Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For hardcore of the Japanese scene we get a live card from Boxing Raise and Dangan Aoki this coming Friday, and it’s the one card that genuinely standsout for the month of January. It’s a small card, with just 4 bouts on it, but all 4 of those bouts are meaningful ones, including two brilliant looking Japanese title fights, and it’s a show that looks like it will be worth watching every second of.
The show will begin with a B Class Tournament final at Super Bantamweight as the once beaten Koki Mioya (8-1-2, 2) takes on the unbeaten Tentaro Kimura (5-0-2), the cousin of the highly regarded Rentaro Kimura. The 23 year old Mioya has gone unbeaten in 7 bouts, including a draw in the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, and has looked like an improving fighter in recent years, but is still very much a work in progress. Kimura, who will be overshadowed by his brother, is a relatively crude fighter, but a fun one to watch and his September battle with Wataru Yokoyama was certainly a treat from Suruga Boys. We don’t expect highly quality boxing here, but we do expect a really fun 5 round war here between two men with a will to win, and relatively little power.
In another 5 rounder we’ll see an A-Class tournament final as heavy handed Lightweight hopeful Shu Utsuki (7-0, 6) takes on the experienced Masashi Wakita (10-10-2, 5). Since turning professional Utsuki has been highly impressive, showcasing solid boxing skills, very heavy hands, and a fun aggressive style. He’s still a work in progress but the 26 year old is looking like a future star for the Watanabe gym. In the other corner is Wakita, a 24 year old who is very much a “win some, lose some” fighter, but generally makes for fun battles, and he could, if he can see out the first round or two, make for a fun war with Utsuki. Sadly however there’s a very real chance that Utsuki could make this look very, very easy.
The first of two title fights will see the heavy handed Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) defending the Japanese Super Featherweight title against the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21), in what may well be an early contender for FOTY. Saka is a crude but aggressive and heavy handed fighter who, on his day, can be a nightmare for anyone on the regional and domestic scene. He looked fantastic in his title, though it should be noted he’s not fought since December 2019 and he has been inconsistent in his biggest bouts. Watanabe on the other hand is a true warrior, who appears to be made out of something they should be using to make tanks. His bouts are almost always action packed bouts and despite often relying on his toughness he is a solid boxer-fighter. He earned this show with his November 2019 win over Taiki Minamoto and despite being inactive for a year the break may well have done him a favour after a lot of very tough and punishing fights. Our in depth preview of this one can be found here Brutality awaits Saka and Watanabe in overdue Japanese title fight!
The other title fight on this show will see JBC Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) defending his belt against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14). Kuga, as with Saka, is a crude fighter but a monstrous puncher who can box a bit and bang a lot. Sadly for Kuga he will enter this bout after a lengthy break from the ring, and was last seen suffering a KO1 loss to Jhunriel Ramonal in December 2019. That loss will still be on his mind given he wasn’t able to get a confidence building win in 2020. Furuhashi will be getting his third shot at a Japanese title, having previously come up short against Yukinori Oguni and Yasutaka Ishimoto. At 33 years old Furuhashi is very much a veteran and he will know this could be his final shot at a Japanese title. As with the other title bout this could end up being a legitimately thrilling war, with Furuhashi setting a high tempo and Kuga looking to land bombs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Warriors Kuga and Furuhashi battle for Japanese throne!
This coming Saturday is a really exciting day in Asian boxing thanks to a brilliant card in Tokyo. The support bouts across the Asian scene aren't the best, but we do have good main events in Ibaragi and New South Wales, Australia, as well.
As mentioned the best card of the day is in Tokyo, and is Dangan card with 4 bouts worthy of attention.
On paper the most significant bout is a Japanese Super Featherweight eliminator. This bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) battle perennial regional contender Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21). On paper Minamoto is the one to back here, he's the more polished boxer and the bigger puncher, with higher level of wins. However Watanabe is no puch over, and he's as rugged as they come, with under-rated skills and will be the naturally bigger guys. We're expecting this to come down to Minamoto's power and skills against Watanabe's toughness and will to win. We are thinking this could be something special between two men who should have styles that gel really well here. A full preview of this bout can be read here Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
In a God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final we'll see a very exciting match up between the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) and the always entertaining Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11). On paper it's hard to see what Yamashita has in his locker to over-come Tsutsumi, but he's never been one to just take a loss with putting up a fight. We really expect this to be an all out war between men who are very similar in their styles and mentality and this could be the hidden gem of the month.
