This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for fights involving Asian fighters, but it is a pretty interesting day with thanks to other fights, including the Heavyweight debut of Oleksandr Usyk.
On the same card as Usyk's Heavyweight debut will be a WBA Light Heavyweight world title defense for Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11), who takes on the unheralded Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15). On paper this isn't the bout that Bivol, and his fans, would have wanted but it should still be a good test against a big, talented and tough challenger. Castillo isn't well known, but has never been stopped and gave Marcus Browne a really competitive test. Bivol will, obviously, be strongly favoured here but he will have to work hard for the win against a capable, yet relatively obscure, challenger. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Will Bivol be tested by unheralded Castillo?
The biggest Asian card for the day takes place Kazakhstan as MTK go to Almaty for a pretty notable, yet not hugely exciting, show.
The main event here will see the hard hitting and unbeaten Ali Baloyev (9-0, 7) take on Venezuelan veteran Gusmyr Perdomo (26-9, 17). Baloyev is a genuine one to watch, and on paper this is a credible step up in class for him, after a string of relative limited opponents. Despite that it does need noting that Perdomo is now 42 and it's more than a decade ago that he fought Mikkel Kessler. Perdomo was once a solid fighter but now he's an old man and will have to rely on wiles to survive with Baloyev.
In an 8 round support bout we'll see Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (6-0, 4) likely pick up a straight forward win as he takes on Georgian Sandro Jajanidze (5-19-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Shegaliyev, but Jajanidze is a tough, rugged guy and could well see out the distance with the Kazakh prospect.
Arguably the pick of the bouts will see Chinese-Kazakh fighter Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5) take on Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). On paper this is a horrible mismatch, but paper only tells half the story and Ponteras is an upset minded Filipino who travels to win, and he will be here looking to end the unbeaten run of his foe. Whilst Ponteras was stopped last time out, by Seiya Tsutsumi, we still expect to see a gutsy, determined and rough effort from him and this could be a much better fight than it looks on paper.
Others on this card include unbeaten hopefuls Nurtas Azhbenov (6-0, 2), Hurshid Tojibaev (2-0, 1) and the debuting pair of Nurdos Tolebay (0-0) and Miras Ali Sarsenov (0-0). These 4 are tipped for big things, especially Tojibaev and Sarsenov who both had very strong amateur careers, and it's going to be interesting to follow their progress. Sadly however MTK aren't known for pushing their prospects quickly, and it could be a while until we see any of these talented fighters given a serious test.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we'll see a small yet noteworthy card.
In the main event we'll see former world title challenger Denver Cuello (38-5-6, 26) take on Jesse Espinas (19-4, 11) in an IBO world title eliminator. Cuello has only fought 3 times in the last 4 years and although he's not the fighter he once was the 32 year old southpaw is still a very dangerous and will know that a win will open doors for him. Espinas on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats and will know that another loss here will be hard to bounce back from. A very interesting match up
One of the other notable bouts here will see Cris Alfante (17-7-1, 9) take on Mateo Handig (15-19, 9). The 27 year old Alfante has reeled off 3 straight stoppage wins since his last loss, to Ardin Diale, and despite his less than stellar record he is 6-1 since a June 2016 loss to Andrew Moloney. Handig is no push over, but with 3 straight losses, and only 3 wins since an upset loss over Katsunari Takayama back in 2012, he's not expected to be competitive here.
In a more interesting bout on the same card we'll see the unbeaten Ranelio Quizo (6-0, 1) take on Ronel Dela Cruz (6-1-1, 4). The 21 year old Quizo is unbeaten since his debut in early 2018 but this is a step up in class for him. On the hand Dela Cruz is 1-1-1 in his last 3, but is certainly no push over, he was just unlucky to face April Jay Abne last time out in a Ultimate Boxing Series bout, with Abne winning the tournament this past August. This is a really, really match up.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to be headlined by a match up between will see the hard hitting, but technically flawed, Joepher Montano (10-5-2, 9) take on former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-7-1, 5). Given that Suganob's biggest bout to date took place at 122lbs it's hard to see what he has to offer at 140lbs, the weight for this bout.
Yanggu, South Korea
Another Asian card will take place in South Korea, and this is another less than great card.
