Eastern Cape, South Africa
The biggest bout for the day, at least for us, this coming Sunday will see Tajik born boxer-puncher Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (14-0, 11) take on unbeaten South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8) in an IBF world title eliminator. The Tajik, fighting outside of Russia for the first time, is seen as the under-dog but is riding a run of good wins against the likes of Emanuel Lopez, Malcolm Klassen and Robinson Castellnos. Fuzile has looked the part but this appears to be a step up for him against a dangerous and hungry fighter, who will be in the ring looking to cut the ring off and break him down. This has the potential to be an excellent, if low-key, bout between talented fighters each looking to stamp themselves on the division and secure a world title fight. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Tajik born Rakhimov and unbeaten South African Fuzile face off in eliminator!
In Osaka we have a small but notable Green Tsuda card featuring a female bout in the headliner and two notable supporting bouts.
The main event will see the talented Shione Ogata (11-6, 3) fighting in a non-title bout against Filipino foe Gretel De Paz (5-5-1, 2). The talented Ogata, has unified the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Asia female Light Flyweight titles in her last 3 bouts and is quickly approaching a world title fight. Paz is here to make up the numbers and give Ogata a tune up before a bigger bout down the line. Paz has gone 1-4-1 in her last 6, but has proven to be tough and should take Ogata the scheduled 8 rounds here.
The all action Aso Ishiwaki (6-2-1, 4) features in one of the support bouts worth talking about. Ishiwaki is no world beater, but is a very exciting, hard hitting fighter and is well worth making a mental note of, especially given he is only 20 years old. Ishiwaki's opponent is 26 year old glass cannon Takuya Matsusaka (8-8, 7), who has only heard the final bell twice in 16 fights. Through his career so far Matsusaka has seen 12 of his bouts end in the first 2 rounds, so expect this one to be very explosive very early.
The other bout of note on this card will see the touted Rei Nakajima (1-0) fight in his second pro bout. Sadly Nakajima's opponent hasn't been announced at the time of writing, suggesting a late and limited foreign import, but Nakajima himself is regarded highly in Japan and is tipped to achieve notable success in the professional ranks, Nakajima debuted back in July and looked dominant, so we would certainly suggest fans make a mental note of him here, even if his opponents isn't likely to be much of a test.
In Tashkent we're expecting an Uzbek card stacked with notable names, though at the time of writing only half of the card is actually listed.
With no opponents currently listed for the show it's unlikely the card isn't going to be full of competitive match ups, however the card does have a host of notable Uzbek prospects listed for it. These include Olympic 2016 gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4), big punching Middleweight hopeful Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), novice professional Sanjar Tursunov (1-0, 1) and recent World Amateur Championship winner Bakhodir Jalolov (6-0, 6).
Samut Prakan, Thailand
In Thailand there's set to be a show-case of novices, in low profile bouts from the Blue Arena in Samut Prakan.
One of the bouts will be a battle between unbeaten fighters for a national title, as Boonrueang Phayom (2-0, 2) and Tongthep Taeyawong (3-0-1, 3) battle for the vacant Thai Bantamweight title. Little is known about these two fighters, but at 20 years old Boonrueang is the older man, whilst Thongthep is just 16. Notably both of these men have fought twice in recent months, and we do have to wonder, again, what the Thai commission's actually do to try and prevent youngsters from getting injured.
Another fighter who is fighting for the second time without much of a break is Nattapong Jankaew (1-0, 1), who debuted back in September 8th. Nattpong will be up against Kittipong Jareonroy (3-3, 1) in a bout for the Interim Thai Super Flyweight title. It's hard to get too excited here, especially given that Kittipong was stopped inside a round by Ryoji Fukunaga back in May.
A third title bout will see the unbeaten Pattawee Phansawat (3-0, 3) take on the wonderfully named Mega Daophommachan (0-0), from Laos, in a bout for the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (PAT) International Light Flyweight title.
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter this coming Sunday comes from Maryland, as former world champions collide! The bout will see Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17) take on Kazakh-Russian Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10), in what should be a tremendous bout. Both of these men need a win if they are to remain in the world title mix, and both will be looking to bounce back from a recent loss, with Lipinets losing to Mikey Garcia and Peterson losing to Errol Spence Jr. Their styles should make for a fun fight and this is a really good quality match up between world class fighters.
