This coming Sunday isn't a big day for Asian boxing but there are a few shows taking place with some action on them.
Jekpe-Jek Arena, Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan
The most notable card of the day is in Kazakhstan where we see some notable unbeaten fighters look to step up and show what they can do.
One of those unbeaten fighters is 22 year old Heavyweight hopeful Danila Semenov (3-0, 2), who looks to score his second win of the year as he takes on the experienced Vikapita Meroro (30-10, 15), from Namibia. Semenov has looked good since beginning his professional career, and it is hard to criticise him and his team for this match up, but Meroro is a 36 year old who is 2-6 in his last 8 and has been stopped 5 times in those 6 losses. Semenov should pick up the win, with out any problems, but we would like to see him in with better opponents than this sooner rather than later.
Another touted youngster on this card is 21 year old Yevgeniy Pavlov (4-0, 3), who is stepping up in impressive fashion to take on the once beaten Isaac Sackey (25-1-1, 20) in a bout for the WBA International Super Bantamweight title. Pavlov was a stellar amateur and the way his team are moving him is really impressive. He appears to have the talent to go a long way and we don't imagine Sackey will be much of a test, despite his impressive looking record. Sackey, from Ghana, will be fighting away from home for the first time, and it's always interesting to see how fighters look when they away from home. Sadly we don't imagine Sackey is going to travel well.
A genuinely interesting match up at Super Middleweight will see 23 year old Kazakh hopeful Bek Nurmaganbet (4-0, 2) take on former Ryota Murata opponent Bruno Sandoval (21-4-1, 17) in a bout for the WBA International title at 168lbs. Nurmaganbet was regarded as one of the best Kazakh amateurs a few ago and turned professional to a lot of fanfare, but hasn't yet really shown what he can do, something we expect to see change here as he takes a big step up in class. Sandoval is a decent fighter, but he is 3-3 in his last 6 with all 3 of those losses coming by stoppage, including one to Murata in 2016 one to Louis Toutin in 2019. The Kazakh should win here, but it's nice to see him in with someone who has faced some notable fighters and has some ambition of his own.
The main event is a brilliant Super Middleweight bout as unbeaten Kazakh Aidos Yerbossynuly (15-0, 10) takes on Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14), who was last seen losing to Cuban sensation David Morrell just over a year ago. Yerbossynuly was supposed to get a world title eliminator earlier this year, before a case of Covid19 forced him to cancel those plans, and he's been out of he ring for a while now. Rather than having an easy stay busy he's in there with a solid fighter in Lennox, though Lennox will, clearly, be the under-dog. This should be a genuine test for the Kazakh, but he needs to begin kicking on sooner rather than later, especially given how he pulled out of the aforementioned eliminator.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Over in Dubai we have a really interesting card, but that one really doesn't make too much sense. It's a card that features some notable non Asian names, such as Diego Gabriel Chaves. It's a card that really does look like it's been thrown together at random and has got some strange match ups as a result.
The strangest of the match ups on the show will see once touted American Light Middleweight Glen Tapia (23-5, 15) take on Thailand's Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-8, 22), who was at his best down at 135lbs and 140lbs. Saddam was once regarded as a promising fighter bus has gone 2-6 in his last 8 and is not a natural fighter at Welterweight, never mind Middleweight, where this bout will be. This should be a very, very easy win for Tapia.
Another odd looking bout is a clash between Filipino puncher KJ Natuplag (8-3, 7) and Colombian fighter Argel Berrio (18-8, 11). On paper this one doesn't look too odd, but Berio is moving up from Bantamweight to Featherweight for the contest. We expect this one will be exciting, and a bit of a shoot out, but Natuplag should be too big, too strong and too powerful for Berrio.
Thankfully there is an all Asian bout on the card that really does actually have something going for it, and that's a bout between Sachin Dekwal (10-0, 6) and Muhammad Bilal (9-1-1, 7), in what looks pretty much like a 50-50 style bout for the WBA Asia Lightweight title. The unbeaten Dekwal has impressed in his homeland of India, and he'll know this is a chance to really build his name, but is also stepping up, massively here to take on a man who wants to beat him, and not just make up the numbers. Bilal, from Pakistan, was beaten last time out, at the end of 2020, but feel confident he has the power to hurt his foe. Given the issues between India and Pakistan we can imagine tensions running high here, and this could be a very intriguing match up.
