This Sunday closes out an incredibly long year for us boxing fans and does so in spectacular fashion with a trio of world title bouts, including a two mandatory title defenses by champions in their first defenses and a world title unification.
The first part of the world title triple header will see IBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0, 6) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year as he takes on talented Nicaraguan challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-2-1-1, 17)). For the fast rising Kyoguchi, who won the title a little more than a year into his career, the bout is another big step up in class and this really does look like a baptism of fire for the youngster, who looked explosive whilst going to 6-0 (6) to begin his career. In Buitrago we'll see Kyoguchi up against a challenger in his 4th world title challenger, and it's likely that it's now or never for the man who was once regarded as the next Roman Gonzalez. The bout matches aggressive against skills and should be a very entertaining clash of styles.
The second part of the triple header is an all Japanese bout, as WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 8) makes his first defense, following his shock upset over Zou Shiming in July. The new champion will be up against mandatory challenger Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12), a former WBC and Linear champion. Kimura really showed his will to win as he broke down the naturally more skilled Shiming and will be hoping to do the same here against the more experienced Igarashi, who will know it;s now or never if he's to become a 2-time world champion. Sadly fans who have followed Igarashi in recent times will be expecting head clashes to mar this bout, but on paper it's a very interesting and incredibly tough first defense for the Aoki gym fighter.
The main event of the triple header is one of the best match ups we've seen this year and pits WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) against his IBF counter part Milan Melindo (37-2, 13) in a mouth watering world title unification bout. Coming in to this Taguchi is the longest active reigning champion at 108lbs, having held his title since the end of 2014 and racked up 6 defenses, but his form has been inconsistent and he's certainly frustrated at times during his reign, whilst seeking a big bout. For the technically superb Melindo this is his second defense, and sees him returning to Japan, where he won his title, with a chance to earn Fighter of the Year honours with an impressive performance. Since winning the title in May Melindo has beaten Hekkie Budler and had a career defining year, with a win here potentially putting a cherry on top. The winner will not only unify the WBA and IBF titles but also claim the Ring magazine title and be regarded by some as the de facto best in the division.
Also on this card will be former world title challenger Shingo Wake (22-5-2, 14), who is looking for his third successive win since being stopped by Jnathan Guman in 2016, and the excellent Masataka Taniguchi (8-2, 6), who's only losses have been razor thin ones in battles for the Japanese and OPBF Minimumweight titles. Both Wake and Taniguchi will be up against limited Thai foe
This coming Saturday sees us turn our attention to G+ for the next live card to be aired on their channel
In the main event of the card we'll see former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-2, 12) battle against upset minded American Miguel Cartagena (15-3, 6), with both men risking world rankings coming into this bout. Igarashi, who has had a stop-start career in recent times, will be looking to kick start his career which really has struggled to have momentum since losing the WBC title almost 4 years ago. Cartagena will be entering this bout 3-3 in his last 6, but does come into the bout on the back of a career best win over Joebert Alvarez, who he stopped inside a round last July.
The best of the supporting bouts will see the hotly tipped Shuya Masaki (6-0, 3) take on Shingo Eto (17-5-1, 9) in a delayed bout, that was originally scheduled for last year though had to be cancelled after Eto was forced to pull out of the bout. Masaki is tipped as one of the most promising fighters at the Teiken gym and is primed for big things, but this is a big step up for him and Eto, who has lost his last 2, will be looking to resurrect his career here. The bout is a key one for both men, and should be a thrilling one to watch.
Another supporting bout will see Yoshinobu Kakinaga (6-2, 2) take on 2016 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year Ryoji Fukunaga (8-2, 8), one of two Super Rookie of the Year's on this card. The 30 year old Fukunaga will be fighting in his first 8 rounder and will be hoping that a win could move him, slowly, towards a Japanese title fight and we suspect that'll be where he and his team are looking for him to be in the next 24 months. As for Kakinaga the 23 year old will potentially see this bout as chance for him to move into the Japanese rankings and we're expecting a really exciting encounter here.