The main event will see unbeaten Korean fighter Hye Soo Park (5-8-1, 1) take on Chinese visitor Jinyan Gao (2-1) in a bout for the WIBA Super Flyweight title. The Korean took the bout on short notice, after the unbeaten Soo Rin Kim was forced to pull out of the bout with around 10 days notice due to a back issue, and is likely to be too small for the naturally bigger Chinese fighter.
A second title fight will see Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2) make his first defense of the KBM Welterweight title, as he takes on Hae Myung Jung (3-1-1, 1). Jun won the title last time out, when he defeated Dong Young Kang over 10 rounds, but didn't really blow anyone away with his performance. The challenge was actually held to a draw last time out, when he failed to get past Gi Won Shin. This should be competitive, but it's hard to get too excited about the contest, and it showed how much the Korean scene needs to work together to have a decent domestic title picture.
New South Wales, Australia
At the East Cessnock Bowling Club in New South Wales we see two Indian fighters in action.
One of those Indian fighters is the unbeaten Sagar Narwat (9-0-1, 3), who takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Troy O'Meley (9-0, 2) in a good looking bout, but one that perhaps isn't as interesting as it looks. Narwat began his career in the Philippines, but his last 6 bouts have been in India and have all been against very limited opposition. O'Meley has also faced mostly limited opposition, though he got through a bit of a gut check last time out when he was pushed hard in a 6 rounder against Isaac Buckley. This looks good, and may turn out to be good, but really both men have mostly padded their records.
The other Indian on this card is Shivani Dahiya (1-1) who is up against it here, as she takes on Bianca Elmir (4-1, 3). On paper this doesn't look much of a mismatch, but Elmir ran Shannon O'Connell close just 2 fights ago and should have way too much for Dahiya here.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia we'll see once beaten local Tyson Lantry (7-1, 3) take on Filipino visitor Rodynie Rafol (13-7-2, 6), on a separate show in New South Wales. This bout, for the lightly regarded WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch and we would be surprised by anything but a win for the local. Coming in Lantry has won his last 6, since a stoppage loss in his second pro-bout, whilst Rafol has lost 2 of his last 3, and has only had 1 win since 2015. Notably however Rafol's only recent win was an upset in Australia against James MacDonald, over a year ago.
Gimhae, South Korea
The most notable show of the day comes from Korea, where the we get top Korean female fighter making a defense of one of her titles.
The aforementioned female fighter is Hee Jung Yuh (20-3, 10), who will be defending her WBF Intercontinental Female Super Flyweight title against Thai foe Saowaluk Nareepangsri (7-14, 1). Yuh is an interesting and skilled fighter, though she is well below elite level, and her only loss in the last 10 years has come to Naoko Fujioka. Despite only losing once in 10 years her competition, Fujioka aside, has been appalling. Saowaluk has lost her last 5, including 3 by stoppage. She's very much a fight who will travel to pick up a loss, and that seems to be the case again here as she returns to Korea for the fourth time in her career, still seeking her first win in the country.
There will also be a bout featuring Seung Ho Lee (4-0, 4). Lee will battle for the WBF Asia Pacific Welterweight title as he takes on Thai visitor Girapan Boonpeng (4-1, 4), who was last seen losing inside a round to Rivo Kundimang in Indonesia in November. We'll get a chance to compare Lee to Kundimang, but that's about the only thing this bout will actually do.
As well as the title action in Korea there will also be a small, yet noteworthy, card in Osaka featuring two bouts of interest.
In a bout that genuinely excites us we'll see the inform Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) take on the once touted Naoto Iwai (5-2, 3). Coming in to this Kenji has won his last 5 by stoppage, including big wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. That winning run has taken him from 5-3 to 10-3 and he's quickly climbing up the rankings towards a potential title fight. Iwai was tipped highly as a prospect from Hyogo but the youngster suffered back to back defeats in 2017 and he's yet to really recover from those set backs. He's notched a couple of wins over Thai's since suffering his defeats but this is a clear step up, and it feels like Morioka will be looking to see if he sinks or swims against someone as good as Kenji.
