The most notable action this coming Wednesday comes from Thailand, where we see a much anticipated bout, that is sadly being fought after it was allowed to marinate too long and lost of the lustre it once had.
The bout in question will see WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (23-0, 9) defending his title against former long term WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-2-0-1, 19). This bout was the most demanded bout at 105lbs, just 2 years ago when both men were world champions. Since then however Wanheng has suffered two losses to Panya Pradabsri, though both were razor thin and controversial, and the loss of the WBC title has seen this bout lose a lot of the shine it had. The bouts also suffers from the fact Wanheng is now 36, and has suggested retiring in the past. As for Knockout, the 31 year old is a long reigning champion and will be favoured here. Saying that a win over Wanheng, even a Wanhneg with 2 losses, would be the biggest win in Knockout's career, and help further enhance his reputation as one of the best fighters at 105lbs. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Knockout and Wanheng clash at last!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Over in Japan we have a low level card, which is being held in honour of former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto, who will be taking part in his retirement ceremony, which will include a public sparring session with former world champion Takashi Uchiyama. Outside of that spar there isn't much which will get attention, but the card does have two that are noteworthy.
The main bout will see JBC ranked Middleweight Ran Tomomatsu (2-2) battle against the once beaten Eiki Kani (5-1-2, 2), in what could be something of a thrilling 8 rounder. The hard hitting and somewhat brutish Tomomatsu is no world beater, but he's strong, flawed and exciting, which makes for great action bouts. His limitations will likely hold him back from even winning a domestic title, but his style will lead to some very fan friendly wars. Kani on the other hand comes into this less than 18 months removed from a loss in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where he impressed with his exciting style. We suspect the physicality of Tomomatsu will be the difference maker here, but the styles of the men should really gel to give us something of a thrilling, and brutal 8 round war.
The other bout of note on this card will see JBC ranked Featherweight Kimihiro Nakagawa (8-5-2, 4) battle against Tamaki Miwa (8-7-1, 1). On paper Nakagawa will be the favourite here, but he has really been struggling the last few years and he is 3-4-1 in his last 8 bouts, going back 6 years. Miwa on the other hand has won his last 2, but is 2- in his last 5, and hasn't looking too threatening in the ring, with a lack of power, and a questionable chin. The winner of this will take a step towards a Japanese title fight, but in reality neither is even close to being ready for one.
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
As well as the action in Asia, we'll also see a notable bout in Australia, as former Filipino world title challenger Juan Miguel Elorde (29-2, 15) takes on unbeaten Australian hopeful Sam Goodman (11-0, 6), in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental and WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight titles. Elorde has fought just once since being stopped by Emanuel Navarrete in September 2019, and now aged 35 we can't help but think we've seen the best of him. Goodman on the other hand will be returning to the ring for the first time since beating Japan's Fumiya Fuse in May, and looks to be heading towards bigger and better things. Aged 23 Goodman is not the complete article, but is certainly developing fight by fight and should have too much for Elorde at this point in time.
City Hall Ground, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
This coming Tuesday our attention turns to Thailand, for a notable show, headlined by a rematch that is now on it's third date this and also features a major step up for a prospect taking on a former world champion.
The main event of the card will see WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (37-1, 23) taking on former champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-1, 19), in a much anticipated rematch between the two men who fought back in 2020. In their first bout we saw a great performance from both men, with the judges narrowly giving the win to Panya, to end Wanheng's notable, and lengthy, unbeaten run. It was assumed that would be the end for Wanheng, who has instead bounced back with a single win and will now be determined to avenge his sole loss. As for the champion this is a great chance to solidify his reign, and prove he didn't need a little bit of luck from the judges when the two men first met. Notably this bout has been pencilled in for January and February, and is now on its third date this year, fingers crossed it won't be postponed again. Our in depth preview of this bout, which was written ahead of the original January date for the bout, can be read here Panya and Wanheng clash again for WBC crown!
The main support bout for the show will see novice Peerapol Boonchauy (1-0) take on former world champion Suriyan Satorn (61-13, 41), also known as Kompayak Porpramook, in a huge step up in class. Aged 22 Peerapol debuted last November, beating Chaiwat Buatkrathok, and is now stepping up to face someone who once held the WBC Light Flyweight title. Whilst this is a huge step up, it should be noted that Peerapol is a naturally bigger, much younger fighter, and at 39 Suriyan is now little more than a trial horse for Thai prospects, than a real threat. Even with that in mind however, Peerapol will have to answer some genuine questions posed by the veteran here.
Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
The main show this coming Tuesday is in Thailand where we'll see a world title fight, and a former world champion.
The world title fight will see WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (36-1, 20) defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on fellow Thai Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (9-2, 5). For Panya this will be his second fight since winning the title, almost a year ago, but his first defense and sadly it's a thoroughly under-whelming one as he takes on someone who can only be described as professional novice. Danai has got some promise, but that's all it is, some promise. He's not anywhere close to world level, and we'd be very surprised if he was able to win even a minute of bout, before being stopped in the middle rounds. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here WBC king Panya set for first defense, faces fellow Thai!
Also reportedly set for this card is Wanheng Menayothin (54-1, 18), who is expected to fight in a bit of a tune up bout before a potential rematch with Panya in the new year. His opponent has sadly not been announced for this show, but we're hoping for someone sturdy enough to give the former WBC world champion a few rounds and let him shake some ring rust.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the action in Thailand there will also be a small card in Japan, as Dangan put on one of their fun 4 round shows.
Whilst none of the bouts are big news, we are exciting to see Michiaki Eguchi (0-0) and Kenta Kawakami (0-0) clash in an all debutant bout at 105lbs. Eguchi is a 23 year old whilst Kawakami is 19, and given their youth, plus the fact this is a bout between debutants, we are expecting a wild and exciting tear up here.
There's also a female bout on this card as Kagishippo Sachi (0-0) takes on Natsuki Tamagawa (0-0). This is another 4 rounder, but it's interesting to see two women facing off, especially given that neither is a youngster. Sachi is 34 coming in to this bout, and will need to be moved quickly if she's going to fight in bouts of any significance in the future, whilst Tamagawa is 27, and no spring chicken herself.
This coming Friday is set to be an interesting day for Asian boxing. We have a massively significant world title bout in Thailand, and two unbeaten Central Asian hopefuls in action in the US. Despite that we don't have much else. It's certainly quality over quantity here!
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The title bout in question comes from Nakhon Ratchasima and will be the 13th time two Thai's have clashed in a world title bout, dubbed a "Bloodline Battle". This will be the first in more than a decade, and promises to be an excellent match up.
In one corner is unbeaten WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18), the longest reigning world champion in men's boxing and the man who's unbeaten record is longer than that of Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the opposite corner is hungry, powerful and heavy handed challenger Panya Pradabsri (34-1, 22), who is getting a chance to prove himself in a major all-Thai bout. For the champion the bout will be his 13th defense in just over 6 years, and a win may well see him ride off into the sunset with a 55-0 record. As for the challenger this is his chance to grab the proverbial torch of Thai boxing, along with the WBC title and really make a name for himself. This is as big a bout in Thailand as we've seen in a very long time. Our full, in depth preview of this bout can be read here Wanheng and Panya clash in 13th Bloodline Battle
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
As well as the bout in Thailand we also have two central Asian hopefuls looking to move their careers forward on a Matchroom USA card in Florida.
One of those hopefuls with be Kazakh Welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov (9-0, 5), who takes on former unified world champion Julius Indongo (23-2, 12) in a bout for the IBF Inter-Continental Welterweight title. For the unbeaten Yeleussinov, a 2016 Olympic gold medal winner, the bout is a huge step up in class and this should be a chance for him to get a notable scalp on his record, even if Indongo is a long way removed from the fighter he once was. As for Indongo the Namibian former world champion will know he's being viewed as a stepping stone here, but may well have enough left in the tank to ask real questions of the talented "Kazakh Thunder". The only men to have beaten Indongo so far are Terence Crawford and Regis Prograis, and a win for the Kazakh will see him moved towards a world title fight in 2021 or 2022.
The other Central Asian on this card is hard hitting Azeri Heavyweight Mahammadrasul Majidov (2-0, 2), who takes on unbeaten Puerto Rican Sahret Delgado (8-0, 7). On paper this looks like a good step up in class for Majidov, but the 34 year old really needs to make a move next year, before he's essentially aged out of contention of ever getting a chance. Delgado's record looks pretty, but in reality his competition has been dire and he's taking a leap up in class. We're expecting a win for Majidov, but sadly we don't imagine this will be the big boost forward that his career needs. Instead he needs a big bout in 2021 if his career is going to take off in the way many had hoped, and in the way Azeri boxing really needs.
October 25th-Wanheng takes on Konkco
This coming Friday isn't a massive day, but there are some interesting bouts set to take place, including a world title bout and two contests with promising young hopefuls.