Staying in the US there's also a couple of unbeaten Kazakh prospects in action in California.
One of those is Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10), who will be dropping down to Super Middleweight to face off with Mike Guy (9-3-1, 5). The unbeaten Akhmedov wasn't as active as we'd have hoped in 2018 but with his first bout of 2019 taking place this early he could end up having a really big year this year. Guy is a solid enough opponent, who has done 8 rounds with Tyron Zeuge and came close to doing the same with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, show he's durable. This might be a very tough test for Akhmedov but is also a chance for him to make a statement.
On the same card will be Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8), who will be fighting his second bout of the year and looks likely to have a huge year. He fought 4 times in 2018 and although his competition hasn't been the best he is making noise as one to watch. At 25 years old he has time to really build his record and reputation before moving onto big fights. He will be up against Puerto Rican fighter Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9).
Staying with Kazakh's there is also set to be a show in Almaty featuring a couple more notable Kazakh fighters.
In one of the main bouts Aidos Yerbossynuly (10-0, 8) will take on tough Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (15-1, 6) in a bout for minor titles from the WBO, WBA and WBC. This could end up being one of the low key bouts of the weekend and is a very real threat to Yerbossynuly's unbeaten record. The Kazakh has shown promise but has been down in a couple of his fights whilst Ndafoluma has managed to show toughness and skills on the road, upsetting British fighter Craig Cunningham in the UK in 2017. This is a potential banana skin for the unbeaten Kazakh.
On the same card Nursultan Zhangabayev (6-0, 4) is scheduled to make his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title. His opponent will be 25 year old Venezuelan fighter Ivan Matute (28-1, 23), who has a really good looking record, but there is no real quality on there. The unbeaten Zhangabayev won the belt last December, when he took a decision over tough Filipino Arnel Tinampay, and was given a real test, so we're hoping for another test here.
Also on this show will be 21 year old Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (7-0, 7) who will be fighting for a WBC Asia title. The talented Kazakh will be up against John Ruba (17-5-1, 9), who shouldn't really be much of a match for Akhmedov, who will be expected to move to 8-0 (8) without too many problems.
The under-card is also set to feature a number of prospects, including Dastan Saduuly (2-0, 2), Iskander Kharsan (5-0, 4) and Ulugbek Khakberdiev (5-0, 3).
As well as all the Kazakh's in action there is actually set to be a couple of Japanese shows on the same day. The more notable of those takes place in Hyogo and is a Shinsei promoted card.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked fighters clashing, as Shun Kosaka (15-5, 4) takes on Shunji Nagata (12-17-2, 4) in an 8 round bout at a contracted 51.5KG's. The winner of this could end up finding themselves in a Japanese title bout later this year. Coming in Kosaka has lost his last 2, being stopped in an OPBF title fight by Jayr Raquinel and being out pointed by Junto Nakatani, but remains #2 ranked by the JBC at Flyweight. Nagata on the other hand has struggled for consistent results, with 6 losses in his last 8, but has shown the ability score an upset on his day and is better than his record suggests.
World ranked Lightweight Kazuhiro Nishitani (19-4-1, 11) will be taking on Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-4-1, 6), in what looks like a straight forward bout for Nishitani. Medura has lost 3 of his last 5, losing all 3 of them in Japan by stoppage. Although Nishitani isn't anything special he has won his last 4 by stoppage and is a former Japanese national champion, so should have little problem picking up the win here.
Talented and highly touted prospect Yuki Yamauchi (2-0, 1) will seek his third win as he takes on unbeaten Filipino Claudevan Sese (7-0-3, 1). This looks like a good step forward for Yamauchi, who will be in his first 8 rounder just 8 months after his debut. For Sese this will be his international debut, and a big step up in class, though he has never tasted defeat and has gone 8 rounds twice during his career.
One other bout of note on this card will see Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) take on Reymond Empic (6-2, 2), in what looks like a pretty even match up. Takemoto left his mark last year, when he took the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown at Featherweight, and he looked to hit much harder than his record indicates in his final win over Hikari Mineta. Empic should prove to be an interesting assignment for Takemoto, but one that Takemoto will be confident of passing.