The other bout of note will see 2016 Rookie of the Year runner up Hibiki Jogo (7-2, 4) take on Tricky Kumagai (9-8, 6). The 25 year old Jogo was stopped in 4 rounds in the Rookie of the Year final and was also stopped last time out, by Yoshihiro Utsumi, suggesting that perhaps he's lacking in durability. Kumagai has also been stopped, in fact 4 of his 8 losses have been inside the distance, and he is 2-6 in his last 8, meaning he can ill afford another loss here. This isn't a massive fight for the Japanese domestic scene, but is massive for both fighters, who will have a long road to climb if they come up short here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get a small card, expected to be headlined by the unbeaten Marlon Paniamogan (8-0-1, 5) taking on Jimmy Borbon (7-6-4, 4). This is a less than great match up, but the card looks like it will feature a bunch of more recognisable names.
Listed for the show are Wilbert Berondo (12-3-2, 5), Juan Miguel Elorde (26-1, 14), Arvin Magramo (8-1-1, 5) and Delmar Pellio (5-0, 3). Sadly none of those fighters have had their opponents named at the time of writing.
Kazakh fans get the chance to end the year on a high with a number of their fighters in action on a special card promoted by the Astana Arlans and Qazaq Promotions. The show will be free to attend, but sadly the level of bouts is a bit of a mystery.
Whilst full details on this card haven't been announced we do know that is it will feature Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6), Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5), Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2), Ablaikhan Khussainov (9-0, 6) and Ruslan Myrsataev (5-0, 5), all of whom likely to be up against limited opponents in what we suspect will be little more than show case bouts.
This coming Friday is a pretty big day in Asian boxing, with a female world title bout in Japan and the US debut of a notable Japanese hopeful.
The female world title fight will take place at the Korakuen Hall on a small but interesting card.
That title fight will see Japanese female star Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) defending her WBA Female Flyweight title against interim champion Irma Sanchez (30-7-1, 8) of Mexico. The talented Fujioka, the first ever 5 weight world champion from Japan, is a veteran at 43 years old but is the golden girl of Japanese boxing and is widely regarded as one of the top pound for pound female fighters. Aged 30 the Mexican challenger won the interim title last time out, narrowly defeating Brenda Ramos, and is an accomplished world class fighter who has faced a number of top foes, including Jessica Chavez, Carina Moreno and Mariana Juarez in her 12 year career. We suspect Fujioka will come out on top, but this is a genuinely tough match up and should be a really good test of what Fujioka has left.
The best of the supporting bouts on this card is a mouth watering domestic clash, as veteran Takafumi Nakajima (29-10-1, 13) takes on under-rated youngster Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4). Last time out Nakajima pushed Mark John Yap all the way in an OPBF Bantamweight title fight and us a proven quantity around title level, with notable contests against the likes of Shingo Wakes, Kinshiro Usui, Kosuke Saka, Hidenori Otake and Jonathan Baat. Although a proven fighter Nakajima is now 34 and it's unclear much longer he can go on.
Another under-card bout of some inter-rest will bee between Yutaka Motoyoshi (7-12, 5) and Ryuto Araya (11-7-1, 3). The 30 year old Motoyoshi has lost 4 of his last 5, including his last 3, and will know that he cannot afford another loss if he's to move his career to the next level. Also aged 30 Araya was once regarded as a promising fighter, but has himself struggled recently, losing in an OPBF title fight last year and suffering back to back loss to Tatsuya Otsubo. Whilst neither of these men will be competing at world level before they retire, both will come into this fight with belief they can win and that should give us a good contest.
In California we see two Asian fighters in action.
The more notable of the two is Japanese Light Welterweight hopeful Hiroki Okada (18-0, 13), who is a former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific champion and is currently the owner of several world rankings. The Japanese fighter, who recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank, will be making his US debut as he takes on Argentinian fighter Cristian Rafael Coria (27-6-2, 11). Amazingly this bout will Okada's first outside of the Korakuen Hall but it does appear that he's been matched safely so he can get a win on the road and then begin going through the final stages before a world title fight. The 35 year old Coria is a 12 year veteran who has never been stopped, but has lost to a number of recognisable names, such as Paulus Moses, Daud Yordan and Custio Clayton. Okada should win, but it's less about the result and more about whether he can impress Top Rank enough to push him straight into a world title bout, or whether he will have wait to get his shot at a world title.
