The most notable action in Asia this coming Saturday will be in Thailand as we get the next show in the WP Boxing series of events, and it's a show that will look to highlight two of the hottest prospects in Thailand.
One of the promising Thai's in question is Phongsaphon Panyakum (12-1, 6), who will be looking to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title against Adrian Lerasan (10-4, 3). The 21 year old Panyakum is one of the best prospects in Thailand, and has gone on a great run since a defeat to Kai Ishizawa on debut back in 2017, and is looking to continue his rise through the ranks towards a WBC world title fight, something we expect to see him in in 5 or 6 years time. Despite Panyakum being a great prospect this won't be an easy one for him and Lerasan can't be over-looked, especially given his recent form in Thailand, that included a massive upset win over Tanes Ongjunta in 2020. This should be a very interesting match up.
Sadly the other main bout on this show is less likely to be an interesting one, as the hard hitting Chainoi Worawut (14-0-1, 12) takes on the much older, much smaller Suriyan Satorn (61-12, 41). A prime Suriyan was always great fun to watch, and a legitimately great warrior, but he was at his best at 108lbs and is now fighting up at 122lbs for this bout. Chainoi Worawut is a genuinely promising prospect, and hopefully we see him in with some interesting international opponents in the near future, but at the moment he's a long way from being a legitimate threat in the Super Bantamweight division. Despite being a long way from a top fight he should be far too big and too strong here to even be tested.
CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Over in Canada we'll see a new Canadian Middleweight champion being crowned, as Canadian based Indian born fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (9-0, 3) takes on Jordan Balmir (11-1, 6) for the vacant title. Bhatti slowly been making a name for himself on the Canadian scene, and despite having a frustrating level of inactivity in recent years, with just a single fight in 2020 and a single fight in 2021, he is clearly a promising fighter who could help kick start the love of professional for Indian youngsters. Balmir on the other hand is a Canadian fighter best known for losing in 2018 to Steven Butler, who stopped Balmir in 3 rounds. That loss aside there's not much on Balmir's record to talk about, though he was inactive through 2019 and 2021 and has had just 6 rounds of action since losing to Butler in October 2018.
Olympic Arena, Andijan, Uzbekistan
Staying in notable Asian boxing countries we see Uzbekistan, an amateur boxing power house, hosting a show in Andijan. It's not a big show but there are some interesting fighters on the card.
Potentially the most interesting fight on the show is a 10 rounder between Khusniddin Pulatov (11-3, 7) and the debuting Dilshod Sodikov (0-0), in what seems a really strange one. Pulatov has been quietly making a name for himself in Uzbekistan and South Korea, scoring a notable win over In Duck Seo in 2019, and should be heavily favoured here, however it's clear that Sodikov and his team are confident in his potential and are throwing him in deep here in what could be a great chance for him to announce himself on the regional scene.
Another interesting looking bout will see 23 year old Ulugbek Sobirov (11-1, 6) take on Argentinian fighter Brian Damian Chaves (14-1, 5). Sobirov had a fair bit of momentum build at one point, but a loss in 2020 to Dmytro Mytrofanov slowed his rise and he's yet to really rebuild from that defeat, with just a single win since then. Chaves on the other hand has won 3 in a row since being blasted out by Jeremias Nicolas Ponce. Notably Chavez has shown a questionable chin, but will feel confident of having the tools to over-come Sobirov in a good looking match up.
Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Over in Dubai we're set to see the next chapter in the long running saga of Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-2-0-1, 13) versus the Philippines, as he takes on Vincent Astrolabio (16-3, 12) for the vacant WBC International Bantamweight title. The Cuban veteran has faced numerous Filipino's over the years, and was unbeaten against them until his 2021 loss to John Riel Casimero last year, and it did seem like he had slowed significantly from the man who beat Nonito Donaire, in what is still the career defining win for Rigondeaux. Despite the Cuban's slow down he should have way too much for Astrolabio, who is very much a Filipino level domestic fighter who has fallen short against his most notable opponents, such as Yuki Strong Kobayashi and John Mark Apolinario.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most notable show this coming Sunday is in the Philippines as we get a title double, with a supporting cast of Uzbek hopefuls.
One of those title bouts will see the once beaten Mike Plania (15-1, 8) take on domestic journeyman Angelito Merin (9-8-3, 3) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Bantamweight title. The 21 year old Plania will be fighting for the second time since losing to Juan Carlos Payano back in March, and will be looking to build on an opening round blow out win against Jugn Rey Lauza. As for Merin things haven't been so smooth with the 28 year old going 2-6-1 in his last 9 bouts. Although Merin has, on the whole, faced better competition we have been impressed by Plania and strongly fancy him here.