The other Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year on this card is 2015 winner Hayate Kaji (6-0, 5), who will be fighting in a relative stay busy fight against a Thai foe. We're hoping that Kaji will have a big 2017, but given he's a genuine youngster there is no need to rush him, and he's getting great gym time at the Teiken with the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka. Sadly for Kaji fans it does feel like a second successive stay busy fight, a shame for someone with his natural talented and power.
American fans will see exciting Filipino Mercito Gesta (29-1-2, 16) return to the ring as he takes on the big punching Gilberto Gonzalez (26-3, 22) in a tough looking Lightweight bout. The once touted Gesta will be ending an 18 month break from the ring and his stop-start career has been a thoroughly frustrating one that promised so much, but has delivered so little. Gonzalez is beatable, and this is a must win for Gesta, but the Mexican has the power and size to cause Gesta real problems.
In the Netherlands we'll see Azeri Bakhtiyar Isgandarzada (11-10, 4) battle unbeaten Dutch hopeful Steve Suppan (6-0-1, 4). Suppan, the UBO Youth champion at 140lbs, should be far too good for the Azeri. Although a journeyman Isgandarzada has shared the ring with a number of respectable names, including Viorel Simion, and will look to make the most of that experience here.
August was a quiet month, there is no denying that the reason for that was the 2016 Rio Olympics. September however tries to make up for all that with September 10th being probably the most stacked day of the year, with major bouts all over the globe.
London, United Kingdom
Two of the most notable bouts take place in the UK where we see two Asian champions defending their world titles in London.
One of those Asian's is Kazakhstan's unbeaten Middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32), who defends his WBC, IBF, and IBO titles against IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25). The Kazakh, who also holds the WBA title which won't be on the line, is widely favoured to retain his titles here but some view the bout as potentially the toughest test of his career. A win for Golovkin will likely open the doors for other UK bouts whilst an upset for Brook would likely help make him a star over-night.
The other Asian champion defending his title in the UK is IBF Flyweight champion John Riel Casimero (22-3, 14), who looks to secure his first defense as he takes on English novice Charlie Edwards (8-0, 3). This will be Casimero's first defense of the title that he won in China earlier this year, stopping Amnat Ruenroeng, and will also be his European debut. Although fighting in Europe for the first time Casimero is very well travelled and won't be intimidated by the British fans who will certainly be behind Edwards here.
Whilst the bouts in the UK are high profile bouts there is also a big show in California, headlined by a WBC Super Flyweight title bout between two Teiken promoted fighters, Carlos Cuadras and Roman Gonzalez. In a supporting roll fans will get the chance to see a potential FOTY contender as Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23) battles against Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18). These two met in an all out war earlier this year but we're expecting this rematch to be even better than their first fight.
We also get notable title action in Japan where we see a domestic title bout, featuring a world ranked champion, and we also see an under-card bout featuring a former world champion.
That title bout will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (18-1, 15) defending his title, for the second time, against Kento Matsushita (34-9-7, 13) in what looks likely to be the challenger's final bout, if he loses. Ogawa has impressed us in the past but looked rather poor last time out and will likely look to make a statement here however the challenger is a veteran and will hope to use his experience to claim a national title at long last.
The former world champion on this card is Toshiyuki Igarashi (22-2-2, 11) who will be facing off against a limited Thai. The hope for Igarashi is to get a world title fight in the near future but the reality is that he's done little to deserve one in recent years and he's looked relatively poor in recent bouts. Despite that he should still beat the Thai that he's facing.
Arguably the best match bout on this card will see Yuki Nagano (8-2, 6) battle Dai Taoka (8-2, 5) in a real 50-50 type bout. Nagano is top 10 Japanese ranked but this is a real test and the winner will almost certainly find themselves in the mix for a Japanese Welterweight title fight in 2017.