Arena, Beppu, Oita, Japan
In Japan we get a very low key card in Oita. The card is mostly 4 rounders, in fact 3 of the 4 bouts on the show are set for the short distance. The one bout that is scheduled for a little bit longer is the main event, which is an 8 rounder between Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Takeru Kobata (10-5-1, 4), who won the title in March when he stopped Rikuto Adachi, and 33 year old Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6). Whilst this is certainly not a great bout, especially given that Kimura has lost his last 3 and hasn't scored a win since April 2019, it is good to see Kobata staying busy and this is his 4th bout since December 2020 and it's great to see a Japanese youngster being active during this current situation, which has slowed the progress of so many young fighters.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In Vietnam we'll see the once touted Van Thao Tran (13-1, 8) look to defend his very, very, lightly regarded IBA title as he takes on Fadhili Majiha (27-14-4, 13), from Tanzania. The talented Tran was expected to be the real star of Vietnamese boxing, but the last few years has seen his career stall with inactivity, bouts falling through and a loss in 2019 to Billy Dib. We would love to see Tran being tested, but Majiha is not going to be a test here. The man from Tanzania has lost consistently when fighting away from home, and it's almost unthinkable for him to pick up a win in Vietnam here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For a second day running we're at Korakuen Hall for title action in what is a very easy to over-look event, but one that has several very interesting match ups on it including a huge regional title unification bout, and a bout between two talented novices each looking to take huge strides forward with their careers.
That novice bout will see former amateur standouts clash as Junya Shimada (0-0) makes his debut and takes on Shigetoshi Kotari (2-0, 1). Although it's his professional debut there are huge things expected from Shimada, who is tipped as a future face of the Teiken Gym and a future world title contender. Kotari turned professional with a decent amount of hype himself, but a disappointing performance against Motosuke Kimura last time out did see some of that hype die down. Here we're expecting a highly skilled and very competitive bout, and the winner will almost certainly be pushed quickly towards a title fight. As for the loser, it's early days and they will not be written off.
The bout on this show will see the once touted Junpei Tsujimoto (7-2-3, 5) take on Hideo Mikan (9-13-2, 2) in what looks like a total mismatch, but could be a very dramatic bout. The talented Tsujimoto is very much a man who has a questionable chin and he was stopped 2 fights ago, and was almost stopped last year as well, in a remarkable bout with Daiki Ogura. Despite having won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018 his career really has not kicked on. Mikan on the other hand is a limited fighter, but comes into this unbeaten in his last 3 and will be looking to build a little bit more momentum with his career. Sadly for Mikan he had lost 6 in a row before his current unbeaten run.
In the chief support we'll see a very interesting match up as Japanese ranked Welterweight Masaya Tamayama (13-2, 7) takes on WBO Asia Pacific ranked Light Middleweight Hisashi Kato (10-9-2, 6). On paper this looks like a one sided bout, with Tamayama the clear favourite, and he certainly has momentum on his side going 9-1 (4) in his last 10. Kato however isn't the push over his record suggests and he can spring the upset and has faced a string of very good domestic fighters. This could be genuinely well contested, though obviously Tamayama will go in as the favourite.
The main event is a potential Japanese fight of the Year contender as Ryota Toyoshima (13-2-1, 8) the OPBF Welterweight champion takes on WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-1-1, 20) in a regional unification bout that promises so much. Toyoshima won his title earlier this year and showed himself to be a tough, aggressive fighter with clear technical limitations but a good work rate, good power and a good chin. Beppu on the other hand is a monstrous puncher, with very heavy hands, under-rated boxing skills and a shaky chin, but incredible powers of recover, as we saw against Ryota Yada in 2019. Given the styles of the two men this should be an all out war, and one that really could see both men being dropped, multiple times. If you can tune in to this one live, on G+, you're in for a genuine treat. The only real shame is that Beppu has been inactive for over a year coming in to this. Our full, in depth, preview of this one can be read here Beppu and Toyoshima clash to unify regional titles!
Lokomotiv Arena, Novosibirsk, Russia
As well as the Japanese show we also have an event in Russia featuring some Central Asian hopefuls.
One of the notable hopefuls on this show is talented Kazakh Bek Nurmaganbet (3-0, 2), who takes on Tazania's Twaha Kassim (17-7-1, 8), in what looks like a very nice test for the unbeaten Kazakh. The unbeaten Nurmaganbet was a sensational amateur and it's going to be very interesting to see how he developes in the professional ranks. Kassim is certainly not a bad fighter, but he has gone 5-5 in his last 10 and has struggled when fighting outside of Tanzania. On paper a very decent test for the Kazakh, but one he should pass with fly colours.