The other title bout will see the unbeaten Dave Apolinario (7-0, 5) take on fellow Filipino Michael Camelion (10-9-1, 8) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Youth Flyweight title. The 19 year old Apolinario looks like a real prospect and and has both a solid amateur background as well as power, speed and youth, with Sanman seemingly having a pure talent on their hands with him. Aged 23 Camelion is starting to look like damaged goods with 5 stoppage losses, including defeats to Hiroto Kyoguchi, Vince Parras and Jayson Mama. Given Apolinario's power we don't see this one going long.
The Uzbek fighters, who are all taking on limited Filipino fighters, are Jasur Akhmadjonov (6-0-1, 4), Bekzod Tursunboev (1-0, 1) and Ulugbek Sobirov (7-0, 5). Coming in to this Akhmadjonov will be hoping to put a draw with Rodel Wenceslao behind him, teenager Sobirov will be looking to impress Filipino fans once again whilst Tursunboev will be wanting to build on an opening round KO against Roy Mukhlis.
As well as the card in the Philippines there will also be a card in Fukuoka.
In the main event Yuki Ozawa (12-6, 3) will battle Katsuhiko Kanno (10-11-7, 4) in an 8 round contest. Ozawa has lost 6 of his last 8, but has mixed with decent company, including Ryo Takenaka, and is better than his record and recent form suggests. Kanno has also struggled in recent bouts, and was blown out inside a round earlier this year by Tae Il Atsumi. Kanno is usually durable, but we don't think he'll put up too much of a test for Oazawa.
The card also has a really interesting looking support bout, as Tetsuwan Takashi (3-1-2) faces Fumiaki Sueyoshi (5-1, 4) in a 6 rounder. The 24 year old Takashi lost on debut, back in 2014, but has since gone 3-0-2 and this will be his first bout over the 6 round distance. The heavy handed Sueyoshi started his career with 4 straight wins before suffering a stoppage loss in September. Since that loss Sueyoshi has moved through the weights and looked rejuvenated when he stopped Bejita Ishikawa back in March. This could be very interesting.
This coming Sunday is set to be a hectic day for fight fans in Japan with 5 different shows across the country. They include 4 different title fights, ranging from Japanese youth to female world title fights, and a number of other notable fighters in action in what is genuinely a crazy day.
The most notable show in Japan is in Osaka, where we get an OPBF title fight along with two bouts featuring former world title challengers and several prospects.
The main event of the card will see OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (16-0, 10) seek his next defence, as he faces off with Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (5-0-1, 1). The challenger has shown a lot of skill, but his lack of power has been a problem, and he has struggled to get the respect of fighters so far, notably Yuichiro Kasuya and Kaiki Yuba. Nakatani on the other hand has been the OPBF champion for more than 4 years, and has already recorded 9 defenses, though sadly the quality of those defenses has gone down hill and there is clearly frustration with Nakatani who has long looked like he is ready for a world title fight, before he out grows the division.
One of the former world title challengers on this show is Shohei Omori (18-2, 13), who will be fighting for the first time since April 2017, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Marlon Tapales. The once touted Omori was supposed to return earlier this year, but saw that bout being cancelled when his opponent for it failed to make weight. Omori will be up against recent OPBF title challenger Brian Lobetania (13-5-3, 11) in what is a really tough match up. The heavy handed Filipino announced himself to Japanese fans when he stopped Kai Chiba in January but came up short in March against Hidenori Otake. Chiba is limited but is a serious puncher and could give Omori real issues if he can land.
Another bout actually pits two former world title challengers against each other, as former Super Flyweight title challenger Sho Ishida (25-1, 14) faces former Light Flyweight title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15). For Ishida this will be his second bout since a 2017 loss to Kal Yafai in the UK, in what was a genuinely forgettable contest. As for Claveras ,who was stopped by Pedro Guevara back in 2015, this bout comes after his loss to Andrew Moloney back in May. This should be a good match up, but it's hard to imagine Calaveras being big enough or strong enough to stop Ishida.
Also on this card are two pretty lower level fights. One of those will see the once touted Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) take on once beaten Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-1, 4), who was stopped last time out. The other will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (15-0-1, 10) risk his unbeaten record against Marjun Pantilgan (18-4, 14), who was beaten last time out, losing an 8 round decision to Ryusei Kawaura.
The Japanese youth fight will be held in Aichi and see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Takuya Mizuno (14-1-1, 12) defending his title against fellow youngster Jinya Ito (7-3-1, 2). The hard hitting Mizuno will be seeking his third defense of the title and looking to build on recent wins over Ryota Ishida, Yuki Iriguchi and Daiki Maniwa. This will be a huge step up in class for Ito, but he has won his last 3 and does have a little bit of momentum coming into this, it should however be noted that he had lost his 3 previous bouts and does lack of win of note.
