Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
This coming Saturday attention turns to New Jersey for an interesting card from PBC. The show isn't a massive one, but it does feature two very notable bouts with Asian fighters involved, one a world title fight and one a major crossroads fight for two men who can't afford another loss to begin this year.
The world title fight sees WBC Featherweight champion Gary Allen Russell Jr (31-1, 18) end 2 years of inactivity as he takes on his latest mandatory challenger, Filipino fighter Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16). Russell Jr is one of the most talented fighters in the sport, and there is no denying his ability, but there is major question marks as to how the WBC haven't yet stripped him, and a massive question mark about his hunger for the sport. Hunger that doesn't appear to be there, and that's a shame as his career could have been something very special. As for Magsayo this is a huge opportunity for a Filipino fighter who was tipped for huge things right from the off, but has struggled in recent bouts and whilst this is the right time to fight Russell, we do feel Magsayo could have done with a few more tough fights. Especially given how bad he looked against Rigoberto Hermosillo. This is a massive opportunity for Magsayo but also a major ask for him. Our preview of this bout can be read here Unbeaten Magsayo gets shot at WBC king Russell Jr
In an excellent supporting match up former Russell foe Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2, 9) takes on Vic Pasillas (16-1, 9), in what could be a show stealer. The talented Nyambayar lost to Russell Jr in 2020 and lost last time out, when he moved up in weight and was out pointed by Chris Colbert. He now needs a win to remain relevant after those two losses. Thankfully for him this bout is at his natural Featherweight and he is very dangerous at 126lbs. Pasillas, who is great fun to watch, has been out of the ring for almost a year, and was last seen losing in a brilliant action bout with Ra'eese Aleem, for the interim WBA Super Bantamweight. Notably it is Pasillas moving up in weight for this bout, and that should help Nyambayar out. Regardless, expect fireworks with this one.
Halyk arena sport complex, Aktau, Kazakhstan
As well as the US action there is also a show in Kazakhstan.
In the main event of the card unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight hopeful Meiirim Nursultanov (15-0, 8) will be up against Russian fighter Andrey Sirotkin (19-1-1, 7), with the men battling for the WBO International Middleweight title. Coming in to this Nursultanov will be looking to show what he can do, and to prove himself after really treading water in recent years. He has long shown potential, but that potentially really hasn't been delivered on, yet, but a win over Sirotkin would help him move towards a world title fight. As for Sirotkin, he will be looking to bounce back from a draw last time out with Danny Dignum, but he will know he's the away fighter and the crowd will be backing Nursultanov.
Also on this card will be Bekzad Nurdauletov (3-0, 1) and Bekman Soylybayev (12-1, 4), who are both looking to kick off 2022 and move their careers forward. Although neither are major names Nurdauletov is certainly a prospect to keep an eye on and someone we tend to think has the potential to go all the way, though him reaching those hieghts is, admittedly, still some years away from happening.
Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, USA
The biggest bout involving an Asian fight this coming Saturday is a bit of an unexpected one as Mongolian fighter Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1, 9) took a short notice chance to face unbeaten American Chris Colbert (15-0, 6), for Colbert's WBA interim Super Featherweight title. Originally Colbert had been set to face Yuriorkis Gamboa, but Gamboa had to pull out due to injury with Nyambayar replacing him. The Mongolian will be moving up in weight for this bout, but he will likely be aware that he's also being over-looked, and has nothing to lose here. He'll be hungry to claim a "world title", even a WBA interim belt, and it would open big doors for him. Colbert on the other hand looks like one of the future stars of American boxing, and a good performance by him could open the doors to some potentially huge fights at 130lbs down the line.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the great fight in California, it's also a busy day through Asia this Saturday, with the most meaningful single bout coming from Korakuen Hall, in the main event of a Dynamic Glove show.
That main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14) take on former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (25-8-3, 12) in a bout at Lightweight. Coming in to this both men will feel they need to win. Ito was beaten last December, losing a close decision to Hironori Mishiro, and has lost 2 of his last 3, including a loss to Jamel Herring in 2019. He really needs a big win to get his career back on track. The 40 year old Hosokawa on the other hand was last seen losing to triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino and he will be hoping that a win over Ito will secure him one more shot at a title. This should be a great mix of skills, excitement, and under-rated power from both men. It just really is a shame the rest of the card is rather weak on paper.
