This coming weekend is a pretty big one with notable Asian's fighting in the Philippines and in the US and it's a day where a number of fighters are expected to be given a real test.
The biggest Asian show of the weekend is the next in the ALA line of “Pinoy Pride” cards and it looks to be a genuinely good looking one with a number of top prospects in action, some of which are being given a serious test, their first since turning professional.
The main event doesn't appear to be one of those testing bouts as Super Bantamweight sensation Albert Pagara (25-0, 18) defends his WBO Inter-Continental title against Yesner Talavera (15-3-1, 4). Pagara's team had hoped to secure a high profile opponent for their man but unfortunately ended up with Talavera after negotiations broke down with a former world champion. This should be a straight forward win for Pagara who may well be getting a world title fight later this year.
Another man who isn't taking a major step up on this card is the incredibly promising Mark Magsayo (12-0, 10), who faces Eduardo Montoya (17-4-1, 13) for the WBO Youth Featherweight title. This looks likely to be win #13 for Magsayo though the plan is to then move him into a much bigger bout, against former world title challenger Chris Avalos, in what would be a major step up in class for the 20 year old.
Another notable Filipino prospect on this card is Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (2-0, 2) who is stepping up to the 8 round distance for the first time. The hotly tipped 20 year old will be up against Tony Rodriguez (3-1, 1) in what looks like a straight forward win for the youngster, though we may see Cataraja's stamina being given a test here. If he's as good as advertised he may well be in 10 rounders by the end of the year and could well be future gem of Filipino boxing scene.
One youngster who is stepping up massively on this card is the heavy handed Melvin Jerusalem (8-0, 7) who doesn't so much "step up" as leap up to face former world champion Florante Condes (29-7-1, 23). This is a real gut check for Jerusalem and whilst Condes isn't the fighter he once was he is still a whole different universe to Jerusalem's previous opposition.
Another fighter moving up in a similar manner is Elmo Traya (10-1, 8) who faces former OPBF champion Romeo Jakosalem (16-11-1, 8). Traya is currently on a 9 fight winning streak however this sees him stepping up to a level that he hasn't even come close to in the past. Jakosalem has seen better days but is still heavy handed and isn't a push over, despite 3 losses in his last 4.
Another really intriguing bout is the debut of 28 year Singaporean amateur stand out Muhamad Ridhwan (0-0) who faced unbeaten local Melchor Roda (3-0, 3). This look like an interesting match up on paper and although Roda hasn't faced a fighter of any note yet he may see this as a chance to get a notable win under his belt. For Ridhwan this is a check of his professional ability straight from the off. A really good looking match up.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines will be taking place in Metro Manila and will feature a number of promising fighters taking part in what appears to be mismatches.
The main event will see the once beaten Randy Braga (17-1-1, 4), who was really unlucky to actually suffer that loss in South Africa, defending the GAB Featherweight title against the experienced but limited Danilo Pena (27-22-4, 11). Pena has been around the block but has gone 1-10-2 in his last 13 bouts and is unlikely to pose a threat to Braga, who is genuine a promising fighter. Although Braga should win we can't see this one ending in a stoppage given that Braga is a proven survivor with just a couple of stoppage losses in his 53 fight career.
The support bout features another once beaten fighter, Rene Patilano (14-1-2, 7) battling against the limited Jopher Marayan (7-8-2, 3) in what looks like a foregone conclusion over 10 rounds. That bout is one of two 10-round bouts with the other being a contest between the feather fisted Jay Loto (10-0-1) and the testing Vincent Bautista (4-3-3, 1), interestingly this could be a solid test for Loto.
Busan, South Korea
In Busan the KBC will be sanctioning an 8 bout card, headlined by a KBC title fight and supported by two bouts featuring international fighters.
The title bout will see defending KBC 140lb champion Woo Shin Kim (6-1-3, 2) battle against Dong Hee Kim (4-1-1, 1)*. This looks like a well matched bout on paper and sees the champion return to fighting his homeland following a draw in Vietnam against Nguyen Ngoc Hai last October.
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Dong Hoon Yook (8-0, 4)* battle against well travelled Indonesian Hero Tito (11-9-1, 3),who adds Korea the list of countries where he has fought. Although not a top fighter Tito has mixed in decent company, and actually fought Ik Yang to a majority decision and is 1-1-1 with countryman Roy Mukhlis. Notably Yook is the current KBC Lightweight champion and seems to be viewed as one of their most promising fighters so it's hard to see him losing this one.
The other notable international bout sees the exciting Hyun Woo Yuh (2-0, 2)* battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (14-8-2, 3). The visitor is 2-6 in his last 8 bouts and whilst he has mixed with better fighters than Yuh it is hard to see him over-coming the Korean youngster, who does appear to be genuinely heavy handed.
In the US fans get another chance to see the best of the active Korean fighters, Min Wook Kim (14-1, 11). The once beaten “Snyper” will be facing off against Mexican Jose Luis Rodriguez (17-8, 10) and it's hard to see this being anything other than another easy win for the Korean, who has needed just 7 rounds to see off his last 3 foes. Hopefully another impressive performance here will see Kim move towards getting a real chance to prove himself against a worthy adversary.
On a card in Australia we'll see a peculiar 5 rounder as the win-less Sarawut Patsawatho (0-2), originally from Thailand, faces James Katz (3-1, 1). It's unlikely that Sarawut will claim his first win here, especially given that this is his first boxing contest in over 2 years, but we suspect he will put up a solid effort Katz, who was beaten last time out.
*Records taken from the KBC, boxrec list Dong Hee Kim as being 1-0-1, Dong Hoon Yook as being 4-0 (3) and Hyun Woo Yuh as being 4-0 (4). Strangly Yuh's 4-0 (4) is probably right with the KBC not recognising two bouts he fought outside of their control.