On the same card fans will be able to see touted American Jamel Herring (17-2, 10) take on Filipino prospect John Vincent Moralde (20-1, 10). Herring was a 2012 US Olympian who had been touted as a potential professional star, but he has lost 2 of his last 4, suffering a 10th round TKO to Denis Shafikov and a 10 round unanimous decision Ladarius Miller. Moralde has promised a lot, and he finally lived up to that promise last time out, when he defeated Ismail Muwendo over 8 rounds. If Moralde can put it together again here he'll give his career a huge boost, and claim the USBA Super Featherweight title.
A second card with some interest comes from Pennsylvania as unbeaten Kazakh Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (6-0, 2) battles against Yasmani Pedroso (2-4, 1), in what looks like a straight forward win for the unbeaten 26 year old. Tazhibay has had some fanfare, but inactivity in 2017 and 2018 has really hampered his development, much like mismatches like this. We hope to see him face better competition shortly, but at this rate it looks like it could take a long time before he faces someone of any note.
It's not just Japanese and Filipino fight with something to get excited about as Chinese fans in Zhengzhou also get a notable card with a couple of title fights and a couple of interesting looking support bouts.
The main event will see the unbeaten Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (13-0-1, 5) take on Filipino visitor Eranio Semillano (16-8-3, 5) in a bout for the WBA Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title. The unbeaten local will be looking to make his first defense of the title, which he won in April by stopping Conrado Tanamor, but is facing one of the most notable opponents of his career. The 26 year old Semillano is no world beater but is a solid opponent on his day, as shown with wins over the likes of Wilbert Berondo. Sadly for Semillano he doesn't seem to have the consistency needed to score good wins on a regular basis, and it's hard to imagine him putting it together against Nihemaituola.
Another title bout will see Youli Dong (12-0-1, 8) battle Adam Diu Abdulhamid (12-6, 5), in what will be Dong's first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Welterweight title. The unbeaten Chinese drew in his debut but has built fantastically afterwards claiming a couple of WBO regional titles along the way. Although Dong failed to score a stoppage in his first 4 bouts he has stopped 8 of his last 9 and looks to be building the tools he needs for a bright future. On the other hand Abdulhamid was touted as an amateur but has failed to come good, losing 3 of his last 4, and it's unlikely a bout on the road against a hard hitting Welterweight prospect will be good for his career.
Talking about fighters who were once touted it's good to see that Chinese Light Heavyweight Peng Qu (12-2-1, 8) will be returning to the ring 10 months after a surprise loss in China to Gasan Gasanov. The Chinese local has been inactive since losing to Gasanov last November but will be looking to bounce back with a win here, as he takes on Tanzanian visitor Benson Mwakyembe (11-4-1, 6), who should be an easy comeback opponent. Mwakyembe has been stopped in 3 of his last 5 and is naturally smaller than the Chinese fighter, who will likely be looking for a quick blowout.
An interesting support bout here will see Mongolian debutant Tsendbaatar Tsendbaatar (0-0) face off with Joseph Omana (12-5-1, 6) in a 6 round bout. We're unsure about Tsendbaatar's background, though we always love to see Mongolian fighters in action so we hope his bout against his Chinese based Filipino foe will be available online. Coming in to this one Omana has lost his last 4, and is without a win in a little over a decade! Despite that he is still only 28.
There will also be Japanese action in Germany, as former WBC Light Flyweight title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (19-6-1, 12) takes on promising German prospect Mirco Martin (12-0, 6) in a Flyweight bout. Kakutani was once a promising fighter but losses in his 3 most significant bouts doesn't bode well for him here, especially given he's now 33 and has been inactive for over a year. Martin comes into this bout on a good run of results, including a bit win last time out against former world title contender Jose Antonio Jimenez.
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.
The Chinese scene has shown some promise in recent years, and would love to see that moment continue over the next few years, as the country is a potential sleeping giant in the world of professional boxing. Sadly though it looks likely to remain a sleeping giant until promoters are able to really unearth some big time prospects on a regular basis.
This coming Saturday sees two promising local fighters in action,though whether they will kick start the revolution in Chinese fighter is yet to be seen.
One of those, in fact the main in the main event of the card, is 25 year old prospect Yongqiang Yang (8-0, 6) who will be looking to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight as he takes on Indonesian foe Robert Kopa Palue (14-6-3, 4), who's most notable loss was a 9th round TKO loss to Hiroshige Osawa way back in 2012. Yang has shown a lot of promise, with a 3-0 (1) run in 2017 and should over-come the visitor here, but will need to take a huge step up if international fans are going to take note of him by the end of the year.
