Japanese fans have been a bit unlucky so far this year with the most notable action taking place on either tape delay or pay TV. That changes on March 4th as the fans get their first world title fight of the year, in fact they get their first two world title bouts of the year, though one of those is on pay TV.
The higher profile of those bouts sees WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17) defending his title, for the 10th time, against Venezuelan Liborio Solis (23-3-1, 10), a former WBA Super Flyweight champion. This looks likely to be a really bout between Yamanaka's power and Solis's aggressive pressure. The fight is a tough one for the champion but one he will be favoured to win. The winner of this is expected to face the winner of the upcoming eliminator between Anselmo Moreno and Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, both men who gave Yamanaka tough bouts in recent years.
The other title fight will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (18-2-1, 3) defending his title, for the first time, against Mexican slugger Ganigan Lopez (26-6, 17). This is a tough first defense for the Japanese fighter, who upset Pedro Guevara last year, but with a pro-Japanese crowd behind him the champion will feel confident of proving himself, and taking a huge step towards an all-Japanese world title unification bout later this year.
In the most notable of the support bouts fans will see the much touted Shuya Masaki (3-0, 2) battle Filipino foe Vergil Puton (15-6, 7). On paper this looks like a huge step up for Masaki however it should be noted that Puton is the naturally smaller man and is likely to look like a man lacking fire-power against the much touted Masaki.
A really well matched under-card bout here will see the unbeaten 18 year old Retsu Kosaka (5-0, 1) take on the once beaten 22 year old Yuto Nagano (5-1, 2). Kosaka debuted last year and quickly ran his record to 5-0 in a great year, though the youngster does have questions over his strength and power. As for Nagano, he was stopped last time out and will not be wanting to suffer a second successive loss, which really could derail his career before he really gets go.
In China Top Rank, along with SECA,will be promoting a low profile card at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The card isn't a great one, though we would suggest keeping an eye out for two bouts, both at Super Featherweight.
One of those bouts will see the once beaten Leshan Li (6-1-1, 4) battle against the more experienced puncher Cai Yong Liu (4-3-2, 4). The other will see the unbeaten 18 year old Jin Xiang Pan (5-0, 3) face off against Yongle Feng (2-1, 1). We hope the winners of these two bouts face off later in the year, though it does need to be noted that already Li holds a win over Feng, having stopped him earlier this year, whilst Pan holds a win over Liu, having out pointed him late last year.
The biggest card of the day is a special card courtesy of WOWOW who will be showing the card as part of a free day for the channel. The card featured a couple of big main events in what could potentially feature one of the most exciting bouts of the year.
In one of the main events fans will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (3-0-1, 26) battle against all-action warrior Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) in a bout that could potentially be a FOTY contender. Eto, who is as fun to watch as any other fighter out there, is going to be the under-dog against the unbeaten champion but he's naturally the taller man and has shown his ability to make a fight of any bout. Cuadras will go into this one as the favourite but will have to expect the unexpected from the challenger in what could be an all-out war.
The other co-main bout will see Yu Kimura (17-2-1, 3) attempt to claim an unlikely world title as he faces WBC Light Flyweight champion Pedro Guevara (26-1-1, 17) in a very tough bout for the challenger. Kimura is a former Japanese champion looking to climb the proverbial global summit but it's hard to see how he beats the talented Guevara, who actually returns to Japan for the first time since winning his title there, last December.
Sadly apart from the two main bouts, this show is relatively slim on the under-card.
A second Japanese card comes from Kagoshima where fans will get the chance to see Naoya Haruguchi (7-6, 2) face off against Takayuki Teraji (6-8-1, 3) in a Light Flyweight bout. The fight, scheduled for 8 rounds, is the highlight of another wise forgettable card featuring 7 undercard bouts, all set for 4 rounds.
The most exciting of several Filipino shows is a card from ALA which will feature several very notable names, including some world class fighters and one of the most promising prospects that the country has seen in recent years.
Sadly we've not had the full bout sheet for this card, though it seems like AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22) will be facing Emilio Norfat (25-6, 19) in one of the main bouts. This should be an easy win for “Bazooka” but the Tanzanian visitor will be looking to score an upset and won't travel with the intention of just making up the numbers.