IPI Tingub Gym, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan we have more action across Asia with shows in the Philippines and Korea. Of those shows it's the Filipino show which is the much more interesting and features a number of very notable fighters.
The main event here will see the once beaten Pete Apolinar (14-1, 8) battle against the regularly entertaining Jess Rhey Waminal (14-3-1, 8) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Featherweight title. Coming in to this both men are 26, but that's almost where the similarities end. Apolinar has been busy over the last 12 months, with 3 fights since October 2020, and has put his sole loss well behind him, winning his last 9. Waminal on the other hand hasn't fought since November 2019 and has lost 2 of his last 5. Regardless Waminal is a live opponent and will be here looking for the win.
In a truly fantastic match up we'll see Mark Vicelles (13-0-1, 7) take on Jerven Mama (12-0-1, 7) in a fantastic bout between unbeaten fighters. This is almost as good as it gets for All-Filipino bouts. The 25 year old Vicelles is world ranked and is looking to build on two wins in the last 12 months, but the southpaw is certainly not going to have things all his own way here. Aged 24 Mama is the slightly younger man and the slightly taller man, but will need to rely on more than those two small advantages. We genuinely wouldn't be surprised if this stole the show here.
In a likely mismatch we'll see the fringe world class Christian Araneta (19-2, 15) take on veteran puncher Richard Claveras (19-7-2, 16). On paper this isn't an awful match up, but it's hard to imagine Araneta losing. In fact it seems to be a clever bit of match making to get Araneta a win after his controversial decision loss to Sivenathi Nontshinga back in April. Claveras has the power and aggression to make this interesting, if he lands, but that's a big if.
On paper we're also set to get a mismatch between Tomjune Mangubat (13-2-1, 11) and Ernie Sanchez (19-15-1, 10), however this might be a lot tougher than it looks on paper. Sanchez, at his best, is a very upset minded fighter, with under-rated power, very high level experience, and the ability to take out opponents if they make a mistake. Mangubat should be favoured, but he'll need to make sure not to take liberties with Sanchez, or he could be made to pay.
Urdaneta Cultural Sports Complex, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Philippines
A second Filipino card will be coming from Urdaneta City, and this is a much less interesting event than the one in Cebu.
The star of the card here is the unbeaten Charly Suarez (6-0, 5), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Eduardo Mancito (18-11-2, 9). Suarez is one of the best natural talented in the Philippines, but the 32 year old now needs to step up, massively, and sadly for him it seems unlikely he'll be able to get the competition he needs to have a genuinely meaningful somewhere down the line. Mancito is a good, solid stalwart of Filipino boxing, but should be very clearly out of his depth here.
Another noteworthy name on this card is the upset minded, and heavy handed, Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10), who looks set to shake some ring rust as he takes on the very limited Landy Cris Leon (13-22-5, 6). Sadly for Ramonal, who had such much momentum at the end of 2019, his career hit a brick wall due to the Covid19 pandemic and he's not fought since scoring a brutal KO win over Yusaku Kuga at the very end of 2019. He should pick up an easy win here, though we suspect he might want to get a few rounds before taking Leon out.
DND Boxing Gymnasium, Hwaseong, South Korea
On a KBM show in Hwaseong we'll see an international title fight as Min Ho Jung (10-3-2, 1) clashes with Hwang Kook Je (6-2-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Coming in to this the 27 year old Jung will be the favourite, given his better record and the fact he's the slightly bigger man, but he's lost 2 of his last 3 and is really struggling for form coming in to this one. Je on the other hand has stopped two of his last 3 and was more active in 2020. Although this isn't for a major title the bout is still a pretty interesting one and should provide great entertaining for fans at the DND Boxing Gymnasium
Songwon University, Nam-Gu, Gwangju, South Korea
The card in Hwaseong isn't the only one in Korea this Saturday as we'll also be getting action from Gwangju, thanks to KBA who show case one of the most exciting talents in Korea in what appears to be a mismatch.
The exciting local headlining the event is the unbeaten Jong Seon Kang (12-0-2, 6), who will be facing John Ray Logatiman (6-9-2, 2), who is a late replacement on this show. Originally Kang was supposed to defend his WBO Oriental Featherweight title but his original opponent was injured and has had to be replaced.