The other really promising local in action on this show is unbeaten Bantamweight Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (11-0-1,3), who at 23 has a lot of time to develop and mature. The Chinese hopeful went 3-0 (2) in 2017, seemingly finding his power, and will be looking to score a third straight stoppage as he takes on Indonesian journeyman Ichal Tobida (13-23-1, 8). Tobida is an out and out journeyman, travelling to Thailand to pick up losses on a regular basis, though did manage to score a very notable 6 round draw with the once promising Iwan Zoda. It's hard to imagine Tobida getting anything at all out of this, but it will be interesting to see how Nihemaituola deals with him.
This coming Friday fight fans in Zhongshan will get a relatively low key card, but one with a few interesting looking bouts.
One of those bouts will see Filipino Engelbert Moralde (10-5, 6) take on unbeaten Chinese fighter Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (10-0-1, 2). The visitor has lost 3 of his last 5, including losses in a couple of visits to Japan, and has never won outside of the Philippines. Although not a notable name in Chinese boxing, yet, Nihemaituola has been building a bit of a reputation and looks like a potential hidden gem for Chinese boxing, especially given that he's only 23. A win here won't turn the Chinese fighter into a star but will help to enhance his reputation as a genuine Chinese prospect.
In a battle for the WBO China Zone Featherweight title fans will see Yu Che Li (3-1-1, 2) take on Da Xu (3-0, 1). Neither of these man have much name value, but both will be up for a fight as they both seek their first professional titles. Li, from Taiwan, claimed his most notable victory back in September when he scored a TKO win over Richard Garcia and will be looking to build on that. Aged 18 Xu is a boxing baby but does seem to be slowly developing and has done well since debuting just over 13 months ago. Interestingly Xu's last bout was also a TKO win over Garcia, and prior to that he had claimed two majority decisions. This isn't going to make waves, but could be a very interesting match up
A second WBO China Zone title fight comes at Light Flyweight, as the unbeaten pairing of Rongguo Wu (4-0-2, 1) and Lemen Chao (6-0) face off for the vacant title. So far in his career Wu has had struggles in almost all of his bouts. He scored a stoppage on debut but has gone the distance in his 5 subsequent bouts, with 4 of them being very close, including his two draws. It's hard to get a read on those results, given they all came against fellow Chinese novices. Chao has never scored a stoppage, and like Wu has some close wins, but does clear advantages in being the much taller man and a southpaw. This could be a very fun fight or a very frustrating one.
One other bout of interest here will see former world title challenger Noldi Manakane (32-23-2, 18) battling against unbeaten Chinese prospect Zhong Liu (10-0, 3). Liu has been impressive and won the Major League Boxing tournament at 122lbs earlier this year, and should see this as a chance to claim a win against a man with some name value, even if Manakane is way past his best.
Russian fans will get the chance to see a number of Asian fighters in action, in bouts of various significance.
The most important bout of the card will see Russia's Magomed Kurbanov (12-0, 9) take on Japan's Akinori Watanabe (35-6, 30) in about for the WBO International Light Middleweight title. The Russian enters the bout as the WBO #1 ranked fighter at 154lbs and although highly ranked has got a lot of questions to answer before getting a world title fight. It's unlikely that the 32 year old Watanabe will be able to ask too many questions of Kurbanov, but the power of Watanabe could see the Russian being given a chin check, if nothing else.
A second bout of some interest will see Tajik born Russian based Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (9-0, 6) battle against the very experienced Filipino Jaime Barcelona (40-61-1, 10). The unbeaten Yaqubov has stopped his last 3, including Daiki Ichikawa and Ernie Sanchez, and does look like a fighter with the potential to go places. Aged 40 Barcelona is unlikely to pose a serious threat to Yaqubov, but he is an upset minded fighter and comes into this on the back of a huge shock win over Eden Sonsona and is a very tough fighter, capable of giving decent fighters tough nights.