Others scheduled for this card include Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (1-0, 1) who is expected to be in a 6 rounder as well as former world title challengers Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2, 20), Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) and Milan Melindo (32-2, 12). Sadly we've not been given the opponents for any of those 4 men.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show will see former OPBF title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) attempt to end a 2 fight losing streak as he takes on the unbeaten Jelbirt Gomera (10-0, 6) in an interesting 10 round bout. For Geraldo this is the first bout since he lost a clear decision to Takuma Inoue, for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, whilst the relatively unproven Gomera will be stepping up massively. It's a good match in many ways but one that seems designed to get Geraldo back on the winning track.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another notable Filipino fighter in action is the talented, and under-rated Randy Braga (16-1-1, 3) who will be up against yet another “yet to be named” opponent.
Another show in the Philippines will be headlined by the promising Arnel Baconaje (3-0, 3) who will face another of the un-named opponents that seem to be scheduled for action this coming weekend.
In South Africa fans will be able to see under-rated Filipino Renz Rosia (12-3, 6) battle against former IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (31-2, 20) in a bout for the IBO Flyweight title. The bout is a very tough ask for Rosia though he did show his ability earlier this year when he pushed Makazole Tete all the way in a controversial loss, and with a recent win over Renan Trongco there is a great chance that Rosia could score a career defining upset against the talented but inactive Mthalane.
August 1st-Yu Kimura moves towards world title shot, Park defends title, Hashimoto looks for huge upset
August begins this weekend and there is a wealth of action scheduled for the coming weeks.
The first Japanese show of the month is a Teiken promoted card from the Korakeun Hall.
The most notable bout on the show sees former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (16-2-1, 3) battle against Mexican visitor Jesus Faro (14-9, 9) ahead of a possible world title bout. Kimura, who vacated his national title earlier this year, has said he is focused on fighting for a major title sooner rather than later and this could, potentially, be a prelude to a bout with Ryoichi Taguchi or Donnie Nietes, both of which could be made towards the end of 2016.
A notable under-card bout sees Yosuke Kirima (21-4-2, 14), a former Japanese title challenger at 154lbs, battling against Yuto Shimizu (9-2-2, 3) in what should be a much better bout that it appears on paper. Coming in Shimizu is on a 6 fight winning streak including wins against Hikaru Nishida, Toru Chiba and Takehiro Shimokawara.
Another notable under-card contest will see the very promising Shuya Masaki (1-0, 1) battle against the more experienced Shintaro Nakamura (5-4-1, 2). This is a solid step up for Masaki who only needed 134 seconds to despatch of Phanthong Por Panya back in April. Nakamura has lost his last 2 bouts but will give Masaki experience against the southpaw stance.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned there is set to be 4 others on this card.
In South Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6) will be defending her IFBA and WIBA titles at 102lbs against Filipino visitor Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6). This bout will see Park going for a 16th straight win though she's certainly not faced the stiffest of competition with some frankly terrible title fights in recent times. This is actually step up in class for the Korean though one she should pass against a fighter who has lost 3 of her last 5.
Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico
In possibly the biggest mismatch of the weekend fans will see Japanese fighter Kazuki Hashimoto (11-4, 7) battle former 3-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (57-9, 48). The idea of this bout is for Gonzalez to introduce himself to the Super Featherweight division before a possible bout with Takashi Miura towards either the end of this year or early in 2016.
In Australia we see former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane (29-17-2, 18) battle against the unbeaten Luke Jackson (8-0, 3). Whilst we are only 3 years removed from Manakane's world title shot at the then WBA Bantamweight champion Koki Kameda he hasn't had the best of time going 5-6-1 and we expect to see him lose again here.
In the US Filipino Rey Perez (20-6, 5) will be battling against former world title challenger Chris Avalos (25-3, 19) in what looks to be a very tough ask for the Filipino. Avalos, fighting for the first time since being stopped by Carl Frampton in an IBF Super Bantamweight title fight, will be looking to make a statement against Perez, is 0-4 outside of his homeland including a 2011 loss to Nobuo Nashiro.
(Image courtesy of www.boxmob.jp)
This Saturday is an incredibly busy day in the world of boxing with bouts coming thick and fast on a day thats sees notable fighters in action and some wonderful match ups.
In Tokyo we get the first Japanese title fight of the month alongside a couple of other noteworthy bouts.