Also on this card is the debut of Koshin Takeshima (0-0), who went 82-19 in the amateurs and shined in the unpaid ranks. He'll be battling against Indonesian Yohanis Tatul (3-1, 2), who appears to have been a relatively late replacement for Jundullah M Fauzan (5-1, 2). Given the expectation on Takeshima's shoulders anything barring a dominant win would be considered a disappointment for the new Matsuda gym fighter.
One of those female world title bouts comes from Kyoto, where WBO Atomwieght champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) defends he belt in a rematch against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3). The 48 year old champion has made 6 defenses already, and has really shone since defeating Iwakawa way back in December 2013. Despite the good run for the champion there is always a question as to how much longer she can continue at the highest level. As for Iwakawa her form has been pretty poor, going 4-3 in her last 7, though she did run Yunoka Furukawa incredibly close in a WBA title fight back in 2016.
In Kumamoto fans will see former WBO Minimumweight champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) taking on domestic foe Naoya Haruguchi (15-8, 6). Originally this bout was announced as a world title prelude for Fukuhara, who is looking to have another reign as a world champion, but it's unclear which champion he is looking to fight. Coming in to this it's also worth noting that Fukuhara has lost 2 of his last 3, losing the WBO title to Ryuya Yamanaka and losing in a WBC world title fight to Wanheng Menayothin. As for Haruguchi he will be seen as a straight forward for for Fukuhara but Haruguchi has shown he can upset fighters, as he did against Norihito Tanaka and Jeffrey Galero. This could be much better than the records suggest.
Also on this card, in much lesser bouts, will be Ryotaro Motohashi (7-1, 2) and Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5), who both take on limited foreign visitors.
The other female world title fight will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14), who makes her first defense as she takes on Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-9, 6). The talented Tsunami won the belt earlier this year, when she wore down Chaoz Minowa, but will be up against a very different challenge here. Unlike Minowa, who is an aggressive and wild fighter, Abaniel is a skilled and experience boxer who will look to keep Tsunami at range and out manoeuvre her in what could be a very interesting stylistic clash.
The only other bout of any interest on this card will see OPBF #1 ranked female Flyweight Yumemi Ikemoto (5-1) take on the #4 ranked Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) in what should be a much better fighter than it looks on paper.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In the Philippines there will also be a pretty notable card, featuring two fast rising Uzbek stars, some unbeaten Filipino prospects and a former world title challenger.
One of the Uzbek prospects is Jasur Akhmadjonov (5-0, 3) who will be looking to secure his 5th win of 2018 as he takes on Filipino foe Rodel Wenceslao (12-16-1, 5). The Uzbek has impressed so far and looks to be having a very busy 2018. As for the Filipino he's very limited and with 7 stoppage losses it's hard to imagine him lasting the 10 round distance here.
The other Uzbek is teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (5-0, 3), who faced 34 year old Dennis Padua (11-14-2, 6). The 19 year old Sobirov debuted in January and looks like a real prospect to keep an eye on. Sadly however this bout won't really help Sobirov build his reputation, though should help him secure his 6th win as a professional. As for Padua he has been stopped in 11 of his 27 professional bouts, and we expect to see him being stopped again here.
In terms of local prospects the card will feature Jade Bornea (11-0, 7), Jerven Mama (5-0-1, 3) and Jerry Francisco (4-0, 1). Sadly from those 3 only Mama is the only one set to face a notable foe, as he takes on Rey Tagulaylay (6-1, 2).
Also on this show will be former world title challenger Richie Mepranum (32-7-1, 9), who faces Jetly Purisima (21-2-4, 6) in what will be a rematch of a 2015 clash between the two men.
Seoul, South Korea
There is also a triple title show in Seoul.
The most notable bout on the card will see WBA Asia Welterweight champion Ma Roo Jung (8-4-1, 2) defending his title against the unbeaten Heuk San Lee (6-0-1, 3). Of the two fighters it's Lee who has the more interesting story, having been a refugee from Cameroon who has since gone on to claim the Boxing M Light Middleweight title. Although Lee has impressed this looks set to be his toughest fight so far. Jung impressed us last time out, in what was his title winning effort, as he out pointed the very capable Moon Hyun Yun. We're expecting this to be a genuinely exciting bout for the fans in Korea.
At Super Middleweight fans will be able to see Joon Yong Lee (6-4-4, 3) take on Tae San Kil (4-0, 2) for the vacant Boxing M title. Lee is best known for his 2016 draw against Koki Tyson and showed there was something about him in that loss. Kil on the other hand is another Cameroon born fighter based in Korea. His competition so far has been very unremarkable but this should be a good step up and we should be in for a very decent bout here.
The remaining title bout on this card will see O Gon Kwon (6-2-2, 4) battle against Tae Seung Kim (7-3-1, 5) for the Boxing M Lightweight title. Kwon is unbeaten in his last 3, but was stopped back in March 2017 by Beom Kyu Lee. Kim has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, and is now 43, but has got power. We're not expecting this one to go the distance but we are expecting this to be very fun.