As well as the chance to see Kang we'll also see Jung Woo Kim (4-3-1, 2) defending his KBA Welterweight title in the co-feature bout.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
There's not much Asian action this coming Saturday but we do have an appearance from one of the few notable Mongolian fighters currently in the pro-ranks.
The bout in question will see once beaten Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1, 9) battle against unbeaten 28 year old Cobia Breedy (15-0, 5) in a WBC world title eliminator!
For Nyamabayar the bout is his first since losing to WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr earlier this year and he'll be looking to make a statement following that loss. On the other hand Breedy is an aggressive and exciting fighter who will be looking to make the most of a big opportunity here. The styles of the bout should gel to give us a real tear up, with Nyambayar's power and strength going up against Breedy's work rate and inside work. Although not a huge match up, it should be very exciting.
It's worth noting that originally the plan had been for Nyamabayar to face Mexican Eduardo Ramirez (23-2-3, 10) in a world title eliminator, though Ramirez was removed and replaced by Breedy about a month before the contest.
As well as the action in the US there is also some lower profile action in Barnaul that is worthy of some attention.
One bout worthy of note is a 10 round Super Flyweight bout with Turat Osmonov (3-0, 3) taking on Artem Tkachenko (5-0, 3). The 26 year old Osmonov is a baby faced fighter from Kyrgyzstan who debuted last October, and has picked up 3 quick wins against very low level competition. On the other hand Tkachenko has been a professional for 2 years and this is the first time he will be facing a fighter with a winning record. Whilst this is a low level fight it will be a chance to see what the two men can do against someone who is looking to pick up a win.
Another fighter from Kyrgyzstan in action on this card will be Sardar Atakishiev (6-0, 4), though sadly his opponent hasn't yet been announced. The 27 year old has faced very limited competition since his 2019 debut and hopefully he will face a genuine test sooner rather than later.
This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian boxing, but is an interesting one with a huge fight and several other bouts of note, as get a day to look forward to.
The most significant bout of the day takes place in the US as WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (30-1, 18) defends his belt against unbeaten Mongolian challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9). Russell, who's reign has been among the worst in boxing, will be making his 5th defense of the title that he won way back in March 2015. Although a talented fighter he has completely wasted his prime years with a once a year schedule. Nyambayar on the other hand started his professional career with high activity, but has been a lot less active in recent years, following issues with his hands. The Mongolian, if he wins, will become only the second ever Mongolian world champion, but this is certainly not a gimme for a man looking to put his name in the history books. Although both have been inactive this is still a very interest match up and one we are really looking forward to. Our preview of this bout can be read here King Tug gets world title fight at last! But can he win?
San Jose, Costa Rica
Limited Filipino Carleans Rivas (8-6-4) will be getting a shot at the IBF female Minimumweight title, as she travels to Costa Rica to take on local star Yokasta Valle (19-2, 8). This looks like a really tough bout for Rivas who has struggled when she's stepped up in the past, and we expect her to struggle again here. Valle might not be a big name, but her title win last August against Joana Pastrana was impressive and we expect her to be far too much for Rivas here. This bout has been previewed here Rivas faces Valle in IBF title fight, but does she really have a chance?
La Union, Philippines
The most noteworthy or two Filipino cards will take place in La Union.
The main event here will see unbeaten American Rafael Marzan (12-0, 9) take on Jestoni Autida (12-11, 6). In reality this should be a straight forward win for the talented Marzan, who is fighting in a 4th different country in as many fights. The American has recently fought at home, in the US, as well as Mexico and Germany, and it's kinda cool to see a fighter getting experience around the globe. On the other hand Autida has lost 4 of his last 5, and we would be shocked to see him really testing Marzan.
In a support bout we are expecting to see OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) fighting in a tune up bout against Sulis Barrera (4-7). There is some doubt about this contest taking place, given Dante is booked for a title defense in March, but in reality he should steam roll Barrera, who has won 2 of his last 9 bouts.
In a bout that could be rather entertaining the heavy handed, but limited Alvin Lagumbay (11-5-1, 10) will be up against Bryan Macamay (10-10-3, 6). Lagumbay, best known for his 2018 upset win against Keita Obara, is 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts, but should have far too much for the very limited Macamay.