It's also worth noting that this show will feature the retirement ceremony of Eita Kikuchi (21-6-4, 8), who challenged for both the OPBF Super Bantamweight and Japanese Bantamweight title during his 31 fight career that began back in 2005.
As well as the Shinsei card there will also be a Western Japan Rookie of the Year card in Fukuoka. Among the bouts on this card is an interesting bout between Ryusuke Ushihara (4-1-1, 1) and Yutaka Asakura (3-1-1, 2), which looks really competitive on paper.
This coming Saturday looks to be a rather quiet one, but one with a number of notable fighters in action.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will be able to see former OPBF Super Middleweight champion Shintaro Matsumoto (14-5, 10) take on once beaten local Reagan Dessaix (12-1, 8). Although Matsumoto did win the OPBF title his reign felt very much like a “right place, right time” type of win as he over-came Yuzo Kiyota in 2016 for the belt, having twice lost to Kiyota prior to that bout. Desssaix has been stopped in his sole defeat, but will be strongly favoured here against Matsumoto, and the Australian will know that a win here will be a career best victory.
In Queensland fans will see 27 year old local hopeful Ben Kite (10-4-1, 4) take on Korean visitor Dong Young Kang (3-3-2). Coming into this bout Kite has won his last 5 bouts and looks to be having some career moment, though has been fighting at a very low level for those 5 wins. Kang is now based in Australia and will be fighting for the first time since relocating. Sadly for Kang he enters this bout without a win in the last 3 years, and will hasn't even fought since the summer of 2016. Kite should be favoured, but this could be a tougher bout than it looks on paper.
In Estonia, of all places, we'll see rising Uzbek prospect Ulugbek Khakberdiev (4-0, 2) in action. He was originally set to face fellow prospect Aidos Yerbossynuly (7-0, 6) but the Kazakh man has seemingly pulled out and we're unsure who Khakberdeiv will be facing here. Despite having a record of a novice the Uzbek is a very talented fighter and could well be on the fast track to the top.
In Florida the light hitting Azeri hopeful Ramal Amanov (11-0, 1) will be taking on Nicarguan Carlos Winston Velasquez (24-32-2, 14). The 33 year old Amanov will be making his US debut here,and will be favoured to come out on top, though his lack of power is going to be an issue going forward with his career. Aged 37 Velasquez is certainly a veteran, and made his debut way back in 2005. Sadly for the Nicaraguan he enters this bout without a win in his last 10, though has gone the distance with some pretty solid hopefuls and could give Amanov some genuine questions to answer.
The only card in Asia this coming Saturday is actually in Indonesia, and it's not a very exciting one.
On paper the main event is a bout pitting Jack Timor Langoadi (2-16-2) against Jack Madison (2-17). As their records show neither is particularly talented and the reality is that this isn't going to be a high quality bout. However both will see this as a rare chance to pick up a win and this should be competitive.
Arguably the only bout of real interest on this show will be the next step up in class for Carlos Obisuru (2-0, 1),who takes on Ahmad Lahizab (3-4-1, 1). The unbeaten man turned professional last December and is already fighting in 8 rounders, so could be a worth while fighter to follow, with Indonesia having a number of prospects coming through the ranks, and he could be the next.
Seoul, South Korea
Last year we saw a Korea Vs Japan card being announced. Sadly however that card had to be delayed and will now take place this coming Saturday.
One of most interesting bouts on this card will see the once beaten Woo Min Won (9-1, 5) take on under-rated Japanese visitor Noriaki Sato (5-2-1). The Korean is a former national Light Welterweight champion who is 2-0 (1) against Japanese fighters, having beaten Daiki Koide and Taisho Ozawa, though has been inactive since the win over Ozawa back in October 2016. Sato was stopped on debut, way back in 2008, but started a real running in 2015, and has gone 4-1-1, including wins over Valentine Hosokawa and Cristiano Aoqui. This should be a very entertaining and exciting action fight.