Another potential gem for the month comes in the other God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi-final, as unbeaten fighter Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) and Kuzuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) face off for a place in the final. Both men have been very exciting and shown real power and aggression since their debuts. Both men are in their mid 20's and whilst the loser will see the bout as a notable set back they will likely be able to pursue a rematch down the line. This is a fantastic match up and another that we are expecting to be a war.
Also on this card is the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9), who will be fighting for the first time since being upset by Lito Dante earlier this year. Given how badly Koura lost to Dante, suffering a beating and being stopped in round 12, we can't complain too much about him facing a very limited foe, and that's what he's doing against Indonesian foe Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2). This is little more than a confidence rebuilder for Koura, and that's very understandable.
In Ibaragi we get another Japanese card. This one is much lower profile than the Tokyo show, but does appear to have an excellent main event.
That main event will see the flawed but entertaining Tatsuya Takahashi (30-9-6, 21) take on Filipino foe Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4), in a really good looking 50/50 style bout. The Japanese local is a rather unpolished fighter, but he has great energy and toughness and it always worth watching for his aggression and pressure. On the other other hand Mannaquil is typically a tricky, skilled boxer-mover who has picked up good results on the road, though was stopped last time out by Yuki Strong Kobayashi. This will be a very interesting test and it's a hard one to call either way
As well as the action in Japan there will also be a show in the Philippines. This is a much lower level card, with a main event between John Magagmoc (6-2-1) and Gary Tamayo (3-1, 2). Given the quality of action in Japan this is a very poor bout, but it is a clash between teenagers and we do like those, and do expecting an interesting out, even if it's not at the highest of levels.
New South Wales, Australia
Surprisingly it appears we could be in for a shoot out down under as the unbeaten pairing of Luke Boyd (7-0, 7) and Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) face off for the interim WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. Boyd, a 32 year old Australian, has been crushing low level opponents in double quick time, with only 1 of his 7 bouts going beyond the second round, with his most notable opponent being Inthanon Sithchamuang. At 25 years old Jet is one of the more promising Indonesian fighters, but his competition has been awful and it's hard to get a read on how good Jet may, or may not, be. This should be explosive, though is hard to know how good either man is given their competition to date.
In the US we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (13-0, 6) take on American veteran Walter Wright (17-8, 8). The 31 year old Ashkeyev has been a professional for close to 4 years and really needs to get a move on before he gets too old to make a mark. Whilst 2019 has been a better year for him he really does need to step it up again next year, in a big way. Given that Wright is a late replace, for a late replacement, this is unlikely to be a test for the Kazakh but Wright has only been stopped once, and that was way back on his debut in 2003.
Whilst March has been packed with interesting bouts through the month one of the best takes place this coming Wednesday when Dangan put on their next show at the Korakuen Hall. It isn't a huge card, but it does have a brilliant main event, a pretty notable support bout and one of the most exciting Japanese prospects.
That really good main event will see Hironori Mishiro (6-0-1, 2) defending the OPBF Super Featherweight title against OPBF "silver" champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20), in what could be an excellent show case of boxing skills. Mishiro is one of the many rising hopefuls from the Watanabe gym and won the OPBF title in just his 6th fight, before fighting to a draw with Japanese national champion Masaru Sueyoshi in a unification bout. He's talented smooth in the ring, but lacks real fight changing power. Watanabe, from the Aoki gym, on the other hand is a true veteran, despite only being 30 years old, and is much, much better than his record suggests. This should be a brilliant match up and the winner will almost certainly be lined up for something big later this year. A full preview of this bout can be read here Mishiro and Watanabe to battle for OPBF crown!
The chief support bout sees Japanese ranked fighters clash, with Kyosuke Sawada (12-2-1, 6) and Keita Nakano (15-13-6, 5) facing off against each other. Obviously Sawada, who has won his last 8 and gone 12-0-1 after losing his first 2 bouts, is on the verge of a title fight and will know that a win here takes him one step closer to a shot at national gold. Nakano is better than his record suggests, but is 2-4-3 in his last 9 and has 1-3 in his last 4. Interestingly these two have fought before, fighting to a draw in 2016, but Sawada's career really has taken off since then, with his 8 straight wins.