Also on this card will be debuting Uzbek hopeful Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov (0-0), who kicks off his career with a bout against Benjie Ebido (0-2). The very talented Sharakhmatov, who has competed in the WSB and was a very good amateur, is expected to be fighting out of the UK in the future, having signed with Frank Warren, and has the talented and amateur experience to be moved quickly. This should be a very easy win for the 23 year old who is expected to go very, very far in his career.
A second Filipino show is pencilled in to take place in Cebu.
One of the bouts worthy of note here will see the unbeaten Bryan James Wild (4-0, 3) take on Margarito Moya (9-10, 3) in a 6 round contest. The 18 year old Wild made his debut in late 2018 and has looked promising but untested, and this will be a notable step up in class for him ahead of bigger and better fights in the coming years.
Another bout of note on this show will see former amateur standout Criztian Pitt Laurente (4-0, 3) face off with the experienced Romnick Magos (12-11, 7). Pitt is regarded as a top Filipino prospect and this should a straight forward win for him, but as with Wild it is a clear step up in competition from the opposition he has been facing previously.
In Texas this coming Saturday we'll get a number of Asian fighters fighting on a major Golden Boy card, two of whom will be challenging for major titles
The main event of the card will see unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26) defending his WBO Light Middleweight title against Japanese challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7). The champion really burst onto the scene last year, not only winning the title but also fitting in 2 defenses of the belt in a real break out year. Surprisingly Munguia was an unknown when was denied the chance to fight Gennady Golovkin, but ended the year one with incredible momentum. A real break out star of the year. Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, had a brilliant 2017, scoring 4 wins and unifying the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, but had a frustrating 2018 fighting only once. The expectation is that Inoue will be brushed aside by the excellent Mexican, but he will have travelled to score the upset and seems to be fully aware of how big this opportunity is. Our preview of this contest can be read here Inoue looks to upset WBO champion Munguia!
Thhe other bout will see Puerto Rican puncher Jesus M Rojas (26-2-2-1, 19) take on Chinese challenger Can Xu (15-2, 2), with Rojas looking to defend his WBA "Regular" Featherweight title. Rojas lost last time out to Joseph Diaz, but Diaz failed to make weight resulting in Rojas keeping the, and he'll be looking to make a real statement this coming year. Xu will be looking to become the first Chinese man above 112lbs to win any form of a world title but is up against it here. Rojas is the more experienced man, the hard hitting and the more proven fight, but Xu will certainly be there to win and to put himself at the top of the world scene. This is an interesting match and for many their first real chance to see Xu fighting live. Our preview of this bout can be found here Can Xu become the WBA "regular" Featherweight champion?
New York, USA
Staying in the US, though travelling over to New York, we get a real 50-50 match up, as unbeaten Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (10-0, 9) take on the explosive Dominican Claudio Marrero (23-2, 17) in a bout for the lightly regarded IBO Featherweight title. It's hard to see this bout going the distance, with both being serious punchers and both having been down in recent bouts. For Nyambayar this bout is a big step up in class, and his first against a Featherweight puncher in his prime. On the other hand Marrero has fought just 33 seconds since being stopped by Jesus M Rojas back in September 2017. It's hard to see this as anything but a thrilling contest. Our preview of this fight can be read here Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Claudio Marrero clash!
In Canadian we'll see top Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (6-0, 6) look to enhance his reputation after a brilliant 2018. He'll be up against Mexican foe Abraham Juarez (13-1, 5) in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Middleweight title. The unbeaten 20 year old Kazakh really impressed us in 2018 and we are expecting him to shine again this year. On paper Juarez is a good step up in class, and he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts, but he is seen as the clear under-dog against the sensational Kazakh.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico fans will get the chance to see Kazakh fighter Aida Satybaldinova (4-1-1, 1) begin her 2019 campaign. "Lady Sparta" made he debut in March 2018 and was bust last year, but lost against her only opponent with a winning record and we suspect she's going to be matched softly here, though her opponent hasn't currently been announced.
The more interesting of two Filipino cards will take place in Cavite, in what is being sold a very clear double header.