Nurmaganbet isn't the only Kazakh on this card as compatriots Yevgeniy Pavlov (3-0, 2) and Danila Semenov (2-0, 1) are also in action on this card, looking to build on their own fledgling careers. Sadly at the time of writing they don't have their opponents confirmed for this show.
Another unbeaten Asian fighter on this show is Indian fighter Gurpreet Singh (2-0-1, 1), who battles fellow novice Nachyn Chambaldoo (0-0-1) in a 6 rounder. Singh will be fighting for the first time in almost 2 years, though his last performance suggested there was something to him, fighting to a draw with the then 6-0 Rakesh Lohchab. The 27 year old Chambaldoo also had a draw last time, but to a professional loser, suggesting he's not a hugely promising fighter himself.
Another Indian fighter on this card is 22 year old Suraj (2-2, 1) who will be taking on the unbeaten Shahriyor Akhmedov (1-0, 1), originally from Tajikistan. Akhmedov looked decent on debut, winning his first bout by TKO due to cuts, though it's hard to read into that debut too much. As for Suraj he's not impressed since turning professional and both of his wins came against debutants. This is likely a bout to make Akhmedov look good, but it's still way too early to get too excited about him.
Attention turns to Kazakhstan this coming Wednesday for the next show from Suleimen promotions. Although certainly not a huge card it's a very interesting one with some very highly regarded prospects taking on real tests. As well as the prospects we'll also get a clash between two unbeaten fighters looking to move towards a big fight in 2021.
Arguably the most interesting of the prospects on this card is 22 year old former Kazakh amateur stand out Bek Nurmaganbet (2-0, 1), who won the 2019 Asian Amateur Championships. He's set to take a huge step up to take on the dangerous Emmanuel Danso (32-5, 26), from Ghana. The talented Kazakh youngster has shown a lot to like in his first two professional bouts but there is still a lot to prove and we might see him prove some of those things here. In reality however Danso has been stopped in 4 of his losses and is unlikely to pose too many threats to the talented Kazakh. Although likely a mismatch it is worth noting that Danso has gone 10 rounds with Fanlong Meng, 4 with Ruslan Fayfer and 3 with Umar Salamov. With Nurmaganbet taking him on this early it seems like a real sign of his ambition to get into the world rankings as quickly as possible.
The exceptionally talented Bekzad Nurdauletov (1, 0, 1), who has already booked his place at the Tokyo Olympics and won gold at the World Amateur Championships, looks to tick over with a bout against 40 year old Nigerian puncher Kabiru Towolawi (13-2, 10). The 22 year old Nurdauletov has gone to the professional ranks to stay busy until the Olympics and a bout like this seems to be the perfect type of bout for him. Towolawi is a fairly limited fighter with decent power and a solid chin, going 10 rounds with Olanrewaju Durodola just over a year ago. This should be a decent insight into what the Kazakh can offer the pros, when he finally commits fully to the professional ranks.
In a very ambitious bit of match making we'll see Kazakh novice Yevgeniy Pavlov (2-0, 2) take on under-rated Pinoy puncher Alie Laurel (18-4-1, 11), in arguably the most interesting of the under-card bouts. The 21 year old Pavlov looked impressive last time out, but was up against someone with little ambition. Here he's in with a very, very capable fighter in Laurel, albeit a naturally smaller man. Although Laurel has fought as high as Super Featherweight he has had his best success at Bantamweight, where he beat the likes of Tiger Tor Buamas and Nobuhisa Coronita Doi. On paper a genuinely tough one for Pavlov, who will be asked questions by a live under-dog.
Another under-card bout will see Danila Semenov (1-0, 1) seek win #2 as he takes on Ghana's Abraham Tabul (17-4-1, 14) in a Heavyweight clash. We weren't blown away by Semenov on his debut, which saw him stop Mussa Ajibu in 4 rounds, but we do expect him to walk through Tabul here, given the man from Ghana has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. This might be over very, very quickly and leave us still wondering about how good Semenov is.
The real highlight of this show is the main event, which will pit world ranked Kazakh Super Middleweight Aidos Yerbossynuly (14-0, 9) against unbeaten Issah Samir (19-0, 16). The 29 year old Yerbossynuly is world ranked by all 4 world title bodies and holds minor titles from across the bodies, including the WBO Global and WBA International titles, which he'll be defending here. Although talented he has been down several times and is certainly not the most comfortable fighter under pressure. Samir on the other hand is a 31 year old from Ghana who sports a very nice looking record, but will be fighting outside of Ghana for the first time. Samir will the under-dog, but comes into the bout with a punchers and the confidence of being unbeaten. This could be a genuine test for Yerbossynuly and his questionable chin.
Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California, USA
In the US we'll see the highly anticipated professional debut of Filipino amateur star Eumir Marcial (0-0), who is hotly tipped to take a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The talented Pinoy will be tested against a foe with a winning record, as he battles Andrew Whitfield (3-1, 2) over 4 rounds. Guided by MP Promotions Marcial is regarded as one of the potential stars of the future for the Philippines and we are expecting a very impressive performance here on his debut.
It's fair to say this coming Saturday is mostly about one contest in the US, though surprisingly there is an incredible amount of action involving Asian fighters here, with bouts all over Asia. This is probably the busiest day we've had since boxing restarted back in the summer.
The Bubble, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
It goes without saying that our attention this coming Saturday is in Las Vegas, where we get two Japanese fighters on action on a Top Rank show.
The main event here will see WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) make his Las Vegas debut, as he takes on Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) in a much anticipated bout. For Inoue this will be his first bout since his World Boxing Super Series win against Nonito Donaire last year, and he has some questions hanging over him for once, such as whether or not his right eye is anything close to 100% following that Donaire bout. He also has questions hanging over him in regards rust and potentially being over-trained, given he was supposed to fight in March. As for Moloney he's the clear under-dog and this is a huge chance for him, though he will know that if he wins his career will change massively. Interesting Moloney was close to facing Inoue last year, and would have done so had he got the decision in the WBSS quarter final bout against Emanuel Rodriguez. Since his loss to Rodriguez, Moloney has racked up 4 wins and comes into this with momentum, despite being the big under-dog. Our full, in depth, previous of this bout can be read here The Monster takes on Moloney in Las Vegas!
The other Japanese fighter on this show is Andy Hiraoka (15-0, 10), who will be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on Rickey Edwards (12-4, 3). For Hiraoka this will be his second bout in Las Vegas, where he fought last November. The Japanese Light Welterweight is being groomed for big things and he's expected to pick up an easy win here and more a step closer to a title fight, of some kind. Edwards on the other hand is struggling for form and has gone 1-4 in his last 5, and it unlikely to post any real questions to the talented Hiraoka. If you're tuning in for Inoue make sure to keep an eye out for Hiraoka, he's a genuine talent.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Staying with Japanese boxing for a moment it's worth noting that we are getting some East Japan Rookie of the Year bouts on the same day, as Korakuen Hall plays host to the first set of semi-finals bouts. In total there are 6 bouts set for this show, but due to all the action taking place through Asia we'll only really look at one of them.
The most notable is the Super Flyweight bout between unbeaten puncher Yota Sato (2-0, 2) and the very, very highly regarded Kosuke Tomioka (3-0, 2). This is the stand bout from this round of East Japan Rookie of the Year bouts, and will see Tomioka getting his first serious test against someone who looked devastating last time out. We are expecting big things here in a potentially explosive match up. If you've got tickets to this one, it's the one that you need to be in your seat for! If you're not in Tokyo, the bout is the one to watch when it becomes available online.
As well as the Sato Vs Tomioka bout, the show also pits unbeaten Flyweights against each other, with Teppei Saito (3-0, 2) facing Shugo Namura (3-0, 3), and Light Flyweights, and Light Flyweight, with Yota Mihara (3-0, 3) battling against Hayato Aoki (3-0, 2).
Yes this is gonna be a good one!
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
We also get a show of real note from Bangkok, where TL Promotions continue to make their mark on the sport, and bring through their range of talented and promising fighters.
The main event here will see Nonthasith Petchnamthong (1-0) drop down to Bantamweight to take on former Light Flyweight world champion Kompayak Porpramook (60-9, 41). We were impressed by Nonthasith on his debut, where he Arnon Yupang, where he won a WBA Asia title, and now appears to be dropping into a weight that is much, much more natural for him. Kompayak isn't the fighter he once was, not even close, but he does come to win, press, and is still a very good test for prospects. We expect to Kompayak trying to win, but be out boxed, out punched, and out muscled by the novice. Kompayaka, with his experience, is a live under-dog here, but he is clearly an under-dog.
Another bout on this show will see Anurak Thisa (24-2, 9), aka Nop Kratingdaenggym, take on Artid Bamrungauea (26-31, 24) in what looks like little more than a stay busy fight, and an easy win for talented Thisa.
Also on this card bouts between Tanes Ongjunta (4-1, 2) and Decha Puttaluksa (1-4), and a contest pitting the unbeaten Yuttapong Tongdee (3-0, 2) against the limited Kan Hamongkol (4-14, 1). Sadly these both look like formalities.