Also on this card will be the very highly regarded Hayate Kaji (11-0, 9), who will be up against Filipino visitor Arnold Garde (10-6-3, 4). This looks like an interesting test for Kaji, but if he's on song he could make the bout look very easy, with Garde having been stopped several times already during his career, whilst fighting at a lower weight than Kaji's natural Super Flyweight.
This coming Wednesday is a notable day in Asian boxing, with a big fight in Thailand, and a small yet noteworthy card in Japan.
The Thai show will be headlined by the rematch between WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7) and Nicaraguan foe Byron Rojas (25-3-3, 11), who he actually beat for the title in 2016. Knockout had been the interim champion prior to taking the full title from Rojas, and since winning the full title he has made 5 defenses including wins over Shin Ono, Rey Loreto and Xiong Zhao Zhong. In recent fights the champion has looked solid and dependable, rather than sensational and exciting, with an going joke that his name should be Unanimous Decision CP Freshmart. As for Rojas he comes into the bout on an 8 fight winning streak, though those wins have come at a much lower level than Knockout's and it's unclear how he will cope with the step back up in class. Given their first bout we're not anticipating a thrilling clash here. A preview of this bout is available here Knockout and Rojas meet in rematch for WBA crown!
In Tokyo we'll get another in the Japan Vs China series of shows that Dangan have been putting on.
Among the fighters included on this card is former amateur stand out Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1), who we believe is taking on fellow unbeaten Da Xu (3-0-1, 1) in an 8 round Super Featherweight bout. Utsuki is tipped to be a star and we have to strongly favour him to defeat the Chinese teenager.
Another unbeaten Japanese prospect on this card is Tsubasa Murachi (2-0, 2), who faces off with limited visitor Sheng Peng (3-5, 2), in another that should go Japan's way however we are interested to see what Murachi can show here.
One other Japanese prospect on this card is Kaiki Yuba (3-0-1, 2), though sadly we don't have the name of his opponent.
Arguably the best of the Japan Vs China bouts is a match up between the limited pairing of Shun Wakabayashi (8-3, 1) and Xian Qian Wei (13-6-1, 1). Both of these fighters are very flawed, lack power, but do make for entertaining contests and we wouldn't be surprised to see this being the potential bout of the day, with a high intensity and the belief that either man can win.
This card will also include an OPBF female title bout as Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) battles Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8) for the Minimumweight title. Both of these fighters have come up short at the top level, but they should make for a competitive bout against each other, with both being flawed and limited fighters. Despite their limitations they aren't actually bad fighters and this could be a very entertaining distraction from the Japan Vs China competition.
A third card for the day will come from Shenzhen in China, with a trio of title bouts on the card.
In a WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Crruiserweight title fight Chinese local hopeful Peng Qu (13-2-1, 9) will take on the hard hitting Abraham Tabul (14-1-1, 12). This will be Qu's second bout since abandoning the Light Heavyweight division at the turn of the year, following a loss to Gasan Gasanov, and we suspect his frame will suit Cruiserweight much better than it did at 175lbs. Saying that however Cruiserweights do hit significantly harder than the Light Heavyweights he had previously been fighting and we expect to see him being chin checked here. Tabul, from Accra in Ghana, is 0-1 outside of his homeland, and his competition so far lacks any real quality and it's very hard to know what he brings to the ring.
A second title fight on this show will see Cheng Su (12-2-1, 6) battle against Thai foe Panturak Namtong (10-4-1, 7) for the WBO Oriental Super Welterweight title. It's hard to know what either man has done to get a shot at this belt, given that neither has notched a win of note and both have suffered a recent stoppage loss to a poor opponent. All things considered we suspect the local will pick up the win, but he's not going to go much further as a professional.
Sadly the biggest name on the card, OPBF Silver Super Featherweight champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) is actually a man involved in the biggest mismatch on the card, as he defends his title against Wisitsak Saiwaew (6-7, 5), who is best known for being stopped by Watanabe's stablemate Sho Kimura, at Flyweight. We are huge admirers of Watanabe, and his career has been a thoroughly entertaining one as well as one which has seen him fighting in Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taipei and China, but this is his third limited foe in a row. This really is little more than a show case for the talented. tough and exciting Watanabe.
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans.