Another bout that promises a lot of action will see former Korean Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (7-4-1, 2) take on the tough and exciting Moon Hyun Yun (18-5-3, 4). Neither of these fighters are going to be world beaters, but both will be eager to win here, and claim a WBA regional title., and potentially open the doors to other good fights. Jun has won his last 3 and look like a man in form whilst Hyun has been inconsistent with results, but always makes for fun action fights.
We'll also see a number of Asian fighters in action in Russia, where there will be titles and prospects on the card.
The main event of the card will see Russian based Tajik prospect Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (11-0, 8) take on South African veteran Malcolm Klassen (33-7-2, 17) for the IBO Super Featherweight title. The 23 year old Rakhimov had an excellent 2017, going 3-0 (2) and winning the IBO title, which he'll be defending for the first time here. The 36 year old Klassen was in action this past September, when he ran Mikhail Alexeev close. Although Klassen might be past his best he will still serve as an excellent test for Rakhimov.
Another Russian based Tajik on this show will be Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (10-0, 7), who takes on the once beaten Mark Urvanov (12-1, 6). Yaqubov was active in 2017, fighting 5 times and ended the year with 4 stoppages showing an improvement in power and he now looks like a real prospect going places. Urnaov is a Russian fighter who is riding a 12 fight winning run, but has failed to shine, and was very fortunate against Jin Miura last July. This should be a win for Yaqubov given recent performances, but certainly not an easy win for the unbeaten man.
In another title fight we'll see Filipino fighter Ardie Boyose (18-1-2, 14) taking on Russian fighter Zaur Abdullaev (7-0, 5) for the WBO Youth Lightweight title. Boyose lost last time he was in Russia, being stopped by Rustam Nugaev in December 2016, but that loss aside he has shown plenty of promise and at 22 years old the future is still pretty bright for Boyose. Whilst Boyose is still a fighter with hope it's fair to say that the unbeaten Abdullaev is seen as something a bit special. The Russian turned professional in March 2017 and racked up 7 wins last year, including a notable stoppage of Roberto Gonzalez which should fill him with confidence heading into this bout.
One other bout here will see Uzbek novice Ravshanbek Umurzakov (1-0, 1) take a massive step up to face Rustam Nugaev (29-8-1, 19). Aged 35 Nugaev is a fighter towards the end of his career, and was dominated last time out by Deiner Berrio. Despite that he is experienced and know his way around the ring. Umurzakov, who only debuted this past December, was a former amateur stand out but this is still a monster leap up in class. If Umurzakov can pick up the win here then he really will make a statement, but it's a very dangerous bout for such a novice.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
On a second Russian card fans get another really interesting match up as the unbeaten pairing of Ulugbek Khakberdiev (4-0, 2) and Aidos Yerbossynuly (7-0, 6) face off. Russian based Uzbek Khakberdiev only turned professional last year, and has made an impact on the sport already, stopping Dmitry Sukhotsky in September to really announce himself on professional scene. The Uzbek will be up against a Kazakh foe in the form of Yerbossynuly, who is himself a touted prospect tipped to go a long way. This really could be something very special, a real indicator of belief from both men.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans will see young puncher Jino Rodrigo (3-0, 3) look to build on his recent win over former OPBF champion Vinvin Rufino. Having dropped Rufino 3 times in round 4 of their clash Rodrigo will be full of confidence as he takes on Glenn Bismanos (3-1, 2), who has bounced back from his first defeat with 2 straight wins.
North Dakota, USA
In the US fans will see once beaten American Ronaldo Cruz (12-1, 10) takes on unbeaten American based Uzbek Ravshan Hudaynazarov (17-0, 13). Coming in to this one Cruz is riding a 10 fight winning run and will be full of confidence, but has been matched very softly with this looking like a huge step up in class for the 26 year old. Hudaynazarov on the other hand has been matched quite hard and will know that, at the age of 33, he can't afford any slip ups. It's hard to see past the Uzbek here, though it could be a case of just how impressive he can look, rather than just whether or not he can win.
As with the last few years this year is set to end with a spate of Japanese action. The first of two big shows to end 2017 is in Yokohama, where Ohashi and Fuji TV put on an interesting looking show.