Another bout featuring a Filipino and an unbeaten fighter will see Roberto Gonzales (27-3, 17) take on Russia's Zaur Abdullaev (6-0, 4). Although this looks good on paper the reality is that Gonzales is very limited and has been stopped in all 3 of his losses, likely to become 4 here. Abdullaev is stepping up, in a pretty big way, but hasn't come close to losing yet and is unlikely to really be tested here.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We also get a bout of note in South Africa, as in form South African Lwandile Sityatha (23-3-1, 7) v looks to extend an unbeaten 8 fight winning run as he takes on Filipino Jake Bornea (12-2, 6). Sityatha has been a thorn in the side of Filipino boxing in recent times, with wins over Edrin Dapudong, Michael Dasmarinas and Ernesto Saulong and it's unlikely that the naturally smaller Bornea will be able to change that here.
We've had a few days break from boxing but this coming Friday we see action return to China where we get a relatively low key card from Jinan.
The biggest bout will see unbeaten Chinese hopeful Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (9-0-1, 1) go for his 6th successive victory. He'll be up against Thai veteran Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-16, 9), who is almost 12 years removed from a WBO Light Flyweight title against Hugo Fidel Cazares. In his prime Kaichon was a serviceable fighter, but nothing special. Now a days however however he is more than a decade from his last win and has been stopped in his last 7. The unbeaten Nihemaituola lacks power but should have too much of it for the Thai.
In a supporting 6 rounder we'll see Ziqiang Huo (2-0-1) battle against Weifang Li (3-4-1) in what should be a competitive match up, even if it's not hugely appealing on paper.
This coming Sunday we see action all across Asia in one of the busiest days of the year so far.
The main action for the day comes from Kumamoto in Japan, where fight fans get the chance to see a local star attempt to open the doors to some major fights.
That local star is the unheralded Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) who faces Mexican Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO Interim Minimumweight title, with the winner set to get a fight at regular champion Katsunari Takayama later in the year. Fukuhara has come a long way since suffering a defeat to the the debuting Takuma Inoue in 2013 and has gone 6-0-3 with wins over Takumi Sake and Genki Hanai to earn this shot, as well as draws with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and Shin Ono. Although Fukuhara is one of Japan's hidden gems he will be stepping up here to face a Mexican who is riding high following a win over Mario Rodriguez. Interesting Calleros has fought as high as 120 recently and will be fighting at 105lbs for the first time in over 7 years, so he's likely to be bigger and stronger that Fukuhara. Notably the Mexican has suffered a few poor losses and will be fighting outside of his homeland for the first time.
On the under-card we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Light Welterweight Ryusei Yoshida (29-8, 15) take on limited Thai Lekker Bangkok 2007 (0-3), in what should be an easy win for Yoshida. The Thai visit or has been stopped in all3 of his previous bouts, including loss last June to then debuting Kazuki Saito.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
In Cotabato del Sur we'll get a notable Filipino card.
One of those title bouts will see Lolito Sonsona (20-1-4, 9) face off with Renren Tesorio (15-9-3, 4) in a bout for the WBF Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Coming in to this Sonsona is on a 7 fight unbeaten streak, including a notable win over Bobby Concepcion. Whilst Sonsona has been in form the same cannot be said of his foe, with Tesorio having lost his last 3, including a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa.
A much better looking bout sees the under-rated Ben Mananquil (12-1-2, 3) take on Glenn Porras (29-5, 17) for the WBF International Bantamweight title. Mananquil is one of the hidden jewels of the Filipino boxing scene. His only loss was a controversial one in China it Jing Xiang and he was also controversially denied a win against Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym. Porras on the other hand Porras has been relatively inactive with just a 1-1 record in the last 4 years, he was however once a touted fighter and did show a lot of potential early on. This could be a very interesting match up.
In a WBF International Super Featherweight title bout we'll see the in form Eden Sonsona (35-6-2, 12) take on Jovany Rota (9-9, 6). Sonsona is 9-0-2 in his last 11, including a massive win in 2015 over Adrian Estrella, and although he fought only once last year he will be full of confidence coming into this bout. Rota on the other hand is a bit of a domestic journeyman and shouldn't provide much of a test for Sonsona.
Arguably the best of the bouts is an IBF Youth Super Flyweight title bout between the super talented Jade Bornea (6-0, 4) and once beaten puncher Raul Yu (9-1-2, 8). Bornea was an amateur standout, and holds a notable amateur win over Kosei Tanaka, but is stepping up as a professional here and Yu is certainly his biggest test since his pro debut in October 2014. Yu is a series puncher and although he has suffered a loss, a decision loss in February 2015, he is a dangerman who will be looking to make a point here. Coming into this Yu is unbeaten in 6 and will looking to claim his first professional title.