The bigger show this coming Saturday is a big one from California which has seen more changes to it than most people change clothes, and credit needs to be given to the promoters for even getting a workable together.
Originally the card had been set to be the rematch between Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33) and Saul Alvarez, following their controversial 2017 draw, with the bout to be staged in Las Vegas. The Mexican failed a drugs test and a replacement was sought, with Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21) being the man to get the shot at Golovkin, and the fight moving to California, and the IBF deciding not to allow their title to be fought for by Martirosyan due to his lack of a world ranking. The desire to put on a show is admirable, but this isn't an amazing match up, and we've seen other issues with the show, such as Roman Gonzalez being removed from the show as well.
In the Uzbek capital of Tashkent fight fans will get the chance to see a number of local hopefuls in action.
The main event of the card will see the promising Azizbek Abdugofurov (10-0, 4) battle against Russian Dmitrii Chudinov (21-2-2, 13) in a bout for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight title. The local, fighting only his 3rd bout in Uzbekistan, will be looking to secure his second win at world level, following last year's win over Sirimongkol Singwancha. The 26 year old, has risen fast and looked really exciting but this is still a big step up. Chudinov is a former WBA “interim” Middleweight world champion, and at one point looked really good himself, however since losing to Chris Eubank Jr just over 3 years ago he's not looked the same and suffered a loss to veteran Lolenga Mock earlier this year. Chudinov has the tools to give the Uzbek problems, but it's hard to imagine Abdugofurov losing against this version of Chudinov.
At the time of writing the under-card doesn't look to be set to concretely, with only the promoters fighters having been confirmed for the show. Saying that however the is a lot of name value to make note of here, including Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (14-0, 9), Umid Rustamov (3-0, 3), Jasur Akhmadjonov (4-0, 3) and Ulugbek Sobirov (4-0, 2), all of whom look set to have a great future in the sport.
At the Korakuen Hall we'll see the next show from Kyoei, and it's a pretty interesting one in some ways, but one that isn't likely to get too much attention outside of Asia.
The headline bout is the shows key talking point, yet isn't even an official bout, as Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) battles Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (90-5-2, 47) in a rematch of Kameda's first professional defeat. This fight will be held under special exhibition rules, and is scheduled to go 8 rounds. The bout won't have judges, though a TV voting system will essentially be used to determine an unofficial winner if the bout goes the distance, and the bout won't be recorded on either man's record. Despite that the contest is something that both men seem to win with Kameda looking to avenge one of his two defeats and Wonjongkam looking to prove there is still life left in his 40 year old legs.
Koki's younger brother Tomoki Kameda (34-2, 20) will be in the main official bout as he takes on Mexican visitor Daniel Noriega (30-11-1, 15). Kameda has stated that this bout will be his final one before he gets another shot at a world title, likely at Super Bantamweight as he looks to become a 2-weight champion. The popular Japanese fighter should be too good, too fast and too skilled for Noriega but the Mexican is tough and could give Kameda some questions to answer late in the bout, with this being a 10 round contest.
Also on this card is rising female hopeful Jun Yabuki (10-0, 5), who will face a Thai foe, and Kyonosuke Kameda (0-1), who looks to pick up his first won against Kazuyuki Watanabe (1-1, 1).
Another Asian show will take place in Singapore, where local fighters will be looking to advance their careers.
The most notable bout on this card will see 22 year old hopeful Muhammad Ashiq (3-0, 3) fighting against 50 fight veteran Julio de la Basez (21-21-8, 12). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Ashiq but he's up against a 38 year old Indonesian veteran who has scored just 1 win in the last 7 years.
Busan, South Korea
The Asian action continues with a small show in Busan. This card won't get too much attention but does deserve a quick look over.
The main event of the show will see Ki Chang Go (5-2, 2) and JooHyun Kim (4-2-2, 1) battle for a version of the Korean Super Flyweight title. Despite losing his first two bouts Go has been impressive with 5 straight wins coming in to this one, including a an opening round stoppage last time out against Morakote PatanakanGym. As for Kim his form has suffered recently, and after winning his first 3 he has gone 1-2-2, with a stoppage loss to Teiru Atsumi back in November 2014 being his last bout.
The key support bout on this card will see the unbeaten In Duck Seo (9-0-2, 6) battle against Uzbek visitor Eldorbek Sayidov (4-3-1, 3). The 23 year old Korean debuted just over 3 years ago and despite suffering 2 draws in his last 3 bouts has looked really promising and is likely to be the next Korean to try and make a mark at the Oriental level. The visiting Uzbek has won his last 3, but is win-less outside of Tashkent and won't be expected to defeat Seo here.