The main bout is the world title fight and sees unbeaten Thai Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) return to the ring to defend his WBC Minimumweight title against mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), from South Africa. Wanheng enters the bout as the longest reigning active, male, champion in the sport having held his title since November 2014. A win here will extend his reign beyond 5 years and the plan is to make his US debut next year. For Konkco the bout will be his second bout for a major world title, following a loss in a WBA title bout, and a loss here could leave "Chain Reaction" in the "who needs him?" club. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Wanheng Menayothin clashes with mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco
In Canada we'll see fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (9-0, 8) take on veteran Johnny Navarrete (33-15-2, 15). The 21 year old Akhmedov has been out of the ring since June, when he beat Daniel Vega Cota, and has managed to get married in his break away from the ring. This is a soft return for Akhmedov, with Navarrete being a limited though experienced foe, and it seems likely that Akhmedov will be back in action in December, when Eye of the Tiger Management return to the Bell Center.
Also in North America will be a bout for talented Filipino youngster Mike Plania (21-1, 11), who takes on 33 year old journeyman Julio Buitrago (13-19-0-2, 3). Given how talented Plania is, we think it's a real shame the 22 year old isn't getting better bouts than this. He has proven he can hold his own with good fighters, and he was very competitive with Juan Carlos Payano, so why he is being matched with Buitrago is a mystery. Buitrago is a rugged enough fighter to get some rounds with, having only been stopped 4 times in 34 bouts, but with only 1 win in the last 10 years this is pointless. The most interesting thing about Buitrago is his 2010 bout with Nestor Maradiaga, which ended in a rare double DQ for "not fighting".
This coming Friday features 2 notable shows, one of which will end a saga that has dragged on for over 2 months with some frustrating moments and the other being a lesser notable, though perhaps more interesting, card.
After months of rescheduling we finally see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) face off with former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) in what will be their second bout. This was originally scheduled for early March, then late March then April and finally the end of May. It's a bout that we're looking forward to, given that Fukuhara gave Wanheng fits in their first bout, but are thoroughly annoyed by, due to all the scheduling changes. Wanheng, although still unbeaten, has looked more and more beatable in recent years but has found a way to maintain his winning run and title. Fukuhara on the other hand will likely know that he won't be getting too many more shots in the near future, and really needs to make the most of this. A full preview of this bout is available to read here Wanheng and Fukuhara battle again for WBC crown
As well as the world title show in Thailand we also have a compelling lesser card in Japan, where we get a number of faltering youngsters in action.
One of the most talented fighters on this card is the skilled but light punching Izuki Tomioka (5-2-1, 1), who gave Masayoshi Nakatani fits in an OPBF title bout. The talented Tomioka will be up against Filipino journeyman Marbon Bodiongan (15-8-2, 11), in what should be a straight forward win for Tomioka, who desperately needs a victory after going winless in his last 3. The Filipino does usually come to fight, but will struggle with the movement of Tomioka.
On the subject of someone who desperately needs a victory Kiyohei Endo (2-2, 2), a former talented amateur, cannot possibly have another defeat at this stage of his career, but he's in hard against Daiki Maniwa (7-3-1, 4). Endo was touted when he turned professional but was shocking stopped by Piyanut Sintao, in what could be classed as a fluke, and he hasn't lived up to his talent since. Whilst Endo needs a win, he may not get it here, and Maniwa, who has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, will be looking to save his own career in what is a must win for both men.
On paper the best of the bouts will see Jin Miura (10-3-1, 1) battle against the talented, and exciting, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14), who is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Ryoichi Tamura in a Japanese title fight. It's hard to see anything but a Nakagawa win, but this should be a fairly entertaining contest, as most Nakagawa bouts are.
One other bout of some note will see the light punching Ryo Narizuka (9-8-1) battle against Seiya Fujikita (12-4, 5), in what should be an interesting bout though one that isn't likely to be particularly explosive.
February 22nd-Prospects in action!
This coming Friday out attention turns to Russia for the next RCC card, which features several notable fighters from across Asia.
One of those is Russian based Tajik Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (12-0, 8), who will be looking to make his first defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten 23 year old will be up against experienced Mexican Emanuel Lopez (29-9-1, 13), who has had mixed success in recent years, losing 3 of his last 5. If Yaqubov is as good as he has looked in recent bouts then we'd expect him to win here, and take a huge step towards a potential world title eliminator later in the year.