Also on this card will be world class Light Flyweight Randy Petalcorin (25-2-1, 18), who fights in a stay busy fight against compatriot Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7) in what should be an easy win for Petalcorin, who will have bigger fish to fry.
On a second card in the Philippines we'll see a less exciting series of fights.
In the main event we'll see the once beaten Pedro Taduran (9-1, 7) take on Jerome Clavite (6-3-2, 2). The 20 year old Taduran, nicknamed “Rattle Snake”, is a good puncher at domestic level but did suffer a loss 10 months ago to Joel Lino. Since that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins an will be looking to keep that run going here. Whilst Taduran is back to winning ways it's hard to really know where Clavite's career is going. He has won just once in his last 5, but has been matched against some very decent domestic competition and should be seen as a step up for Taduran in what could be a very good match up for both men.
In an under-card bout from this show fans will see Rex Tito (5-7-2, 2) battle Marlon Arcilla (8-5, 1) in a bout between limited guys. Tito will be returning to the ring following a break of more than 4 years. Prior to his sabbatical he had gone 0-7-1 in his previous 8, with set backs to the likes of Jerwin Ancajas and Giovnni Escaner. As for Arcilla,he has lost his last 3, though has been matched hard with bouts against Ryosyuke Iwasa and Reymart Gaballo. He should be strongly favoured here but a hungry Tito could make life tricky for the 22 year old Arcilla.
Gimhae City, South Korea
We're also set for some title action in South Korea courtesy of a KBA show.
The main event of the show will see former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (27-6-1, 21) battle against Thailand's Chatchai Or Benjamas (7-8, 6) (7-8, 6) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title. The bout will be Bae's first since his 4th round TKO loss last year to Rex Tso, 15 months ago, and see him entering on a 2-2 record in the last 24 months. Although talented at this level Bae's future, at the age of 37, looks to be very limited. On paper Chatchai has been in good form, winning 6 of his last 7, but his competition during that run has been awful with only Kevin Jake Cararaja being of any note, and he stopped Chatchai in 4 rounds last year.
The co-feature will see Hee Jung Yuh (17-3, 8) take on novice Nongkiat Saithonggym (1-1) in about for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Super Flyweight title. As with the other bout it's hard to see the local losing here with Yuh being a very solid fighter, even if that wasn't evident in her wide decision loss last year to Naoko Fujioka. The Thai, who possibly has an incomplete record, is best known for a 2011 stoppage loss to Yuko Kuroki and we don't imagine she'll see the distance here.
Amazingly there will also be action in China, though the show is relatively weak over-all.
The most notable of the bouts on the show will see the light hitting Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (8-0-1, 1) battle against Thai visitor Petchwanchai Sor Visetkit (14-9, 6). On paper the Thai looks like he has a fighting chance here but he has lst his last 3 bouts, all by stoppage in a combined 7 rounds, and is almost 3 years removed from a win. Although the unbeaten Nihemaituola isn't a puncher it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him win here.
In another bout of some interest Maimaitijiang Nuermaimaiti (3-0-1, 3) will risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Hongfeng Li (4-0, 1) in what looks likely to be a power vs skill match up with genuine intrigue.
This coming Friday is a hectic day with 5 title bouts taking place in Japan.
In Kobe we get an OPBF quadruple header, with the card looking, at least on paper, like one of the most notable Oriental cards of the month. The bouts might not be 4 brilliant match up, but they will help establish the OPBF scene as we enter 2017, and at least 2 of the bouts look like they could be very interesting match ups.
The “main event”, well the final of the 4 main events, will see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (10-0, 7) defending his title, and unbeaten record, against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (8-4-5, 2). This was the first bout on the card to be known about and although it looks like a mismatch it could, potentially, be a good test for Kubo who will be looking for stiff competition next year. Lim, although having a sketchy record, is a former Korean champion and holds a draw with touted Korean prospect Ye Joon Kim, giving him some legitimacy as a challenger here.