One other bout of note on this card will see Japan's Shohei Kikuzato (11-2, 5) battle against Filipino ranked Renan Portes (8-3, 4) in what should be a very competitive 8 rounder between two men who each looking for a break out win.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
We also get some notable action in the Philippines with two different shows, the most notable of which is in Cotabato del Sur.
The match up here sees once beaten puncher Romero Duno (10-1, 9) face off against Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (16-8, 5) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. Duno is a big puncher with a lot of promise and we expect him to see him stop the Thai, who has gone 2-4 in his last 6 including a stoppage loss to Hisashi Amagasa in an OPBF title fight.
The other notable bout here will see the unbeaten Reymart Gaballo (14-0, 12) battle with Yodpichai Sithsaithong (12-13, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. We can't see this as anything but a mismatch but hopefully it will open doors for Gaballo to face stiffer competition in coming bouts, he really is far too good for this level of opposition.
Tarlac City, Tarlac, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to take place in Tarlac but sadly this is a very poor card. The two main bouts will see Jeffrey Garcia (2-5-3, 2) battle against Menard Zaragosa (6-23-1, 4) and Ryan Bongcawil (7-11-5, 3) face off against Jeson Berwela (4-22, 2) in 8 rounders. Hardly worth getting exciting about on quiet days, never mind a day like this!
We also get action in China where it looks like things are starting to take off on a pretty regular basis now. Interestingly this particular card appears to be a major move by the WBA to make their mark on the Chinese mainland.
The main event of this card will see Xing Xin Yang (11-4-2, 8) battle against Qiang Luo (6-1, 4) in a bout for the WBA China Light Middleweight title. The bout is a well matched one and should provide some decent action, but we suspect it won't go the distance with the two men both being solid punchers.
Another title bout on this card will see the unbeaten Bai Shan Bo (8-0-1, 4) trade blows with He Zhang (2-3, 1) in a bout for the WBA China Light Welterweight title. It's fair to say that Bo should win this and should move into bigger and better fights in the near future.
Another notable bout on this card will see A Fu Bai (7-0, 4) battle against Kazakh novice Viktor Kotochigov (1-0,1) in a 6 rounder. This could be the best bout on the card despite the novice status of the 23 year old Kotochigov.
Staying with all-unbeaten fighters Russian fans will get the chance to see Uzbek fighter Kobiljon Bobojonov (2-0, 1) battle against Sergey Sharapov (5-0, 2) in a 6 rounder.
The most notable Asian show of the day takes place at the Korakuen Hall and sees two former world champions in action, in bouts that look like mismatches. Although mismatches the two men are looking to move back to world level later in the year.
One of those men is former WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22) who faces Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) in what will be Miura's first bout since his loss to Francisco Vargas. The exciting Miura will be looking to make light world of Gadapan before moving back to world level by “Bomber” will have to show that the fight with Vargas hasn't ruined him or ended his primse.
The other former world champion is former WBC Flyweight king Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-2, 11), who faces Joel Taduran (7-2-1, 1). The talented Igarashi will be looking to extend a 5 fight unbeaten run here, though will be hoping to avoid his third technical decision, with headclashes marring many of his decent bouts. For Taduran this looks like a huge step up in class, however the 21 year old will know that a win could see him rewarded with a potential world ranking.
On the under-card there is a really intriguing 154lb match up between Masaya Tamayama (6-1, 3) and Dai Taoka (8-1, 5). We're expecting this will be a very even match up and could well have the on the edge of their seats at the hall.
Western Australia, Australia
In Australia Thai veteran, and former OPBF Featherweight title challenger, Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (16-7, 5) will be up against the once beaten Nathaniel May (13-1, 6). The 37 year old Thai has lost 3 of his last 5, though he has mixed in good company coming up short against Hisashi Amagasa, AJ Banal and Shingo Eto. As for May, he's looking to score a 10th straight win.