We get the show of the day in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall hosting a title double header and a really good under-card.
The main event sees a trilogy come to a close as Yuko Kuroki (18-5-1, 8) and Saemi Hanagata (14-7-4, 7) fight for the IBF female Atomweight title. So far Hanagata is winning the series, 1-0 due to a draw in their second bout. Since their bouts together both fighters have proven to be world class, with Kuroki holding the the WBC female Minimumweight title for over 3.5 years, whilst Hanagata would hold her own in 3 world title fights but never manage to get the win. Given how competitive their first two bouts were and how both have developed since 2013 we're expecting a very exciting contest with a lot of leather being thrown between two fighters who know each other very well. - A full preview of this bout can be read here Kuroki looks to settle the score with third bout against Hanagata!
The second title bout on this card promises fire works as heavy handed OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) takes on talented youngster Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4). The champion will be looking to record his third defenses of the title, following very good wins over Masataka Taniguchi and Norihito Tanaka, and this promises to be another very tough test. Tomita, the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year has had a frustrating time since his Rookie win, being matched against some very poor opponents and having one fight cancelled, but he is a talent and should give Tomita a lot of questions to answer. A full preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
The leading support bout will see hard hitting Japanese Flyweight prospect Masamichi Yabuki (7-2, 7) take on Panamanian based Cuban Daniel Matellon (7-0-2, 4). The Japanese puncher has only gone beyond 2 rounds once in his career, a 4 round decision loss to Junto Nakatani, and he is naturally very heavy handed. On the other hand Matellon is a world ranked fighter with real skills, but he will be the smaller man here. This will put power against speed, and should be a very compelling contest.
Former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (16-3-1, 9) will be returning to the ring following his title loss, in June 2017, as he takes on the always testing Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8). The talented Takenaka was going through a solid run run when he was the OPBF champion, making 3 defenses of the title, before losing via KO to Sa Myung Noh last year. On his return he will be moving up in weight to face Puton. The Filipino visitor doesn't have a great looking record, and has failed to win in his last 3 bouts, but he's tough and has proven to be a very good opponent at this type of regional level. Takenaka should be able to win, but this is a tough return for the man from the Misako gym.
Another really notable under-card bout on this card will see the all action Kenya Yamashita (12-4, 9) take a huge step up in class to face off with former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-11-3, 5) in a Bantamweight bout. The exciting, but flawed, Yamashita has often been in some thrilling contests, but has shown issues with his chin and has lost 3 of his last 7 inside the distance. On the other hand Apolinario has won just twice in the last 30 months, with 5 losses in that same time period.
As well as the big show in Japan there is also a very notable card in Singapore, with two title bouts and several other bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see unbeaten local Muhamad Ridhwan (11-0, 8) take on former world champion Paulus Ambunda (26-2, 11) in a contest for the IBO Super Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Ridhwan, regarded as Singapore's biggest hope, has already noted two wins this year and his team will be seeing this as a logical step up in class. As for Ambunda this is probably his last chance saloon, and at the age of 38 it's hard to see where he would go if he lost here. Saying that however Ambunda has only lost to world class fighters, Tomoki Kameda and Moises Flores, and he could well have one final performance left in him.
Another major bout on this card will see Filipino Bantamweight contender Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19) face off against Ghanaian puncher Manyo Plange (17-0, 15). Coming in to this Dasmarinas has won his last 10, with 8 stoppages, including a big victory over Karim Guerfi last time out. Not much is known about Plange, however this will be his first bout outside of Ghana, and will be a massive step up in class for him.
In another title bout Malaysian fighter Muhammad Meeraj (8-2-1, 4) will take on teenager Natthawut Masamin (7-3, 5). The 28 year old Meeraj has won his last 2 bouts, including a win that saw him become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Heavyweight champion. He will be defeating that title here against his Thai foe. Masamin, the Thai Middleweight champion, has a very misleading record and gave Yuki Nonaka real issues earlier this year. We think Meeraj should have the size to win, but this is no gimme and could be a very tough contest to call.
In a potentially fan friendly contest fans will see Keng Fai Hui (4-0-1, 4) take on Abdelelah Karroum (3-0, 3). Both men have a reputation for being heavy handed and it seems likely that both will come out swinging here. Hui, a 23 year old from Malaysia, was held to a draw last time out, against Alexander David. Karroum on the other hand is a Singaporean based French born fighter who has stopped his first 3 opponents in a combined 4 rounds. Expected explosive action here!