In a bout at Lightweight we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7) defending his title against former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6). The bout will be Nakatani's 6th defense and will see him looking to build on wins against the likes of Ricky Sismundo, Accel Sumiyoshi and Tosho Makoto Aoki. For Tanada , who has actually lost 3 of his last 4, the bout sees him attempting to score his biggest win since his 2010 shock upset over Rikiya Fukuhara. Sadly for Tanada he's gone 4-5-3 since his win over Fukuhara almost 6 years ago and it's hard to imagine this being a win for the Filipino.
Arguably the most interesting bout on the card sees OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (18-4, 15) defending his title against Japanese based Filipino Mark John Yap (24-12, 10). On paper this might not look like a great bout but the reality is that the contest is brilliantly well matched and puts an exciting and hard hitting champion up against a talented and tough young veteran. For Yamamoto the bout will be his third defense, but is a huge step up from his previous 2, whilst Yap will be looking to extend a 5 fight winning run which has included a notable upset over Tatsuya Ikemizu.
Another intriguing bout will see former world champion Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12) battle with rising prospect Ryuya Yamanaka (12-2, 3) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title. For Sabillo the bout sees him returning to Japan for the first time since his May loss to Riku Kano, which was for the OPBF interim title, and it's fair to say that the Filipino cannot afford another set back after going 2-3-1 in his last 6 bouts. Aged 21 Yamanaka knows that a win will open doors for potential world title bouts, but this bout is by far the toughest of his career and it's clear that he will need a career best performance to defeat the Filipino veteran.
The 4 title bouts in Kobe won't be the only title action in Japan, in fact we also have a world title bout in the country, featuring the longest reigning active world champion, and the one with the most defenses of their current title.
That world champion is WBA Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (22-2-1, 8) who looks to record her 17th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to Koseki will be the little known Chie Higano (6-4, 2), who will be making her first title challenger. On paper this looks like a mismatch and it's, unfortunately, hard to see anything but a win for Koseki, possibly by stoppage in the early rounds.
In an interesting supporting bout we'll see the unbeaten Takeshi Inoue (7-0-1, 3) take on Korean puncher Chan Ho Lee (5-1, 4). Inoue already has his next bout booked, a contest in January with Akinori Watanabe, has impressed and is being tipped as a potential Japanese title contender, but this is a bout against a live under-dog. Lee is unknown outside of Korea but has impressed on the domestic scene and scored a good win over Young Sub Han this past June. Although Inoue will be favoured this could be a good test for the Japanese fighter before the Watanabe bout.
In another Japan Vs Korean bout we'll see the brilliantly exciting and fast rising Kazuto Takesako (4-0, 4) battling against Kyung-Joon Ahn (6-3-1, 5). Takesako has taken out his first 4 opponents in just 7 combined rounds and will be looking to extend that run here. Ahn on the other hand is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Shoma Fukumoto, from almost 3 years ago. On paper this looks like a decent test for Takesako but in reality it should be a bit of a mismatch and an early blow out for the Japanese prospect.
There is also a Japanese card in Osaka, in what is a busy day for Japanese fans. This is however this is a much smaller and less interesting card than the other two.
In the main event we'll see Middleweights clash as Ryuji Kanza (7-2, 5) takes on Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (7-5, 6) in what should be a really intriguing contest. Both guys are limited but both can bang and we'd not be shocked to see this one be a bit of a wild slugfest that lacks quality but is fun to watch.
In a supporting bout we'll see Yuki Takahashi (6-1, 2) take on Indonesian visitor Adam Alap Alap (0-1), who we've been informed is a top 15 ranked Indonesian Lightweight suggesting his record is incomplete
There's also action in China where we get the next League of Fists show.
The main event here is a brilliant match up between unbeaten men, as Zhi Quan Xie (4-0-3, 1) battles against Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (7-0-1, 1). The bout is a really intriguing one and should tell us a lot about both men, and their potential to go further in the sport.
In the US fans will be able to see hotly touted Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (18-0, 12) fight for the second time on US soil. At the moment his opponent is an unknown but it's unlikely to be too much of a test for Dela Torre.
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia fans will see two Asian fighters fighting in New South Wales.
One of those is China's Yong Zhang (5-5-1, 1), who faces a yet to be named opponent, whilst the other will be Korean Jeong Jin Park (1-5), who faces the unbeaten Michael Hall (3-0, 3) in what looks like a mismatch against the Korean.