Action continues to build in Indonesia with another card in the country, albeit one without too many exciting and promising fighters.
In one of two 12 rounders Tiger Lamandau (1-0) is scheduled to face Jack Langodi Timor (2-10-1), though was stopped recently by Iwan Zoda and probably shouldn't be sanctioned for the bout. Lamandau debuted last year with a win over Suparyanto Doglo, in what was a decent debut, and a win here could well see him prove his promise, though of course he will still have a lot to prove before anyone will list him as “one to watch”.
The other main event will see Hendrik Barongsay (29-24-3, 18) face an unknown opponent. This will be Barongsay's first bout since an 8 round decision loss to Genesis Servania at the end of last year.
In Ifugao Philippines fans will get some low level action. In the supposed main event the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (1-0, 1) will be up against Noel Guliman (6-11-2, 3) in a 6 rounder. The unbeaten man made his debut in March and will be looking to give Guliman his 6th straight defeat.
Sadly the rest of this card appears to just be 4 rounders.
November 24th-Wanheng defends title against Korean banger, Igarashi, Iwasa and Ota in action in Japan
The attention of the boxing world turns to Thailand today where we see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (39-0, 14) defending his title for the 3rd time. The unbeaten Thai, who will have to face a mandatory challenger in 2016, will be up against Korean slugger Young Kil Bae (26-4-1, 21) who looks to claim Korea's first world title in the better part of a decade. Wanheng appears to be a huge favourite given his record, ability and style however Bae certainly comes in to this bout in good form with 17 straight T/KO wins and will be hoping to extend that run in what will be a career defining bout.
On the same day we also get the chance to see the first of two Teiken shows to close the month. This one features a number of notable names, including a former world champion and two former Japanese and OPBF champions.
That world champion is former WBC Flyweight kingpin Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-1, 11) who looks to continue his ascent to a Super Flyweight title shot as he takes on Jonathan Francisco (8-3, 2). The bout is a mismatch in favour of Igarashi though it's clear his team are hoping to get him a title fight in 2016 and want to just keep him ticking over rather than really put him through an actual test.
One of the former OPBF/JBC champions is Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) who faces Marlon Arcilla (8-2, 1) in what will be Iwasa's first bout since his TKO loss, in an IBF interim title bout, to Lee Haskins in the UK. Iwasa was made to look very basic by Haskins and will likely have had his confidence hit by the loss so this is nothing more than a confidence builder for Iwasa who will likely face tougher foes in 2016 as he looks to climb back up the rankings.
The other former OPBF/JBC champion in action is Charlie Ota (24-3-1, 16) who fights for the first time since a close loss to Yuki Nonaka last December. The popular “Charlie” will be facing unbeaten Filipino Stephen Gelawa (6-0-1, 4) in what looks to be an easy win for Ota, who has lost his last two. This is a drop down in “level” for Ota but given his inactivity we don't begrudge him an easy comeback fight.
June 6th-Igarashi and Shimoda return to action in Japan whilst Yordan is in action in Indonesia and Sonsona in the US!
This Saturday is set to be a hectic day for boxing fans with a number of fights taking place around the globe. For Asian fans the attention really should be on Japan and Indonesia with both countries hosting some notable fights.
The most notable card of the day is in Tokyo where fans will get a little bit of everything ranging from former world champions to hopeful contenders, from solid but uninspiring domestic fighters to novices beginning their careers.
The main event of the show will see former Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (20-2-1, 11 battle against once beaten Filipino visitor Renerio Arizala (12-1-1, 5). Arizala was a late replacement for Lionel Mark Duran (13-11-2, 5) and appears to have been a huge upgraded, however the fact he was given the bout at late notice may well come back to cost him in what a genuine intriguing match up.