One of the main bouts will see Alphoe Dagayloan (11-2-5, 5) battle against Danrick Sumabong (7-1, 6) for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, who showed his power last year with stoppage wins against Madiyar Zhanuzak and Rongguo Wu. Sumabong on the other hand is a 19 year old who hasn't had much attention, but is heavy-handed fighter who managed to give the very highly regarded Jade Bornea real problems last year. This is certainly worth getting excited about.
The other bout of note will see ArAr Andales (8-0, 1) battle Charlie Malupangue (7-3-3, 6) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The 19 year old Andales is stepping up massively here, but he has shown plenty of promise and has won the LuzProBA title already in his short career. Mulapangue was stopped in his most notable bout, by Robert Paradero, but this is a credible fighter on the domestic scene, as he'll be looking to prove here. It's worth mentioning that neither of these really should be fighting for a WBA Asia title, but it's still an interesting fight all the same.
Paranque City, Philippines
As well as the Cavite show there will also be one at Paranque City. This show will be headlined by an WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title clash between Al Toyogon (9-2-1, 6), the defending champion, and Ryusei Ishii (7-4-1, 4). On paper this is a well matched bout and should be pretty competitive.
The show will also feature a WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title bout, with Ricardo Sueno (8-2-4, 3) and Diomel Diocos (13-2-3, 4) fighting for the vacant title. On paper this is another well matched contest and should provide some excellent action for the fans, who appear to be getting treated well in the Philippines this year with strong low level domestic clashes!
After a huge Friday for Japanese fight fans we get an interesting card on Saturday with interest for fans across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day is a huge one for Filipino fight fans, as IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defends his title against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 0). This all-Filipino bout will the first all-Filipino world title bout in over 90 years and will see the winner really get a chance to become a big name back home, as well as solidifying themselves as one of the top Super Flyweights on the planet. Unfortunately it would seem likely that both are likely to miss out on the HBO “Superfly” series of shows, but if the winner can unify with WBA champion Kal Yafai that may not be too much of a problem in the short term.
For Mongolian fans attention should be shifted to Mississippi as unbeaten prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (9-0, 8) takes a huge step up to face off with former interim world champion Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17). The Mongolian hopeful was taken the distance for the first time in his last bout, and was dropped in that bout by Harmonito Dela Torre, but has looked capable of going all the way and this upcoming bout should be the sort of bout he needs to get himself in to the title mix. Escandon is just 15 months removed from an excellent KO win over Robinson Castellanos, but has lost his only bout since then, being stopped by Gary Russel Jr, and should really be 1-3 in his last 4, dating back over 3 years. This is a decent step up, but one that Nyambayar should manage without too many issues.
In Canada fans will be able to see hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0-0-2, 10) battle against Argentinian Jonathan Jose Eniz (20-9-1-1, 7) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight title. The talented Kazakh does look like a very promising fighter but does need a genuine test after having had his way in many of his bouts so far. Given that Enil has been stopped only once, way back in 2015 by German Argentino Benitez, we're expecting him to be a real test for the Kazakh who may well need to show his skills as well as his power.
As for Japanese fans they can look a little bit closer to home thanks to a low key card in Osaka. The card is a pretty weak one but is headlined by former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (35-15-1, 9), who takes on a Thai we believe will be Mongkol Kamsommat (6-3, 5). This should be an easy win for Horikawa who fights in bis 52nd professional bout, which would see him become the outright number one for the most fights of any currently active Japanese fighter.
This coming Saturday is a genuine brilliant day for fight fans who follow the Asia fight scene, with a couple of world title bouts, along side a number of other interesting contests.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The biggest fight of the weekend for Asian fight fans takes places in Belfast and will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18) make his third defense of the title, as he takes on unbeaten challenger Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). In some ways Ancajas is the forgotten man at 115lbs, a talented and beautiful to watch pure boxer, but a man who lacks the star power of Naoya Inoue, the hype of Kal Yafai and the power of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Although over-looked by many he's going to be looking to make a mark here. As for Conlan he's a man who really can't help but be involved in thrilling contests, no matter who he's against. The bout will be a massive step up for the unbeaten man, but he's almost certain to put on a show, win or lose.