The title bout in question will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion, and current world ranked fighter, Yu Kimura (15-2-1, 2) defending his national crown against Hayato Yamaguchi (12-5-1, 2), who is making his second Japanese title challenger. For Kimura this is a must win bout if he hopes to get a world title fight later in the year however he won't have been able to prepare for Yamaguchi as he would have liked as the challenger only signed for the fight a few weeks ago after Shin Ono suffered an injury that forced him out of the bout. Of course saying that Yamaguchi will not have had a full training camp himself for this bout.
On the same card we will see the return to the ring of Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-8, 7) who will be fighting for the first time since his narrow loss to Yukinori Oguni last December in a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight. The popular Ishimoto should be able to end a 2-fight skid as he takes on the limited Yoshihiro Utsumi (12-5-3, 7) in what looks to be a confidence building bout for the 33 year old Ishimoto.
In another bout of note fans will get the chance to see the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (16-1-1, 6) battle against the hard hitting Kazuya Soma (7-6-2, 6). Coming into this bout Nakazawa is on a 13 fight winning streak and we suspect that'll continue here, though Soma can hit hard enough to trouble fighters at this level.
A third noteworthy bout on this show will feature 2014 All Japan Flyweight Rookie of the Year Kenji Ono (7-1, 3) who battles against Taichi Yokote (6-2, 3), who has been inactive since a close decision loss in November 2013. This looks like a really good match up on paper and the sort of 50-50 fight that we love seeing, even if Yokote has been out of the ring for more than a year.
In Osaka there are two shows in the same venue, the “L Osaka”.
The first of those shows will be the Taiho promoted card which features only a single notable fighter, in a mismatch no less. Though it does have two relatively interesting looking support bouts.
The main event will see the Japanese and OPBF ranked Ryota Kajiki (24-9, 15) battle the horribly over-matched Tokiya Nishioka (9-4-2, 5). Whilst Kajiki has gone 4-3 in his last 7 they did include a loss to Daiki Kaneko in a Japanese title bout and he is much better than fighters like Nishioka who was stopped in 2 rounds last time out. A horrible mismatch.
A much better looking bout sees Ippo Nishiwaki (7-3-1, 4) fight against Hirokazu Okajima (8-4-2, 4) in an even looking an match up between two flawed but capable fighters who will each be hoping that a win will move them towards bigger and better things. It's not a headline style bout but it's a very solid match up in it's own right.
A second notable support bout will see Akiyoshi Kanazawa (11-3-4, 5) attempt to score his first in 3 fights as he fights Junya Nishikawa (7-5-2, 2), Kanazawa isn't as good as his record suggests, despite a notable win over Atsushi Aburada, though he should be good enough to see off Nishikawa.
The other Osaka show is promoted by Osaka Teiken and unfortunately looks just as bad in regards to it's main event, though the two support bouts are both solid and meaningful domestic bouts.
The main event will see OPBF and Japanese ranked Flyweight Myung Ho Lee (17-4-1, 5) battle against Thai visitor Dawut Manopkanchang (0-2), who has been stopped in two previous visits to Japan. Aged 20 Dawut is still a young fighter but there is no need to have him in the ring with someone like Lee, even though he may see out there bell here given Lee's relative lack of power.
A solid looking support bout will see Japanese ranked Featherweight Ryuto Kyoguchi (13-0-1, 9) battle against Kosuke Saka (9-3, 6). We expect Kyoguchi to come out on top however this no walk in the park and Saka has been in with good competition losing to the likes of Masayuki Ito and Hiroshige Osawa. For Kyoguchi it's a tough assignment but one he'll need to pass if he's to be taken seriously as a Japanese contender, for Saka it's a chance to move himself towards a possible title fight.
The other notable support bout will see former All-Japanese Rookie of the Year Bunta Mitaka (6-2-2) take on Shingo Kawamura (9-2, 4) in a real must win for both. Mitaka has lost his last 2 bouts, including a 3rd round TKO loss to the excellent Shohei Omori, and has seen his 2013 Rookie of the Year crown becoming little more than history. On the other hand Kawamura was stopped last time out by the excellent Kongthara KKP and will know that he needs a win to remain relevant. A brilliant match up.
We see Korean outfit AK Promotions continuing their activity in Thailand as they take Jaesung Lee (18-4-2, 9) over to Chonburi to battle against Joaquim Mahe (10-2, 6) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Featherweight title. Lee was run close last time by Angelito Merin, who fought under the name Rivera AK Gym, and may well find himself being run close again here by his French opponent, who gave Tepparith Kokietgym a very competitive contest earlier this year.