History is set to be made in Taiwan as the country hosts it's most notable show in history, with a couple of title fights in Taipei.
The main event of the card will see teak tough Japanese Super Feather Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) take on Thai foe Paiboon Lorkham (19-10, 8), aka Maxsaisai Sithsaithong, fight for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight. Although his record doesn't show it Watanabe is a very talented fighter who has mixed at a very good level, losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito, Satoshi Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa. Although a talented boxer Watanabe is best known for his insane toughness, which saw him fight through a crimson mask against Lee for almost the entire fight. The Thai is much less well established, despite being 39 years old. His most notable bout to date have been losses to the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Joel Brunker, and they were all several years ago. Lorkham at his best might have been an interesting test for Watanabe, but this version or Lorkham is little more than body for Watanabe to beat in the main event of the show.
The other title fight will see Chinese fighter Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) take on Thai foe Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female Super Flyweight title. The 29 year old Huang lost 3 of her first 6 bouts, including a contest against Ji Hye Woo, though has since gone unbeaten, albeit against dreadful opposition. Aged 20 the Thai is the younger fighter by far, but she has also come up short, losing to Yuko Henzan and Olga Gurova. This is a very limited match up, but does give the fans in Taipei a chance to see a female title bout, as well as the male one.
Over in the US we get the chance to see once beaten Filipino prospect Romero Duno (17-1, 14) look to build on his growing reputation. The 22 year old Filipino fighter will be up against Mexican foe Ezequiel Aviles (16-2-3, 6), who will be fighting outside of Mexico for the first time. It's worth noting that Aviles has only been stopped once in 21 bouts, but that loss was last time out, when Oliver Quintana stopped him in 10 rounds. It's also worth noting that Aviles has also been out of the ring for over a year following that loss
The card will also set to feature the debut of Uzbek prospect Elnur Abduraimov (0-0), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
New York, USA
Staying in the US fans in Brooklyn, New York, will be able to see Uzbek Heavyweight hopeful Bakhodir Jalolov (1-0, 1) continue his career. The highly touted Jalolov, a former amateur standout, will be up against Thomas Hawkins (4-3-0-1, 1) who has lost his last 3 and is without a win in over 4 years. Given how we have seen Uzbek fighters handled we're hoping this will be Jalolov's last bout at this level before he goes up against someone who can test him. He's too good to spend time against fighters like Hawkins.
This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day for Asian fight fans, with shows of note all across the globe.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong fans get a pretty notable, yet small, card as DEF HK continue their relationship with Japanese promotions.
The main event of the card will see 22 year old local Raymond Poon KaiChing (5-1, 3) take on Japanese visitor Ryo Narizuka (8-7-1) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. KaiChing has won his last 3, but has been matched softly and it's hard to see why he's fighting for a title, even one as lightly regarded as this one. The light punching Narizuka is 1-3-1 in his last 5, but has been matched very hard with his last losses coming to Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka, both of whom are currently world champions. This has the potential to be a banana skin for the local fighter.
Despite not being the main event the most notable bout, for us at least, will see Japanese tough guy Takuya Watanabe (33-8-1, 18) face off with Indonesian journeyman Hendrik Barongsay (29-27-3, 18). It's not a great bout, given how good Watanabe is, but it is a chance for Watanabe to return to the ring following his loss to Yongqiang Yang earlier this year. The Indonesian, who has lost his last 4, shouldn't pose any sort of a threat to Watanabe, who who is 3-0 in Hong Kong and looking for bigger and better fights than this.
Arguably the most significant single fight with an Asian this coming Saturday will see female Bantamweight champion Aniya Seki (33-3-2, 5) defending her WIBF title against the heavy handed Csilla Nemedi (8-1, 6). The bout isn't just for Seki's WIBF title but also the GBU and WBC Silver titles and should be a compelling match up between the skills and experience of Seki and the heavy handed power of Nemedi.
We'll be able to see several central Asian fighters in action in Russia.