The co-feature of the show features another former world champion as former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-4-2, 12) takes on former Japanese title challenger Gosuke Seki (16-1-2, 3). Shimoda is best know for suffering two KO-of-the-Year style defeats, to Rico Ramos and Marvin Sonsona, and will be hoping to get back to winning ways after more than a year out of the ring. For Seki this is a great opportunity to score a career defining win however he's certainly not a star in the making.
Another bout that caught our eye on this show is a Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting local Kenichi Ogawa (14-1, 12) and Filipino visitor Raymond Sermona (17-5-5, 8). For Ogawa this is a chance to score a 7th straight stoppage and to move towards a bigger and better fight. As for Sermona it's a potential chance to turn his career around after a run of 2-3-1 in the last 6 bouts. We suspect Ogawa will be far too good for the Filipino.
In Indonesia fans will get the chance to see several interesting bouts involving some of the countries most notable and interesting fighters.
The main event will see former world title challenger Daud Yordan (33-3-0-1, 24) take on Ghanaian southpaw Maxwell Awuku (40-2-1, 26) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific and WBO Africa Lightweight titles. For Yordan this will be his first bout since December, when he stopped Ronald Pontillas, and it's fair to say he's going to be wanting another excellent performance to remind fans how good he is.
In the chief support bout the heavy handed Defry Palulu (11-1, 10) will be up against Thai visitor Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (13-4, 8). This will be Palulu's second bout since being stopped, in 2 rounds, by AJ Banal and although he's less experienced than the Thai he will be favoured, especially considering the fact that Sukkasem has lost his last 2 bouts by stoppage.
The most notable bout involving an Asian fighter in the US will be a contest between former world champion Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15) and the tough but limited Jonathan Arrellano (15-5-2, 3). Sonsona, who last fought a year ago, will be hoping to make an impact here following a dull affair last time out against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Incidentally Arrellano's last bout was also against Vazquez Jr, dropping a close decision, and he is now 1-3 in his last 4 bouts.
New York, USA
Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Zhilei (3-0, 2) continues his development as he takes on Glenn Thomas (1-3) in a scheduled 4 rounder. Zhilei, a former Olympic medalist is 32 and it seems like he's really needing a step up sooner rather than later and hopefully a 6 round bout will come before the end of the year.
In Virginia fans will see the second pro bout of Uzbek fighter Zarifbek Nishanbaev (1-0, 1). Nishanbaev made his debut earlier this year with a 27 second blow out of Mike Blocker and will be hoping for something similar here. Unfortunately the “opponent” wasn't named at the time of writing.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa fans get the chance to see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Roman Zhailauov (14-0, 8) facing off against the relatively fragile Luyanda Jako (9-9-2, 4), who has been stopped in all 9 losses and has won just 1 of his last 6 bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Whilst the action has been warming up through out February it really begins to catch fire on February 7th with a couple of notable cards, one in the Philippines and one in Japan.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
The stronger of the two notable cards comes from the Philippines as ALA put on the next in their headline series of “Pinoy Pride” shows. The card may not feature a world title bout but it does feature a number of men who are world ranked.
One of those world ranked fighters in action is the unbeaten and highly touted Genesis Servania (25-0, 11) who will be hoping to keep his world title dreams alive as he battles against 32 year old Mexican fighter Juan Luis Hernandez (17-3-1, 9). It's hard to see what Hernandez has to challenger Servania here but the Filipino will no that no slip ups are allowed when he's this close to a world title shot.
Another fighter who is highly ranked and features on this card is 140lber Jason Pagara (34-2, 21). Pagara will bring a 7 fight winning streak to the ring as he battles against the fragile Cesar Chavez (24-7, 12) who has been stopped in all 7 of his losses. Pagara is risking a very high ranking though the risk is slim against the very limited Chavez who has been stopped in the first 4 rounds in all of his losses.