In Mexico fans are going to be treat to a potentially explosive clash between hard hitting Filipino Jonathan Taconing (20-2-1, 17) and Mexico's very own Raul Garcia (36-3-1, 22). Taconing, the OPBF Light Flyweight champion, is a thunderous puncher who has stopped his last 7 opponents since being controversially beaten by the then WBC Light Flyweight champion Kompayak Porpramook back in 2012. As for Garcia he's a former IBF champion who has a number of notable wins on his record, including his world title win over Florante Condes. This is potentially the fight of the weekend and has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
If we say November ended in style with a number of big and exciting bouts then we need to confess that November starts even better with a day so brilliant, packed and wonderful that we know a lot of great bouts will go over-looked just do to the depth of the day.
The headline bout of the day is in the US where WBO Bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19) battles against interim champion Alejandro Hernandez (28-10-2, 15). On paper this looks a mismatch given that Hernandez's record contains numerous losses however in reality the Mexican is a very good fighter and comes into this bout on a good run of results with wins over Marvin Mabait and Daniel Rosas. We'd still favour the more talented and slicker Kameda but this certainly isn't the mismatch the that numbers would suggest and Hernandez is a tough and difficult assignment for anyone at 118lbs.
Tomoki won't be the only Japanese fighter on this side as older brother Koki Kameda (32-1, 17) will also be in action. Koki, fighting for the first this year, will be battling against Mexican veteran Omar Salado (24-8-2, 15) in what we suspect will be a bout designed to help him shake off some ring rust ahead of a probably WBA Super Flyweight title fight next year against Kohei Kono. Notably for Koki this will be his debut and gives him a great chance to impress a new audience much like Tomoki did on his US debut when he stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu.
It's not just in the US that we get a world title fight but also in Japan with Fukuoka hosting a female world title fight between WBC Female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (11-4-1, 6) and former IBF champion Katia Gutierrez (19-4, 4). Kuroki will be defending her title for the first time since winning it earlier this year with a decision over Mari Ando and she has gone from the frying pan into the fire with Gutierrez being a very, very tough opponent. We favour Kuroki but this is a very tough contest between two truly world class fighters.
In the chief support bout we will see the unbeaten and promising Shohei Okuda (11-0, 4) battle against Ryusei Yoshida (24-6, 11) in a very tough and interesting bout. Okuda is a Japanese ranked fighter who will see his opportunity to jump up the rankings with a win here and although Yoshida is unranked this is a great step up for Okuda who has yet to have a coming of age fighter, despite being a 2012 Rookie of the Year winner.
Another support bout on this show will see Aiki Koto (7-1-1, 4), a Japanese ranked Light Flyweight, will be battling against Koki Ono (7-2, 4). This is one of those very even bouts that we love seeing on the Japanese domestic scene. Both of these guys has suffered an early blow out defeat but both have the talent and desire to come again and could become a force on the fringes of the domestic scene, especially if they compete in bouts like this one.
We get another title bout in Tokyo, albeit at a lower level as Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (14-2-1, 2) battles against Atsushi Aburada (9-6, 5). For Kimura this will be his second defense following an excellent win over Yuki Chinen earlier this year whilst for the challenger this will be his first title opportunity and it looks to be a big ask for Aburada to over-come the world ranked Kimura.
It's not just the main event here that looks interesting, far from in fact, and the under-card is packed with some very good fights and fighters.
One of those fighters is former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Tetsuma Hayashi (24-2-2, 8) who fights in what looks like a mismatch against Ryutaro Taira (8-4-2, 3). Hayashi is a fun fighter and he really did push Takuya Kogawa close in their bout in 2012, since then he is unbeaten in 7 though did look less than sensational last time out fighting to a draw with Hideyuki Watanabe. Whilst Hayashi wasn't great last time out Taira has only won 1 of his last 5 and can't be favoured here to even push Hayashi close.
A good bout on this card will see the heavy handed Yuichi Yokoyama (14-2, 13) battle against Filipino visitor Jonel Alibio (17-18-5, 9) in what looks to be a very good bout, despite the very different records of the two men. Alibio hasn't been in form recently though is a former OPBF champion and may have the experience to trouble Yokoyama.