One of those is 23 year old Kazakh Madiyar Zhanuzak (4-0, 1), who will be up against Filipino foe Alphoe Dagayloan (9-2-5-1, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. The unbeaten Kazakh has impressed us since his July 2017 debut, but this does look like a genuine step up, and the type of bout that should see him having to prove himself. Aged 26 Dagayloan is the reigning PBF Super Flyweight champion and has gone 5-0-1 in his last 6, including a win over Mateo Handig and Jayar Diama.
Another notable one is Russian based Kyrgyzstan born Erzhan Turgumbekov (2-0), who is taking a massive step up in class to take on the experienced Andrei Isayeu (30-12, 9). The unbeaten Turgumbekov has began his career with back to back wins against limited novices, but this bout seems to suggests that he and his team are now comfortable on moving up against veterans. The 38 year old Isayeu is from Belarus and despite picking up losses he is a tough guy to stop, suggesting that he will take Turgumbekov the scheduled 6 rounds here.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see Macau born Lap Cheong Cheong (3-0, 2) look for his 4th straight win. The 21 year old Flyweight hopeful hasn't had his opponent named for the show but it's unlikely he'll be facing someone of any real note.
Turning our attention Stateside there is several notable fighters from Central Asia, with two of those looking to shine in California.
On paper the most exciting of those is the incredibly talented Murodjon Akhmadaliev (2-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2). The very highly regarded Akhmadaliev, from Uzbekistan, shone on his debut in March and again in April with many now tipping him to become one of the faces of Uzbek boxing over the coming years. Argentinian fighter Molina showed his toughness last December, when he went 6 rounds with Michael Conlan and this bout gives Akhmadaliev a chance to earn some comparison to the popular Irishman. A stoppage for Akhmadaliev would be impressive, but wouldn't be a massive surprise.
The other Asian fighter on this card is Kazakh Ashkat Ualikhanov (2-1, 2), who looks to record his third straight win as he battles Darel Harris (1-2-1, 1). On debut Ualikhanov was disqualified in 3 rounds and his career has been horribly stop-start since then, but he does have power and talent and will be looking to make an impression here against Harris, who has failed to win aby of his last 3 bouts.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Staying in the US fight fans will be able to see 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2), as he takes on Kevin Johnson (5-0, 4). The unbeaten Uzbek was dropped in the first round of his professional but since then has looked really promising and appears to be on the right track to success, even if he does look some way from a world title fight. On paper this is a step up for the Uzbek and Johnson, not to be confused with the Heavyweight of the same name, is a solid puncher with an unbeaten record of his own and will be coming into this bout on the back of a career best win over Flavio Rodriguez. The Uzbek should come out on top, but this is an interesting match up on paper.
This coming Tuesday attention turns to China where we'll be getting a relatively low key card.
One of the major bouts on this show swll see the promising Wanchana CP Freshmart (8-0, 4) make his international debut as he travels in Shenzhen and takes on Que Xu (11-2-1, 4), with the Thai making his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title. Wanchana has looked really promising since making his debut in late 2016 and although he's not really kicked on like some would have hope he does still look like a fighter with a lot of potential and a very exciting style. The Chinese local began his career with a loss and then had a draw but reeled off a 9 fight winning run following that start. A loss in late 2016 has slowed his rise but he comes into this with back to back stoppage wins and will be hungry going into this contest. The bout should be really good and see both men being forced to answer real questions, which is always a good thing.
Another really interesting bout on this card will see local Lightweight hopeful Yongqiang Yang (9-0, 7) battle against teak tough Japanese visitor Takuya Watanabe (33-7-1, 18) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight title, which Yang will be defending for the first time. The 25 year old Chinese fighter turned professional around 2 years ago and has compiled a decent record already, but this is a huge step up in class. The 29 year Japanese fighter has fought through out Asia, picking up wins in Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong, but this will be his first fight on the Chinese mainland. Given his success on the road the experience of fighting in China won't be an issue, especially given that his stable mate Sho Kimura scored his career defining win in China last year.
Another interesting bout on this card will see Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (12-0-1, 4) battling against Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-0, 4) in a regional title bout at Bantamweight.
This coming Saturday is set to be a busy, yet thrilling, day with a show of note in each Japan and Hong Kong. Not only do both countries get a card of note, but both cards are genuinely significant as we go forward.
Hong Kong S.A.R, China
The Hong Kong card, put on by DEF HK and Watanabe as they continue to work together, has a trio of title bouts and potentially a fight of the year contender.
