick over for the exciting 23 year old. Maano has scored 2 wins his last 11 and it's hard to imagine him picking up another one here.
The unbeaten Regie Suganob (5-0, 1) has slowly been developing his reputation in the sport and he looks to continue building as he takes on Paolo Sy (6-5-1, 3) here. The talented Suganob isn't being rushed, but this is a good step forward and will be the first time he's competed in an 8 rounder, which should force him to answer some new questions. Although Sy's record is under-whelming he did should some real toughness in his 2019 loss to Shokichi Iwata and we suspect he will serve as a bit of a test for Suganob here.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) will fight for the first time since his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali. The talented Villanueva will be matched somewhat softly here, as he goes up against domestic foe Bryan Tamayo (6-1-2, 2). It's hard to see anything but a win for the skilled and experienced Villanueva, but there are question marks about the long lay off and his hunger after losing in several world title bouts. On the other hand this is a gigantic step up in class for Tamayo, who has never faced someone with more than 10 wins. Hard to see past a Villanueva win, though we do wonder about his long term future in the sport.
Another former world title challenger on this card is Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1), who returns to the ring after more than 2 years out of the ring. The talented Barriga was last out there losing a split decision to Carlos Licona in December 2018 in a bout for the IBF Minimumweight title, sadly he lost that bout by split decision and then took a lengthy break from the ring. His return looks to be a super easy one as he takes on Junuel Lacar (8-6-3, 6) in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout. As with several others on this show the focus seems to be on shaking some ring rust from the A-side and giving them some rounds whilst having plans for bigger things later in the year.
We stay in Asia for a show in Indonesia, which is a much lower quality show but does feature a decent main event.
That main event will see the once touted Patrick Liukhoto (11-2-2, 7) take on veteran Tommy Seran (28-18, 16). Liukhoto won his first 9 bouts in a row before going through a rough patch, where he went 0-2-1, and lost all the moment he was building. Since then he has gone 2-0-1 and is pretty much in "must win" territory. Seran on the other hand is a true stalwart but a man who has been consistently picking up losses in recent years, losing his last 6 and going 5-17 in the last 8 years. This should be a chance for Liukhoto to kick start his struggling career.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
We also get a number of Central Asian fighters in action in Russia on an RCC card in Ekaterinburg, in what is genuinely a solid and exciting card.
The most notable of the Central Asian hopefuls is unbeaten Tajik contender Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (16-0, 9), who looks to score his 17th win as he takes on fellow unbeaten Lunga Sitemela (13-0, 7). The bout will see Yaqubov looking to make his 4th defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title, which he won back in 2018, and a win here should move him another step towards a world title fight, potentially later this year or early next year. Sitemela is a South African hopeful who will be making his international debut, and fighting outside of his homeland for the first time. On paper Sitemela looks like a good test, but his competition so far has been under-whelming and this should be regarded as a massive step up in class for him.
In another good looking match up Erzhan Turgumbekov (8-1-1, 2) will take on Gaibatulla Gadzhialiev (7-2-1, 3). The Kyrgyzstan born, Russian based, Turgumbekov will be looking to bounce back from a 10th round TKO loss to Albert Batyrgaziev, which he suffered last August, but isn't being matched softly here and is instead in with a live opponent. Gadzhialiev begane his career in the US, way back in 2016, but has been fighting in Russia in recent years. Sadly for him he is 1-2-1 in his last 4, but the losses have all been close and there is a good argument he should have taken a win in his draw. This could end up being the hidden gem of the weekend, and should be a very hotly contested match up.
In a female match up Russian based Kazakh born Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (10-0, 3) will be up against Estrella Valverde (18-6-2-1, 3) for the WBC "interim" female Bantamweight title, a title that has no real right to exist given the WBC female Bantamweght title was defended just a few months ago. The unbeaten Zrazhevskaya has been matched softly, to say the least, and this is a big step up for her on paper, though it's one her team will be confident that she can make without too many issues. Valverde has lost in her 4 bouts outside of Mexico and we suspect she'll lose again here, but she is, by far, the most notable opponent for Zrazhevskaya so far.