Another heavy handed fighter in action is Hiroyuki Otsuka (7-2, 6) who will be up against the more experienced Takumi Suda (10-10-2, 2). Otsuka looked really promising at one point though has lost 2 of his last 3 and is needing to rebuild his career, however this isn't a gimme and Suda could prove to be a banana skin.
For us the best of the under-card bouts will be a contest between Jun Hamana (9-2, 3) and Shota Suito (9-3-1, 1). This is another 50-50 bout and despite it almost certainly being a distance bout it should be really good. Hamana's bout with Kazuma Sanpei impressed us whilst Suito is better than his record indicates and this should be a very interesting, high paced and exciting bout with neither having real fear of the other man.
Another Japanese card takes place in Hyogo. Whilst this one doesn't have a title fight on it it does look like a brilliant show and the type of thing that makes the Japanese domestic so exciting right now.
The main event here will see Japan's very own Hikaru Matsuoka (7-1-3, 1) battle against one of boxing's most under-rated fighters, Richard Pumicpic (15-6-2, 4). Pumicpic is the type of fighter nobody looks good against, he's hard working, tough, aggressive and a bit like a terrier in many ways. Matsuoka will have home advantage but Pumicpic proved he was good in Japan when he pushed OPBF Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa all the way earlier this year. Very tough assignment for the Japanese fighter.
Another solid fight on this card is the co-feature which will see the very experienced Junichi Ebisuoka (23-17-6, 10) battling against Giovanni Escaner (11-3, 7). Neither of these guys are world beaters but both are better than first meets the eye. Ebisuoka has a bad looking record though is just below the Japanese title picture whilst Escaner has lost 3 of his last 4 but has been competing against a solid level, such as Oleydong Sithsamerchai. This has the potential to be a truly sensational contest between two men who both want a win badly and we would suggest that this one will be worth catching if you're in Hyogo.
A third bout on this card that has caught out eye is between the destructive Yuji Itani (4-0, 4) and Filipino Jonel Gadapan (8-7-1, 4). We suspect that this will be a somewhat straight forward win for Itani but it's still worth keeping an eye on him, afterall he may be fast tracked given that he's already in his 30's.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico we have two bouts of note in a card that looks like it will be worth tuning in to.
The main even will see Mexican based Japanese fighter Shoki Sakai (17-4, 11) battling against the always interesting Nery Saguilan (30-4-1, 11). Going in to this bout the Mexican will be hunting a second successive victory over a Japanese fighter, having beaten Seiichi Okada last time out. Sadly we suspect that Okada was a bit of a shot fighter however Sakai certainly isn't and this could be a very interesting bout.
The other bout that has caught our eye is between Filipino fighter Silvester Lopez (22-8-2, 16) and the heavy handed Mexican fighter Rey Vargas (21-0, 18). This will be the second meeting between the two after Vargas scored a stoppage victory over an injured Lopez earlier this year. Interestingly in their first meeting Lopez dropped Vargas prior to being injured in the 7th round.
(Image courtesy of http://www.warriorsboxing.com)
After a week that has been eerily quiet in terms of Asian boxing we not hit a Saturday that kicks off an excellent few days of fight action involving Asian fighters are varying levels of the sport. It seems, at least to us, that the wait was worth the time.
New York, USA
The biggest bout involving an Asian fighter is in the US as former WBO Super Flyweight champion Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1, 15) battles former WBO Super Bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (23-3-1, 19) in a bout that screams "revenge" to us. Sonsona suffered his sole defeat at the hands of Vazquez some 4 years ago though both men have seen their careers going in opposite directions since then with Sonsona going 4-0 whilst Vazquez has struggled to 5-3 and this bout really is a significant one for both men. It's an excellent match up and one both men deserve credit for taking.
Although the biggest bout of the day is in the US we do have some very important bouts in Asia. The most significant of those heads lines a Teiken show as Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yu Kimura (13-2-1, 2) attempts to make the first defence of his title. Kimura, who beat Kenichi Horikawa earlier this year, will be battling against the hard hitting and freakishly tall Yuki Chinen (14-1, 7) in an excellent match up that has real significance not just to the fighters on the domestic scene but also internationally as both men are world ranked.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it's not the only fight of note on the show and the co-feature between Kenichi Ogawa (11-1, 9) and Filipino visitor Gabriel Royo (9-9-2, 8) promising to be an explosive encounter. Royo, whilst limited, can bang a bit whilst Ogawa also tends to through caution to the win.