Incheon, South Korea
Another world title fight takes place in Korea and will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) seek her next defense, as she faces off with Mexican challenger Jessica Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1). Choi is Korea's only world champion,and is one of the few beacons of success for Korean boxing, but has lacked suitable competition in recent fights and hasn't really been able to show her skills. Gonzalez is a decent enough foe, but falls much into the same categories as Choi's other recent foes, in being limited and lacking the skills, and likely desire, to let the champion shine.
In a minor title bout we'll see Korean local Hye Soo Park (4-7-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Hei Tao Zhang (2-0, 1) for the WBF Intercontinental Light Flyweight. The match up is an interesting one, though nothing too remarkable, with the most interesting thing being the step up for the unbeaten 19 year old Chinese hopeful.
Although there are a couple of world title fights featuring Asian fighters we dare suggest that the most interesting bout to feature an Asian is actually a non-title fight, between two unbeaten Asian fighters. The fight in question will see the very highly regarded Mongolian talent Tugstsogt Nyambayar (8-0, 8) taking on Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-0, 12). The winner of this will push themselves well on the way to a world title fight, in the often over-looked Super Bantamweight division, whilst the winner will have to rebuild their careers.
Da Lian, China
In China we get a small card, with a main event that promises explosive action.
That main event is a WBO Youth Super Middleweight title bout, between China's Wuzhati Nuerlang (8-1, 8) and Ghana's Iddrisa Amadu (9-1, 9). With 17 stoppage wins in a combined 19 fights we're expecting this to be a lot of fun, very exciting and very hard hitting.
Another bout of some note on this show will see the unbeaten Xiaolu Mu (8-0-1, 3) take on the once beaten Shidong Cai (5-1-1, 2). This should be an interesting contest even if it does lack any sort of international appeal.
New South Wales, Australia
Interestingly on we'll see the debuting Natalie Jenkinsen (0-0) take on Thai Siriwan Thongmanit (6-10-1), who is a former world title challenger and has twice been stopped by the aforementioned Hyun Mi Choi.
This key show this weekend for Asian fight fans comes from the Korakuen Hall where we get two title bouts.
In the main event we'll see Japanese youngster Ken Shiro (8-0, 4) make his first defense of the OPBF Light Flyweight title as he takes on Filipino foe Lester Abutan (11-5-3, 5), and attempts to take another step towards a world title fight. The Japanese youngster, who has claimed the WBC Youth, Japanese and WBC Youth titles already in his career, will know that a loss will be a major set back in his climb towards a shot at a world title, but that a win will put further pressure on the divisional champions to face him. For Abutan the bout will be his Japanese debut, though he has performed well in his two bouts away from the Philippines and could be a genuine banana skin for Ken Shiro, if he's on form here.
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (25-7, 13) face first time challenger Satoshi Ozawa (13-6-1, 2). On paper this is a big step up for Ozawa however the 29 year old challenger is on a 4 fight winning streak, including 2 solid wins over Yoshihikp Matsuo, and has been making a mark at Super Bantamweight over the last 18 month or so. For Masuda the bout will be his second defense of his second reign and could open the doors to a potential rematch with Tatsuya Takahashi next year, if he wins here and Takahashi wins in January, which we would love to see!
A really fan friendly bout will see the once beaten Katsunori Nagamine (12-1, 8) face off with the limited but gutsy Mako Matsuyama (8-10-2, 3). Nagamine was in one of the most intensely fun fights of the year, his win over Kenya Yamashita back in February. Whilst Nagamine is certainly a fun and aggressive fighter it's fair to say that Matsuyama's 2014 bout with Rex Tso, an insane war in Macau, was a better bout and with these two getting it on we're expecting to see something very special.
Another under-card bout will see Jin Miura (8-1, 1) battle against Naoaki Kumagai (7-5, 4). The light hitting Miura does look like the favourite here but has struggled in a number of his wins and could well be given a really good test here by Kumagai, who is a very under-rated fighter. Although he has lost his last 3 Kumagai has mixed in good company and could be a banana skin for Miura.
As part of the under-card we'll also see the debut of Ryo Sagawa (0-0), who takes on Korean foe Ho Ya Kim (4-4, 2). Sagawa was a former amateur standout and is tipped for big things, kicking off his career in a 6 rounder here. Kim will be fighting in Japan for the second time, following a loss to Ryuya Kaji earlier this year, and may come into this with the belief of scoring a win on Japanese soil, though will have to put in a career best performance against Sagawa to even be competitive.