That fight of the year contender will see local star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) take on former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14), in a bout for Tso's WBO International Super Flyweight title. The local is one of the sports most exciting fighters, and although he has improved markedly in recent years he is still, at heart, a fighter there for the fans, and a man who enjoys a thrilling tear up at every opportunity. Kono on the other hand is a bit of a faded force, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but has a style that is very fan friendly, and should gel with Tso's here. Do not be surprised by this one being a little bit special.
In a second title bout we'll see Kono's stable mate Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5) battle with Indian teenager Kirti (3-0, 2). Reports have stated that this will either be a female OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight, with Goto defending her title, or a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, for a vacant title. On paper this should be an easy win for the Japanese fighter, but it is fair to say that Kirti is an unknown, and could be a surprise package of sorts.
The third title bout on this card will see the always fun to watch Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) battle against Chinese foe Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8) for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. Watanabe is one of the many under-the-radar Japanese fighters who is guaranteed to put on good fight, no matter who he is facing, and we're expecting another fun one here. As for Li he's a bit of an unknown but is a heavy handed fighter and has won his last 7 bouts, suggesting good form and good confidence coming into this one.
One other bout on this card, which looks set to be explosive, will see Thai based Dutchman Nick Frese (6-0, 5) take on heavy handed Filipino Prabhjot Singh (7-1-1, 7). Given that these two have 12 stoppages in 13 wins we're expecting to see bombs away, though it's hard to see anything but a win for Frese, who looks like a genuine prospect.
In Japan we'll be getting a card that will be aired live on G+ and will be promoted by Teiken.
The main event of this card will see the in-form Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title, in what will be the first title fight either man has been in. The bout, for the title vacated by Kenichi Ogawa, will see Sueyoshi coming in to it with a 12 fight winning run dating back more than 5 years, whilst Takahata has been inconsistent, alternating between wins and losses over his last 15 bouts. It's hard not to favour Sueyoshi but it is his most meaningful bout to date.
In a supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Shuya Masaki (8-0, 4) take on Filipino foe Ciso Morales (19-4-1, 12). It's fair to say that Masaki has shown touches of brilliance through his early career, but he has been inconsistent and it always seems like there is just something missing from his performances so far. We expect to see him show his maturity here against a visiting foe who shouldn't be over-looked and will be a very live under-dog. Morales might not be a sensational fighter, but he's a good enough fight to test someone like Masaki at this level.
In a really interesting under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Ryo Matsubara (7-1, 7) take on the unbeaten Kai Chiba (6-0, 5), in a bout between punchers. Coming in to this one Matsubara has won his last 6 bouts in a combined 7 rounds, and has well and truly put his sole defeat behind him, with that loss coming back in his second professional bout. Chiba on the other hand went 6 rounds last time out, ending his own stoppage run. Both of these men like to throw heavy leather, and this could be a very explosive contest.
Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (11-2, 8) will be risking a 9 fight winning run as he takes on Thai foe Kriengkrai Tor Silachai (3-0*) in what could be a potential banana skin for the local. Although ranked by the JBC it's hard to know how good Nagano really is, whilst the Thai is a bit of an unknown, and it's unclear really whether we even have his complete record here.
A second Japanese ranked Welterweight on this card is Ryota Toyoshima (7-1-1, 5), who risks his ranking against domestic rival Masaharu Kaito (5-2, 2). Coming in to this bout the 21 year old Toyoshima has won his last 5, though he did suffer a decision defeat to Kaito back in 2015, and it's obvious he is seeking to avenge that set back. Sadly for Kaito he has lost 2 of his last 3, including one to the previously mentioned Nagano and seems to be struggling for form coming in to this bout.
*-Record reported as being differed to the 3-0 figuire.
West Midlands, United Kingdom
This coming Saturday is a pretty notable day for Asian fight fans, with the most notable bout coming in the UK as Englishman Khalid Yafai (21-0, 14) defends his WBA Super Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Suguru Muranaka (25-2-1, 8). The unbeaten champion won the title last year, when he outpointed Luis Concepcion, and will be making his first defense here. The champion will be strongly favoured here but Muranaka is unbeaten in over a decade and has beaten notable fighters like Takuya Kogawa, Masayuki Kuroda and Hiroyuki Hisataka. This could be a very exciting bout, despite the general view of it being a mismatch in favour of Yafai.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong we'll see DEF Boxing put on a show, featuring a number of talented fighters from across Asia, including a number of genuinely notable fighters.