Other fights of note here will see the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (14-1-1, 5) battle against Kosuke Iwashita (14-16-2, 8) in a Light Welterweight bout that will see Nakazawa risking his Japanese ranking. Another man risking his domestic ranking will be the big punching Hiroyuki Otsuka (6-2, 5) who is very fun to watch. Otsuka will be battling limited Thai Thaminkhao Sor Tharnthip (3-9-1, 2) in what should be a mismatch but in fairness Otsuka needs a confidence builder after 2 close decision losses.
In total there are 7 bouts on this Japanese card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
It's not just Japan that has some great looking title action and the Philippines also joins in with a trio of title bouts.
The best of the trio is a WBO Oriental Super Flyweight title bout between the hard hitting, and insanely exciting, Warlito Parrenas (19-6, 17) who will be known to fans in both the Philippines and Japan. "Wars", as he was known, will be fighting Indonesian tough guy Junior Bajawa (14-2, 7) and this bout really does look like a fantastic match up. Parrenas has been the distance just once in his last 21 bouts whilst Bajawa has never been stopped and took the very under-rated Richard Pumicpic the distance i his most recent bout.
Parrenas isn't the only banger on this show and in another of the title fights fans will see Richard Claveras (7-0-2, 7) take on Thailand's Namphol Sithsaithong (6-7, 6) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title. Although neither man is likely to go very far both like to go for bombs and this should be fun to watch for as long as it lasts with both men looking to finish the fight early.
In a female bout Momoko Kanda (5-6-2) will be battling Thai novice Nongnun Mor Krungthepthonburi (2-1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council female Minimumweight title in what looks to be a very poor excuse for a title fight. Kanda, a Japanese fighter, has lost 6 of her last 8, whilst Nongnun was stopped last time out by Gretchen Abaniel in what is Nonnun's only previous bout outside of Thailand.
We get yet more Asian action in China as Zovi Promotions put on another show on the mainland show just how much boxing really is growing, especially in Kunming.
The main event here sees talented Filipino Mark Gil Melligen (18-4-1, 9) attempt to claim his first title as he battles Thai tough guy Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1) for the currently vacant WBO Oriental Featherweight title. Melligen is in the form of his career with 5 wins including a notable stoppage against the previously unbeaten Bualuang OnesongchaiGym, however Petchsamuthr proved his toughness earlier this year when he went 6 rounds with emerging Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo.
In the chief support bout we have yet another title fight as China's very own Yang Xing Xin (7-3-2, 5) attempts to claim the WBC Youth Welterweight title. In the opposite corner to Xin will be once beaten Filipino Nelson Gulpe (8-1, 3). Although Gulpe was beaten in his only fight outside of the Philippines it was a very controversial decision and we'd not be shocked if he did more than enough to defeat Xin here.
One final bout of note from this Chinese card will see the unbeaten Xu Chan (2-0) taking on India's Neeraj Goyat (1-2-2). Although on paper you need to favour Chan, due to a better record and home advantage, it's worth noting that Goyat is unbeaten in MMA and probably has more experience than his record indicates.
There is yet more title action in Australia as Australia's very own Josh King (16-3, 8) attempts to make hist first defence of the WBO Oriental Lightweight title. King will be fighting hard hitting Japanese challenger Koichi Ito (9-2-2, 8) in what could potentially be a barn burner. You do need to feel King's the favourite but Ito's power could make King unravel.
Ito isn't the only Japanese fighter on this card as compatriot Kazuyuki Fukuyama (9-4, 2) battles against the very experienced Les Sherrington (33-7, 19) in a bout that appears to be a clear mismatch.
One other Asian on this card is Aussie based Filipino Aswin Cabuy (14-46-4, 7) who will be looking to upset the unbeaten Kolby Johnston (1-0, 1) in a 4 rounder.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Although we saw some fights in January it's fair to say that we all felt the actual action was lacking. The bigger fights tended to fall short and with so few big shows it's fair to say the month was disappointing. Thankfully we kick off a new month today and we kick off in style with so many notable bouts that it's hard to remember when we last had such a great day.