In California we'll see fast rising Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar (6-0, 6) take on veteran fighter German Meraz (55-39-1, 32) in what looks like a step up for Nyambayar. Merez, a real veteran with more than 90 fights under his belt, is a proven tough guy who has only lost by stoppage 7 times in his long career. Nyambayar has never been extended beyond 4 rounds and this is, potentially, set to be his toughest and longest bout to date. If the Mongolian can blow away Meraz in quick fashion it could time to put him in with the divisional wolves, rather than continue to slowly develop the Mongolian monster.
In Japan this Friday marks a major day for Dangan who kick off their recently announced BoxingRaise website with the first live show on the subscription service. Although it's not a major show it is a show headlined by a Japanese title fight and featuring a couple of notable under-card bouts.
The aforementioned title bout will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (26-4, 13) defending his belt against 37 year old challenger Masafumi Otake (15-14-3, 7), who gets his first title bout after having been a profession for almost 15 years. The bout looks like a mismatch, and it likely to be a relatively straight forward win for Kogawa, however Kogawa is rarely in a dull fight and we're not expecting anything but a fight contest here, with both men well aware of the bouts relative importance.
In the most interesting of the under-card bouts fans will see the talented but light punching Jo Tanooka (13-3-3) go up against the limited but heavy handed Shogo Sumitomo (6-8-1, 5). In terms of pure skills Tanooka in a different league to Sumitomo however Sumitomo has the clear edge in power and will be looking to land one of his bombs on the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up.
In another supporting bout Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryuto Araya (9-4-1,2) will be facing off against Naoaki Kumagai (7-4, 4) in what looks like a rather even match up. Coming in to this both men have suffered 2 losses in their last 4 bouts, both will believe they can win here and both will genuinely go for it in what could be the most competitive bout on the card.
The action in Japan isn't the only action involving Asian fighters with two in action in the US.
The more notable of those US bouts sees Mongolian sensation Tugstsogt Nyambayar (5-0, 5) facing off against veteran Rafael Vazquez (16-2, 13). On paper this is a genuine step up in class for Nyambayar but should be another win for the former Mongolian amateur star, who is in his first scheduled 10 rounder. Although Vazquez has been beaten twice he has never been stopped and we suspect that will be the goal for “King Tug”.
On the same card fans will see Russian based Kazakh born destroyer Sergey Lipinets (9-0, 7) take on the teak tough Walter Castillo (26-3-1, 19), who we saw last year fight to a very controversial draw with Keita Obara. The bout should be a great test for Lipinets, who got given a real test last time out against Levan Ghamichava, and if he can stop Castillo it would put the division on alert of his potential and power.
In Africa we'll see Filipino Carlo Magali (20-7-3, 10) take on WBA International Lightweight champion Emmanuel Tagoe (25-1, 12). For Tagoe this will be his second defense of the title, that he incidentally won last year when he beat Joebert De los Reyes. The bout will be a seriously tough ask for Magali however the Filipino is known for scoring upsets and has scored back to back wins over David Browne Jr and Mark Gil Melligen in the last year, he also has upset wins over Mark John Yap and Ryuta Miyagi.
The only Asian's in action today are in California where we have two notable bouts.
One of those bouts sees unbeaten Kazakh born Russian prospect Sergey Lipinets (8-0, 6) battle once touted Georgian Levan Ghvamichava (16-1-1, 12) in what looks like a really good test for Lipinets. The unbeaten man is on the fast track to the top but this is a really match up with Ghvamichava being a heavy handed, tough fighter who knows that a win here will put him on the map, so to speak. And will come only days after fellow Georgian Avtandil Khurtsidze scored a major upset over Antoine Douglas.
An even more promising prospect in action here sees Mongolian sensation Tugstsogt Nyambayar (4-0, 4) battle against the heavy handed Rafael Vazquez (16-2, 13) in a 10 rounder. Notably Vazquez has never been stopped and should be a real test for the Mongolian, who may well find himself in with world ranked fighters if he comes through this one in impressive fashion. Interestingly Vazquez has stopped former world title challenger Mario Macias inside a round and will be the first opponent Nyambayar has faced with real belief of winning.