This coming Friday is set to be an incredibly busy day for Asian fight fans, with cards of note taking place in Japan, Thailand, Russia and Tanzania. The days also has a nice mix of rising youngsters looking to make their way in the sport, a veteran looking for his 98th professional win, and several contenders also in action.
Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA
We'll start not in Asia but in the US, where rising Uzbek sensation Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0, 4) will be defending his WBA Continental America's Super Middleweight title against Mexican challenger Alan Campa (17-5, 11). This, in reality, should be little more than a stay busy bout for the talented Uzbek, who looks set to become a star in the coming years. Sadly the "Bully" hasn't been as active as we'd have liked, though given how 2020 has been we are glad we're going to see him get a run out here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
One of the many cards comes from Korakuen Hall, and will be made available on demand on Boxing Raise. The card has several good looking bouts on it, and several others worthy of note.
the best of the bouts on this one will see rising Japanese Lightweight Shu Utsuki (6-0, 5) look for win #7 as he takes on Takayuki Sakai (9-2-2, 6). The heavy handed Utsuki had a great 2019, scoring 4 stoppages, but has been out of the ring since October 2019, and has lost much of the momentum he had. As for Sakai he's no push over, and scored a notable 2018 win over Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, but has gone 1-1 since then. We expect Utsuki to come out on top here, but it should be a very, very fun bout.
Another unbeaten man on this card will be Ryo Nakai (1-0-1, 1), who looks for his second professional win as he takes on Mirai Naito (8-1, 3). Nakai turned professional last year with some solid amateur credentials but was held to a draw in a tough debut, before picking up his first win in November. He has the amateur background but Naito has the blood line, with his father, Cassius Naito, and brother, Rikki Naito, both being notable fighters. Naito also has the edge in professional experience and has notched 3 wins since his solitary loss. We expect this one to be the hidden gem of the show.
In a female bout the unbeaten Sayo Segawa (1-0, 1) will be up against Natsuki Tarui (3-6-2). The talented Segawa ran up over 30 wins in the amateurs and placed 3rd in an All Japan amateur tournament before turning professional last year and looking good on her debut. Sadly she's been out of the ring for a year as we enter this bout and her career has clearly stalled before it's even got going. Tarui on the other hand is a 29 year old domestic level fighter who isn't expected to go far, but should serve as a good opponent to help Segawa shake some ring rust and get back up to speed.
Rangsit International Stadium, Rangsit, Thailand
Over in Thailand we get a small show featuring two notable names, and a promising youngster. Sadly however it's hard to get invested in this show.
The main event will see the young, and somewhat unproven, Kittithat Ungsrivongs (16-1, 9) fight for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Featherweight title. Sadly his opponent is the win-less Omar El Ouers (0-1-1). Kittithat, also known as Wanchana Menayothin is only 21, so it's harsh to complain too much about an easy bout, but he's been a professional for almost 4 years now and is still fighting very limited opposite. Notably El Ouers did fight to a draw last time out with Kongfah CP Freshmart, but Kongfah is very much a Super Flyweight, and El Ouers success there is unlike to carry up to 130lbs.
Talking about Kongfah CP Freshmart (33-1-1, 16) he will also be on the card, along with Petch Sor Chitpattana (57-1, 42). Sadly however neither man has had their opponent made clear at the time of writing. Given how Petpiya fights go, and how these two have been matched previously, we don't really expect anything exciting for either man.
PTA Hall, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania
On the subject of Thai's it's worth noting that former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (97-4, 62) is also scheduled for action, albeit in Tanzania, where he is set to face local fighter Twaha Kassimu Rubaha (15-6-1, 8) for the WBC Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title. Despite once being a brilliant fighter Sirimongkol is now a 43 year old, former blown up Bantamweight with over 100 bouts to his name and is not the fighter he once was. Although Rubaha is moving up in weight for this bout he is the naturally bigger man, and the much younger man, and we think those advantages will take him to victory here.
USC Soviet Wings, Moscow, Russia
In Moscow we have some fighters from Central Asia in action.
The most notable of the Central Asian fighters in action here is Kazakh female fighter Firuza Sharipova (11-1, 6), who has often received a lot of media attention but appears to be under-the-radar for this fighter, likely due to the backlash her last bout had. The frustrating Kazakh will be up against Serbian fighter Sara Marjanovic (7-7, 3), who's record is very padded thanks to 5 successive wins against very low level opposition. This should be an easy win for Sharipova,
Another central Asian fighter on this show is 26 year old Kyrgyzstan fighter Turat Osmonov (3-0, 3), who looks for his next win as he takes on the win-less Mutrib Karambakhshov (0-3), a Russian based Tajik. Really is hard to get too excited about this one, though we have liked what we have seen of Osmonov and hopefully he will be stepped up in his next fight or two.