Unbeaten Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov (6-0, 5) had an interesting 2018, going 5-0 (4) but having a big asterisks over his biggest win, a 58 second victory over Eden Sonsona who looked like he didn't want to be in the ring. Umurzakoz will be up against Filipino Rimar Metuda (12-4-1, 7), who has proven himself as durable, though is 2-4-1 in his last 7 and is 0-3-1 outside of the Philippines. We suspect Metuda will put up a good effort against the Uzbek, but not really test him.
Unbeaten Kazakh Stanislav Kalitskiy (6-0, 3) will be risking his unbeaten record against Filipino Venson Delopere (6-3-4, 2). The 21 year old Kalitskiy scored 3 wins last year, including a notable one against Jestoni Autida, but it's unclear what he can really do in the ring and he should be tested here. Delopere is a 23 year old who has proven tricky to beat, but is winless outside of the Philippines. This should be a good test for Kalitskiy and we wouldn't be surprised to see him struggle at times with the Filipino.
Another Filipino on this card is Arnold Garde (10-6-3, 4), who will be up against unbeaten Russian fighter Mekhdi Abdurashedov (5-0, 2). The Russian really impressed last time out, stopping Filipino Prince Andrew Lauro in 5 rounds, and this bout seems to be a good step up for him. Garde has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, but is going to have travelled with some ambition. Sadly for Garde we don't question his desire, but we do doubt he has the skills to handle Abdurashedov
In Hungary fans a bout is scheduled between Russian born Azeri Roman Zakirov (8-0, 7) and Mexican foe Daniel Vega Cota (13-2-1, 10). The unbeaten Zakirov is a 22 year old who only turned professional a year ago but has been ultra active, with fights in Uzbekistan, Georgia and Russia and now looks to add Hungary to passport. Cota on the other hand has only fought outside of Mexico once and should be easy enough for the Azeri, given he has been stopped in both of his losses.
In Thailand we'll see unbeaten Thai hopeful Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (10-0, 4) battle against experienced Filipino Crison Omayao (24-18-4, 8) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title. This bout will be the Thai's first at 108lbs and it's hoped that he will show what he can really do at the new weight after looking less than great at Minimumweight.
A second title bout on this show will see Kanyarat Yoohanngoh (4-2, 2) take on Japanese fighter Umi Ishikawa (7-2, 5) for the OPBF silver Female Minimumweight title. This is a low key bout but the winner should find themselves moving towards some bigger and better fights in the near future.
Interestingly this Thai card will also feature Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) and Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) playing some part in the show, though the specifics of their appearances seem to be an exhibition or a live public training event rather than any kind of fight.
London, United Kingdom
In London we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek (3-0, 2) take a small step up in class as he takes on Lyuben Todorov (6-3, 2). The unbeaten prospect will be facing his first opponent with a winning record, but the Bulgarian is 0-3 outside of Bulgaria and isn't expected to be much of a threat for Zaurbek, who is scheduled to fight again a week later.
Japanese attention turns to Osaka this coming Friday where we get a domestic title fight and a couple of supporting bouts between Japanese and Korean fighters.
The Japanese title fight will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (32-9-2, 19) make his 5th defense as he takes on 2016 Rookie of the Year winner Akihiro Toya (8-4, 1). This looks like a stay busy defense for the 34 year old champion, who is on the verge of a world title fight, but any sort of slip up here could end those dreams. At 23 years old Toya is still maturing, but a loss earlier this year to Takumi Sakae doesn't bode well for him against someone as talented as Hisada. A full preview of this bout can be found here Hisada defends Japanese crown against youngster Toya!
One of the supporting bouts will see Japan's Yuki Takahashi (8-3, 4) battle against Korean rankled visitor Hwan Young Jo (5-5, 1). Takahashi has been stopped in his last 2 bouts and hasn't shown too much promise coming into this, but he will be favoured given he is the home fighter and has the better looking record. Jo on the other hand challenged for the Korean Super Featherweight title back in July, and will be looking to bounce back from a loss in that bout.
Another Japan Vs Korea bout will see the limited but hard hitting 23 year old Shota Asami (6-5, 4) battle against Hyun Joo Lee (2-0). Asami began his career 4-2 (4) but hasn't scored a stoppage in his last 5 bouts, whilst going 2-3. Lee is ranked by the KBF but his record doesn't seem to be complete on boxrec, with the KBF listing him as being 5-1-1 (4). If the KBF record is complete then we could be in for a fun fight between punchers, though how good he actually is, is unclear.
There's also a show in Thailand this coming Friday
The big talking point is that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) will be on the card in a stay busy bout, taking on Indonesian foe Tyson Lahagu (2-9-1, 2). The contest is supposed to be a tune up for the Thai ahead of a potential world title defense at the end of the year, and will see him stretching his record 52-0 as he looks to further increase his unbeaten record.