The main will see OPBF female Super Bantamweight champion Ayumi Goto (6-0, 4) battle against Thai foe Sumanthar Baenkham (1-2), in what looks set to be a total mismatch. Goto won't be defending her title here but her appeal as a championship level draw has helped her get a major spot on this card, and seemingly help begin a working relationship between DEF boxing and Goto's promoter Watanabe.
Another Watanabe gym fighter on this card will be Mako Matsuyama (8-11-2, 3), who famously had a 2014 FOTY contender with DEF's star Rex Tso. The limited but fun to watch Matsuyama will be up against Filipino foe Crison Omayao (21-13-4, 7). On paper this has the potential to be something very, very fun. Neither guy is great but both are exciting and together they should make for a very fan friendly contest here.
Another notable name on this card is the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (31-7-1, 16), who is a former WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion. The tough Watanabe, best known for his bloody war with Jaesung Lee, will be fighting in Hong Kong for the second time and will be strongly favoured to beat Thai puncher Tabthong Tor Buamas (15-6, 12), in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds. Another bout where a Japanese fighter will be favoured against a Thai will feature the once beaten Sho Kimura (13-1-2, 6), who faces off with Suphakit Khampha (6-3, 3) in another bout scheduled for 8 rounds.
Australian Capital Territory, Australia
In Australia fight fans will see Felipe Ferreira (5-2, 2) take on Australian based Indonesian trial horse Aswin Cabuy (19-60-4, 7) in a bout for the New South Wales State Super Middleweight title. The 42 year old Cabuy is unlikely to pick up the win here but rarely does he just lie down and he could give Ferreira a good test here.
Hong Kong, China
The most notable card this coming weekend comes from Hong Kong of all places.
The headline bout on the card will see three secondary titles being unified as local star Rex Tso (20-0, 12) takes on former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) in a bout that both men will see as a must win. The aggressive Tso will be favoured here, especially given the home advantage, but Mukai has impressed recently and stopped Inthanon Sithchamuang in 2 rounds back in November. The bout will be brawler against boxer and could a very compelling contest.
In an all Filipino support bout we'll see the talented, but currently struggling, Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-7-3, 15) take on countryman Kenny Demecillo (12-3-2, 7) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Demecillo is on a solid 5 fight fight unbeaten run with two wins against Daryl Basadre and another win against Jestoni Autida. That run will fill Demecillo with a lot of confidence but it's fair to see that Gerlado will come into this knowing he needs a win. The experienced man has lost 3 of his last 5 and desperately needs to steady the ship.
In a Philippines Vs Japan bout we see big punching Filipino Rey Megrino (23-20-4, 20) take on Japan's Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-6, 5). Megrino has gone 8-0-1 (7) in his last 9, with notable wins against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Myung Ho Lee and Ernesto Saulong, and will be expecting to continue that rich vein of form here. Kobayashi has struggled in recent fights, going 2-3, but has mixed at a good level with losses to Ye Joon Kim and Takahiro Yamamoto and will be looking to use those experiences against Megrino.
Another bout with a metropolitan feeling will see Japan's teak tough Takuya Watanabe (30-7-1, 16) take on Thai veteran Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (24-18-2, 16). The bout should be a mismatch in favour of Watanabe, though the Japanese fighter will be looking to make a statement following a wide loss to Masayuki Ito at the end of 2017.
There will also be action in Queensland featuring some Asian fighters.
One of those bouts will see local fighter Steve Spark (4-1, 4) take on Chinese fighter Zhen Yang Cai (4-2-1, 2). On paper this looks really well matched, though it should be noted that Cai has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 and has never fought outside of China prior to this contest.
Another bout pitching a local against a Chinese visitor will see the unbeaten Brent Rice (5-0, 2) take on Li Fu Hu (4-2, 2), with Hu taking on his biggest test so far. The Chinese fighter, has proven to be limited and shouldn't pose many questions for Rice, but will be a trier and certainly will come to test the local
It's also worth noting that Hero Tito (22-12-2,8) and Jack Asis (35-19-5, 18) as both set to fight on this card, against different opponents, but neither man has had their foe named as of yet.