This coming Friday we see the return of boxing onto Channel 7 in Thailand, but sadly we won't see Bektemir Melikuziev in action.
Rangsit International Stadium, Thailand
We see action continue to get back to normal in Thailand as we get, we believe, the first televised outdoor card since boxing returned to the country. The event will be on Channel 7 and like many Thai cards features names in total squash matches.
In the main event Petch Sor Chitpattana (55-1, 40) will defend his regional WBC title against Tongthep Taeyawong (5-2-1, 4). This really should be little more than a work out for the talented Petch, who needs much, much tougher opponents for us to really see what he's made of. Competition like this will not help him develop the skills he needs to become a champion, as we saw when he suffered his sole defeat to Takuma Inoue.
In the the chief support bout Petchmanee Kokietgym (32-1, 21), also known as Panya Pradabsri, will be in action against a Brazilian opponent, that we're lead to believe is Dionatha Santos Tobias (0-2). On paper this should be little more than a work out for the talented Thai who should, really, be facing tougher opposition to help prepare for a second world title bout. The Thai based Brazilian has faced stiff competition so far, but has come up short in both of his bouts since turning professional.
Another likely mismatch on this card will see Kittithat Ungsrivongs (15-1, 8) take on Omar El Ouers (0-1). Kittithat, also known as Wanchana Menayothin, is only 21, but he has been a professional since 2016 and he's still fighting at the same level as he was back then. We feel he needs to step it up and get developmental fights, rather than padding his record in bouts like this. He's had 6 confidence building wins since his 2018 loss to Que Xu and doesn't need any more.
Also originally scheduled for this show was Noknoi Sitthiprasert (72-5, 44) but the 33 year old was pulled from the event earlier this month.
On the subject of things being pulled, a scheduled event on DAZN, which was was supposed to feature Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0, 4) taking on Alan Campa (17-5, 11), was cancelled. Sadly that whole show was pulled just over a week before the event, after the promoters failed to secure a replacement opponent for Javier Fortuna, after Jorge Linares was forced to pull out of the event.
This coming Tuesday attention turns to China where we'll be getting a relatively low key card.
One of the major bouts on this show swll see the promising Wanchana CP Freshmart (8-0, 4) make his international debut as he travels in Shenzhen and takes on Que Xu (11-2-1, 4), with the Thai making his first defense of the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title. Wanchana has looked really promising since making his debut in late 2016 and although he's not really kicked on like some would have hope he does still look like a fighter with a lot of potential and a very exciting style. The Chinese local began his career with a loss and then had a draw but reeled off a 9 fight winning run following that start. A loss in late 2016 has slowed his rise but he comes into this with back to back stoppage wins and will be hungry going into this contest. The bout should be really good and see both men being forced to answer real questions, which is always a good thing.
Another really interesting bout on this card will see local Lightweight hopeful Yongqiang Yang (9-0, 7) battle against teak tough Japanese visitor Takuya Watanabe (33-7-1, 18) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight title, which Yang will be defending for the first time. The 25 year old Chinese fighter turned professional around 2 years ago and has compiled a decent record already, but this is a huge step up in class. The 29 year Japanese fighter has fought through out Asia, picking up wins in Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong, but this will be his first fight on the Chinese mainland. Given his success on the road the experience of fighting in China won't be an issue, especially given that his stable mate Sho Kimura scored his career defining win in China last year.
Another interesting bout on this card will see Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (12-0-1, 4) battling against Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-0, 4) in a regional title bout at Bantamweight.
This coming Friday fans in Thailand can tune into a title double header on Channel 7. Neither bout looks great on paper, but both do feature unbeaten local hopefuls taking on visiting fighters with more experience.
In a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight title we'll see 25 year old Southpaw Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (3-0, 1) take on Indonesian foe Melianus Mirin (9-3, 6). Not too much is known about the Thai, who hasn't faced anyone of any note, but this is a chance to make his first mark on the sport. Interestingly for Mirin this will be his first bout outside of Indonesia, and he's currently riding a 5 fight winning run coming into this bout, so should make for an interesting test.
The other title bout will see 19 year old Wanchana Menayothin (7-0, 3) facing off with Agus Kustiawan (18-6-2, 8) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight title. On paper this looks like a simple win for the emerging prospect, but the Indonesian visitor has proven his toughness and could well provide some stiff foil for the local teenager, who debuted in late 2016. The local is a former WBC Youth Intercontinental champion and this is a credible step up for the youngster.