The main event of this year closer will be the end in the latest chapter of Naoya Inoue's (14-0, 12) career, as he makes his 7th, and likely final, defense of the WBO Super Flyweight title. The talented Japanese fighter had been ruining out of willing opponents and will close 2017 with a bout against the inform Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). On paper it looks good but the reality is that this is a huge step up in class and likely serves as a dummy run for the “Monster” before he moves up to Bantamweight in pursuit of a third divisional world title.
A second world title bout on this show will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (11-0, 5) make his second defense, as he goes up against confident Panamanian visitor Gilberto Pedroza (18-3-2, 8), who fights in his first world title bout. The talented Ken Shiro has had a career defining year with wins over Ganigan Lopez and Pedro Guevara and closing out the year with a third win would, in fairness, put him on the fringes of the Fighter of the Year shortlist. As for Pedroza this is a huge opportunity to claim a world title and make a name for himself ahead of the near year.
A third title bout on this card will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4) make his first defense as he looks to move towards a world title fight. The talented Japanese fighter, who came to international attention in 2012 when he claimed a Bronze medal at the London Olympics, will be up against Filipino challenger Eduardo Mancito (15-7-2, 9). The champion won the title in impressive fashion earlier this year, when he stopped Korean Sa Myung Noh and is expected to make an easy first defense here. Although limited Mancito is tough and is expected to get some rounds out Shimizu, who can prove whether his power is legitimate or not here.
In one of the leading support bouts Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) will take on 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15), in what looks likely to be a mismatch. The talented Takuma was supposed to fight for a world title a year ago, but an injury ruled him out and he now seems to be trying to get back to fully fitness and shake off any ring rust before moving back into the world title picture. Masuda is an exciting fighter, but with recent stoppage losses to Shohei Omori and Mark John Yap his limitations have been shown, and he's a fun but crude fighter who should be easily out boxed by Inoue.
A third Inoue on this card is the fast rising Koki Inoue (9-0, 8), who takes on Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-1-2, 3). The Korean enters the bout as the Korean Light Welterweight champion and an OPBF ranked fighter and it's clear that Inoue is chasing titles, with this bout potentially opening the door for an OPBF title fight in 2018. Inoue has been very impressive, very exciting and very aggressive since his debut however the Korean has never been stopped, looks to be tough and durable and will not have travelled to just roll over to Inoue.
Also on this card as Ohashi novices Katsuya Yasuda (1-0, 1) and Kazuki Nakajima (2-0, 2), who will both be in 6 rounders and will be looking to have big 2018's.
A second Asian show will take place in Kazakhstan where we get a number of interesting, though lower key bouts.
One of the key bouts from the show will see once beaten Kazakh hopeful Firuza Sharipova (7-1, 4) battle against Belgian fighter Djemilla Gontaruk (13-4-1, 2) in a bout for the WBC silver Female Super Featherweight title. The bout looks like a good one on paper, but coming in to this the Kazakh has won 7 in a row whilst Gonturak has lost against every notable opponent she has faced, including a loss last time out to Ramon Kuehne and her wins have been against very limited foes.
Another title bout on this card will see Aidyn Yelzhanov (4-0, 3) take on Sergey Dudinsky (4-1, 3) for a WBC regional title at Super Bantamweight. The 24 year old Yelzhanov has impressed so far,but has been fighting at a very liw level and will have to show something new to over-come the hungry Dudinsky, who has won his last two.
One other bout of note will be the home coming, of sorts, for Light Heavyweight prospect Ali Akhmedov (10-0, 7), who takes on Ismat Eynullayev (12-2, 8). Akhmedov has fought 5 of his last 6 outside of Kazakhstan, where he is incidentally 5-0 (5), and will be looking to put on a show here. Eynullayev, from Azerbaijan, has won his last 3 but will not be expected to put up much of a challenge against the home town hero.
In the Russian capital fan will be able to see Russian Uzbek Ulugbek Khakberdiev (4-0, 2) look to build on his solid 2017 as he takes on Ugandan puncher Med Sebyala (17-10-1, 14). The unbeaten Kazakh has gone under the radar this year, despite stopping Dmitry Sukhotsky in September and looks to end his year with a 5th straight win. The 37 year old Sebyala has lost 2 of his last 3, but does appear to be a legitimate puncher and could chin check the powerful Kazakh.