Singmanassak Muaythai School, Pathum Thani, Thailand
A second Thai show will come from Pathum thani and this really does look a lot less significant than the other show.
The main event here is set to be a clash between the unbeaten Kevin Gronlund (3-0, 1) and the limited, but heavy handed, Tanawat Ketsiri (5-6, 5), with the men clashing for the Thai Lightweight title. The 25 year old Gronlund debuted in June 2019 and has struggled in a couple of his wins. Ketsiri on the other hand is a 17 year old who debuted in 2017, has been matched hard and suffered a couple of losses to decent regional fighters, but has won his last 3 and will be hoping to carry on that momentum here.
Over in Kazakhstan we'll be getting the chance to see a number of very promising Kazakh's dip their toes in professional ranks, with the intention to remain amateurs and head to the Tokyo Olympics. This is thanks to Suleimen promotions who are putting on a 5 fight show.
One of those bouts will see Bek Nurmaganbet (1-0, 1) look for his second professional win, as he takes on experienced Tanzanian Abdallah S Pazzy (27-7-1, 24). After looking good against a very over-matched opponent on his debut this is a good step up in class for Nurmaganbet , and we should see the former amateur standout given a genuine test against a hard hitting fighter who beat Zulipikaer Maimaitiali last year. This is a genuinely dangerous test for the Kazakh novice.
Another Kazakh with some pro experience on this show is Yevgeniy Pavlov (1-0, 1), who also takes a massive step up in class as he takes on Tanzania's Goodluck Mrema (23-5, 13). Pavlov made his debut in July and looked decent against an over-matched opponent and, like Nurmaganbet, he is taking a huge leap up in class. Mrema isn't a world beater, nothing close in fact, but he has mixed with good company and has been in the ring with Marlon Tapales and Jason Moloney. We expect a win for Pavlov here, but it would be good to see him being tested.
The first of three debutants on this show will be Danila Semenov (0-0) who makes his debut against once beaten 36 year old Ghanaian John Napari (21-1, 15). Semenov is expected to make a big mark on the professional ranks in the coming years, and this is a very serious debut, against a man who's only loss came to the then 19-0-1 Apti Davtaev. A real risk and a real potential to make a statement from Semenov.
The second debutant will be Ablaikhan Zhussupov (0-0), who has booked a place in the Tokyo Olympics. He will be looking to keep busy here as he shares the ring with Tanzania's Meshack Mwankemwa (21-7-2, 13), who has faced a few notables names. Zhussupov is a brilliant talent, and our hope is that after the Olympics he will become a fully fledged professional and a debut like this shows the belief his team have in him. Mwankemwa has got 7 losses but they have come to some decent fighters, such as Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Roman Zakirov and Walter Kautondokwa.
The final fight on the show will see 2019 World Amateur Champion Bekzad Nurdauletov (0-0) make his professional debut as he takes on Ibrahim Maokola (14-9-1, 9), who is the fourth fight fighter from Tanzania to be involved on this show. There are huge expectations on Nurdauletov's shoulders, not just for this bout but for the Tokyo Olympics, and we expect him to answer those expectations in style here, against the rather limited Maokola.
Rongchuang Mall, Chongqing, China
We also get action in China, albeit very low level action, as the Chinese boxing scene continues to tick over. Sadly this is a very, very low show with little of note, though it does have a 10 main event.
That main event will see Ruidong Zhou (5-1, 2) and Yong Shuai Luan (3-1, 1) battle in a Welterweight bout. The 26 year old Zhou is the more experienced of the two fighters in action here, bout his last 3 wins have come against terrible opposition as he's looked to rebuild following a 2018 loss in South Korea. Luan on the other hand is a 19 year old looking to get career going after a stoppage loss last year. Luan will be looking for his third win in a row, though his last two opponents have been very poor, and he struggled with one of those in September.
Of all the action out there on Saturday this is probably the least noteworthy card featuring an Asian fighter.
Delhi University North Campus Area, New Delhi, India
Another show that isn't worth too much attention comes from India, where we see a lot of novices in action.
The only real bout of note here is an 8 round mismatch between the very promising Sachin Dekwal (7-0, 5) and the win-less Pawan Kumar (0-0-1). The talented Dekwal is one of the very few Indian fighters worth making a mental of note, and he really should be facing better opponents that Kumar at this point in his career. He's a talent, but he's really wasting time, and chances to develop as a fighter with bouts like this.