Although Wanheng and his unbeaten record will get much of the attention it also seems like we'll see OPBF silver Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (24-1, 13) defending his title against talented Filipino Dexter Alimento (13-4, 9), in a very good looking bout. This has the potential to be very exciting and very fun, and we wouldn't be surprised to see Alimento push the local all the way.
We'll see US based Tajik prospect Anvar Yunusov (5-0, 2) look to continue his rise through the ranks as he takes on Joshua Davis (11-3, 5). The unbeaten man debuted last year, in a match up against the experienced Justin Savi, and has been matched well so far, but this should be regarded as his best test to date. Davis has lost his last 2 bouts but at 27 he will have ambition to get his career back on track and should make for a compelling opponent for the Yusunov, who was a 3-time Olympian.
Johore Bahru, Malaysia
As well as the show in Japan there will also be a card in Malaysia.
One of the bouts on this card will see unbeaten local Adli Hafidz (3-0, 2) take on experienced Thai foe Yuttana Wongda (13-21, 9). The local fighter, aged 29, has been matched softly so far, and this should be considered as a step up in class, but a very manageable one. Yuttana has gone 2-10 in his last 12 bouts and we suspect he will come up short again here.
Nakhon Sawan, Thailand
Attention turns to Thailand this coming Wednesday as we see a fighter attempt to etch their name into history and another looking to move towards a second world title fight.
The fighter looking to etch their name in the history books is WBC Mnimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (50-0, 18), who will be looking to not only make his 10th defense of the WBC world title but also advance his record to 51-0. The unbeaten Thai veteran will be taking on Filipino challenger Pedro Taduran (12-1, 9), who takes a huge step up in class for his first world title bout. The champion has blown hot and cold in recent contests struggling with Melvin Jerusalem and Tatsuya Fukuhara but demolishing Leroy Estrada, but when he's on he is arguably the top fight at 105lbs, and certainly has a solid unbeaten run that, if he extends, goes ahead of Floyd Mayweather's “50-0”. As for the challenger, the 21 year old is riding a 6 fight winning streak, including a big win last time out against Jerry Tomogdan, himself a former Wanheng foe. The challenger will have confidence but this is a massive step up in class.
Also on this same show is Palangpol CP Freshmart (16-2, 9), who will be fighting for the third time this year. The former world title challenger, who dropped Kosei Tanaka, is 2-0 since losing his most notable bout to date and will be looking to step back up a level here before having a big fight near the end of 2018.
May 2nd-Wanheng battles Estrada!
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The main card this Wednesday comes from Thailand as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (49-0, 17) battles against mandatory challenger Leroy Estrada (16-2, 6). The bout will be Wanheng's 9th defense of the title, a title that he won back in 2014, and will also see him attempt to extend his unbeaten record to 50-0, a figure that would match Floyd Mayweather's record. The champion has shown some cracks recently, and looked less than great in defenses against Tatsuya Fukuhara and Melvin Jerusalem last year. At 32 years old the Thai is getting on for a Minimumweight but does look like there might be another few fights left in him. At 23 years old Estrada is a young gun striving for the top, and is coming into this bout on the back of 4 straight wins including one over Saul Juarez. Sadly for Estrada this is a huge step up in class for him, even from the likes of Juarez, and given his style it's hard to really see him making the most of Wanheng's flaws.
In a supporting bout fans will see Petchmanee Kokietgym (19-1, 11) battle against Melianus Mirin (9-4, 6) in a bout for OPBF "silver" Minimumweight title. For Petchmanee this will be his second bout since he lost to Xiong Zhao Zhong in a battle for the WBA “interim” world title. Questions however need to be asked as to how Mirin qualifies for this fight given his lack of notable wins, and recent loss to Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart.
We'll also get title action in the Philippines, as the once beaten Clyde Azarcon (12-1, 4) battles against Bonjun Loperez (10-8-1, 5) for the vacant PBF Minimumweight title. Azarcon suffered a loss in his second bout, but has since reeled off 11 straight wins and looked pretty good doing them. Despite his winning run Azarcon has got questions to answer, and he'll be looking to answer some of them here against the more experienced Loperez. The 24 year old Loperez has won 1 of his last 7, but has been matched hard against the likes of Christian Araneta, Lester Abutan, Rene Mark Cuarto and John Paul Bentoso. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but in reality it should be a very good test for Azarcon.