Possibly the best looking of the 3 main bouts is a Super Flyweight bout which will see the highly regarded “King” Arthur Villanueva (26-0, 14) battle against free swinging former world champion Julio Cesar Miranda (38-11-2, 29). Villanueva has failed to impress in has last few bouts though there is the possibility that he was unmotivated for them. If he performs equally bad here there is every chance he could be stopped by the exciting Miranda. The winner of this bout will take a huge step towards a world title bout and possibly even a clash with WBO champion Naoya Inoue later in the year.
In the chief support bout from the undercard fans will get the chance to see the fast rising prospect Mark Magsayo (9-0, 7) take on Thai fighter Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (13-3, 8). Magsayo ran up an impressive 5 wins last year but this is a very clear step up in class for the man known as “Magnifico”. As for Sukkasem he comes into this bout following an 8th round stoppage loss to Ik Yang last August.
Like the Filipino fans, the Japanese fans don't get any world title action here but the show it's self features a former world champion and several interesting domestic level match ups.
The main event here is easily the best bout on the show as former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (19-2-1, 11) battles against tough Mexican Efrain Perez (17-5, 12). Perez may be familiar to fans for his bout in Macau with Mark Anthony Geraldo and we suspect he has the ability to give Igarashi a very hard 10 rounds here.
Although the support bouts aren't there are very interesting bouts. The most notable of those will see former 2-time OPBF Light Middleweight title challenger Takehiro Shimokawara (19-9-3, 6) battling against Yuto Shimizu (8-2-2, 2). For Shimizu this is a great opportunity to move towards a title fight whilst Shimokawara will feel he needs a win to remain relevant.
A really interesting, and potentially explosive, encounter at Super Featherweight will see Kenichi Ogawa (13-1, 11) battle against Kazuya Nakano (8-3, 7). This domestic level contest will almost certainly not go the distance but should be captivating from the first bell. On paper Ogawa looks the favourite however Nakano has mixed with better company and his losses have come to good fighters in the form of Hiroki Okada, Kenta Takahashi and Masayuki Ito.
Another good looking competitive match up will see the heavy handed Heisuke Ono (5-2-2, 5) battle against the light punching Tatsuya Mukai (5-3-2, 1) in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
After the great action this past Friday we get a continuation of notable fighters in action on Saturday giving Japanese fans a real cause of double pleasure.
In Japan we get the only notable "Eastern" show of the day as the Korakuen Hall plays host to "Dynamic Glove 529". The show, a 7 fight card, isn't a major one in terms of match ups but it is big enough to warrant some real attention due to three of the fighters on the card.
The first of those fighters is the heavy handed Masaru Sueyoshi (6-1, 5) who will be fighting former Japanese title challenger Yuta Nagai (28-9-4, 19). The 23 year old Sueyoshi hasn't fought in well over a year but is talented and his sole loss has come, via split decision, to the excellent Masayuki Ito. A win here for Sueyoshi would thrust him towards a possible Japanese ranking. As for Nagai he is a veteran who is looking to earn himself another title fight. This is a really interesting fight though it will be over-shadowed by the other two bouts.
The second of the interesting bouts will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (17-1, 10) fighting in a non-title fight against Indonesia's Rommy Wassar (10-16-7, 5). The bout looks to be a mismatch, especially when you consider that Wassar has lost 4 of his last 6 though IWasa didn't look great last time out. We're hoping that if Iwasa sees off Wassar quickly he may return before the end of the year to defend his title against a more testing foe or face a world champion.
In the main event we will see the return to action of former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (18-2-1, 11). Igarashi has been out of the ring for almost a year due to injuries to his arm though will hoping for a successful return to the ring as he battles Filipino Renren Tesorio (13-4-3, 4). On paper this is another mismatch but we will have serious questions about how Igarashi looks considering his long lay off.
In the US we're expecting to see Russian Olympic champion Egor Mekhontsev (4-0, 4) return to the ring to battle against the heavy handed Samuel Miller (28-8, 25) in what looks to be a great test for the unbeaten Russian prospect that many feel is one of the brightest prospects in the Light Heavyweight division.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)