The part of the day sees us focusing our attention on the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo as we get the first Japanese title fight of the new month. The title fight, the headline bout of the "521th Dynamic Glove", sees Yu Kimura (12-2-1, 2) taking on Kenichi Horikawa (25-12-1, 4) in a battle for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. On paper it's not a great bout we do expect it to be very entertaining and incredibly competitive with the two men being very well matched.
Whilst the title bout is the main event there is excitement through the card. Unfortunately the one bout with little in terms of excitement is the chief support bout which sees Yasutaka Ishimoto (23-6, 6) taking on Zun Rindam (9-3-1, 4). It's hard to see anything but a victory for the world ranked Ishimoto, who is best known for upsetting Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, and as a result there is perhaps a bit of disappointed feeling around this bout.
A bout we're really excited by from this card is the explosive encounter between Yuichi Yokoyama (12-2, 11) and Koichi Ito (9-1-2, 8). Both men are big punchers, both are defensively lacking and both go in the ring to knockout the other man, what's not to like here? The only thing that seems certain is that this one won't be going the scheduled 8.
In total this Japanese card has 7 bouts scheduled for it and we'd be shocked if the card was anything less than enthralling.
Philippines, Metro Manila
Staying in the Orient for a little bit longer there is also a card in the Philippines. This card, an Elorde Promotions card, is scheduled to feature 10 bouts with the headline contest being a 12 rounder between Juan Martin Elorde (15-1, 7) and Chaiyong Sithsaithong (32-12-3, 23) for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title.
Elorde, defending his title for the first time, is the grandson of the great Flash Elorde, unfortunately however he doesn't posses the traits that made his grandfather so great. He has been matched lightly and will likely struggle here against Chaiyong who isn't great himself but he decent enough to be a banana skin.
The Elorde bout is one of two title bouts on the show with the other seeing the experienced Dennis Laurente (46-5-5, 27) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title against Singdet Nonpitayakom (11-15-1, 8). Whilst we aren't sure about Elorde retaining his belt, it's hard to see part Laurente here who should retain with out too many problems.
In the other bout of note on this card Randy Braga (12-0, 2) will attempt to extend his winning run as he battles the experienced Jonel Alibio (16-17-4, 8) in a 10 rounder. Braga has only done 10 rounds once before and will know that he's expected to go the distance again here, if he does then it'll do his development the world of good even though the bout does look like a total mismatch on paper.
Over in Russian we've been told that the unbeaten, and very promising, Konstantin Ponomarev (22-0, 11) will be risking his unbeaten record against the experienced American Hector Munoz (22-12-1, 14). Munoz, who was stopped in 6 by Yoshihiro Kamegai back in 2011, shouldn't have enough left in the tank to really test Ponomarev though he could have enough to give Ponomarev a few questions to answer in the ring.
Monaco, Monte Carlo
Whilst we plenty of action in Asia to kick off February it's fair to say that the biggest fights involving Asian are in Europe, in the principality of Monaco.
The biggest of the bouts with an Asian involved is the WBA Middleweight title bout between Kazakhstan's destructive Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25) and Ghana's brave Osumanu Adama (22-3, 16). It's hard to see anything but a victory by Golovkin, though with Adama having never been stopped there is a clear aim there for Golovkin who will be looking to score an eye catching KO over a man who has proven to be tough even if he is limited. We don't expect this one to go the distance and we also don't expect a title to change hands.
Another title bout with an Asian on this card sees unheralded Filipino Rey Loreto (17-13, 9) fighting for the IBO Light Flyweight title. Loreto, although on a good run, will be a clear under-dog against South African Nkosinathi Joyi (24-2-0-1, 17), who of course holds notable wins over Florante Condes and Katsunari Takayama. Although the under-dog Loreto will refuse to write himself off and could well score the most memorable upset of his career. In terms of the betting odds, we have seen Loreto priced as wide at 10-to-1 giving him almost at little chance as Adama. We'd not say those odds are wrong but we do think Loreto will give Joyi one very tough fight.
The final bout with Asian on this card feature's Russia's Roman Belaev (12-0, 10) who takes on Ireland's Dean Byrne (17-2-1, 6) in a battle for the vacant WBA Continental Welterweight title. Belaev is priced as the big favourite and we'll admit we expect him to roll over the limited and light hitting Irishman who has little for the Russian to be afraid of.