Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attention turns to Korakuen Hall this coming Saturday for the next Teiken show, and it's a really interesting one packed with prospects all looking to secure their next wins, along with a Japanese title eliminator.
The main event of the card will see the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) take on Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6), in a bout to secure a place at the Champion Carnival next year, as the mandatory challenger for the Japanese title at 130lbs. Of the two men Hata will be regarded as the favourite, and he's not just the bigger puncher but also the man in form, having won his last 9 including notable wins over Shingo Kusano, Konshin Takeshima and Yoji Saito, who he stopped in March in a brilliant performance. As for Hara he had won his last 5, 4 of which he has won by stoppage, but this will be his first bout in Tokyo, and his most notable bout since a 2018 loss in the Rookie of the Year. Hara is talented, but this is very much a big step up for him, in enemy territory.
The most notable of the prospects on the card is JBC and OPBF ranked hopeful Mikito Nakano (6-0, 5), who has looked sensational since his debut and is expected to secure his first title fighter sooner rather than later. The talented Nakano will be seeking his second win of the year as he takes on Filipino visitor Lorenz Ladrada (11-3-1, 3) , who has lost 2 of his last 3 including a 4th round KO loss to Dana Coolwell in July. That bout will Coolwell will likely be seen as the target for Nakano who will be wanting to take Ladrada out quicker than the popular Australian fighter. This is scheduled for 8, but if it goes the distance we'd be very, very surprised.
The under-card on this show is packed with the next wave of emerging Teiken prospects. We won't go into details on the bouts individually, as every under-card bout features a notable prospect, but the card really does show the depth of talent at the Teiken gym. These under-card bouts are Kenji Fujita (2-0, 1) facing Ronnie Campos (9-4-3, 6), in a scheduled 8 rounder, and Subaru Murata (2-0, 2) against Marvilo Aballe (8-2-2, 3), Kota Kaneko (1-0, 1) battling Sugary Montales (3-1, 1), Reo Saito (1-0, 1) clashing with Jufel Salina (5-4-1, 4), Kyosuke Takami (1-0, 1) up against In Cheol Hwang (3-0-1, 1) and a battle of debutants as Keito Tanaka (0-0) and Hyuga Oki (0-0) face off, all over the 6 round distance.
Spaceplus Bangkok RCA, Bangkok
Whilst the card in Japan is about the next generation of Japanese stars, there is also a card in Thailand, which features both a touted prospects and a veteran, who is certainly moving into the end years of his career.
The main bout here will see the unbeaten men collide, as touted Thai hopeful Yuttapong Tongdee (8-0, 4) faces Filipino visitor Herlan Gomez (5-0, 2) , in a bout for Yuttapong's WBA Asia Bantamweight title. The 29 year old Yuttapong is touted as one of Thailand's hottest prospects, and his win over Ryan Rey Pontmeras earlier this year for the WBA title is a big step towards him getting a notable international bout. Sadly he's in one of the toughest divisions in the sport, but if he's patient he will likely land a major fight Naoya Inoue eventually moves up to Super Bantamweight. As for Gomez this will be his third bout in Thailand, and comes on the back of two wins, over previously unbeaten Thai's earlier this year. He will, rightfully, be seen as the under-dog, but he will certainly have plenty of self belief thanks to his recent results.
The veteran on the card is former world title contender Tewa Kiram (47-1, 33), who famously fought Lucas Matthysse back in 2018. Since losing to Matthysse he has gone unbeaten, racking up 9 wins, but has fought as high as 175lb and his most notable bout during this stretch was against former Bantamweight and Super Featherweight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha. His career certainly feels like it's petering out, and at the time of writing his opponent for this bout is un-named, suggesting he won't be facing someone able to put up any kind of a test.
Saigon Sports Club, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the notable action in Japan and Thailand we also get a mall card in Vietnam, featuring some of Vietnam's top prospects taking on international opposition.
One of the more notable prospects on this card is Super Middleweight hopeful Dinh Hoang Truong (2-0, 2), who looked set for big things in early 2020, after dominating Yuttana Wongda in the Philippines, but has now been out of the ring for close to 32 months and will be looking to shake some ring rust here. In the opposite corner to Truong will be Indonesian veteran Robert Kopa (14-11-3, 4), who is not expected to put up much, if anything, of a test for Truong. Now aged 38 Kopa has lost his last 5, with 3 losses coming by stoppage and is without a win in 5 years. He i also the naturally much, much, much smaller man.
Another prospect with some hope on their shoulders is 29 year old Huu Toan Le (4-0, 2), who takes on the highly experienced Silem Serang (18-23-3, 2). Le has managed to fit in a fight earlier this year, taking a competitive decision over Kitidech Hirunsuk in March to claim the WBA Asia title, and he'll be looking to build on that win, whilst also getting some valuable experience here. Whilst Serang does have a terrible looking record, he has shown some desire to change things in recent years, and has won 3 of his last 4, though was beaten last time out by Frengky Rohi, albeit in a well contested and competitive bout.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
The main show for us this coming Saturday is the latest in the long line of Dynamic glove cards from Korakuen Hall, and it's a real show case for the future of Japanese boxing thanks to Teiken. The card is headlined by a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, and is then packed with talented novices all looking to take big strides forward with their careers.
The main event will see 26 year old Japanese warrior Ryota Toyoshima (15-2-1, 9) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title against Filipino challenger Adam Diu Abdulhamid (17-10, 9). For the talented Toyoshima, who is enjoying the best run of his career, this will be his second defense of the title, and a chance for him to not just tighten his grip on the regional scene but also take a step towards a potential world title fight. This bout is very much one that he should look great in, but he can't over-looked Abdulhamid. The Filipino is an aggressive fighter, who will be in the ring looking to force the action and drag Toyoshima into a war, which could give us a genuinely excellent battle. The skills are with the champion, but the challenger does have heart and desire and could well play his part in a bit of an action packed war. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Asian Pacific champion Toyoshima battles Abdulhamid!
From the prospects on the card, the hardest matched is former amateur standout Gonte Lee (3-0-1, 1), who takes on Korean visitor Moo Hyun Kim (9-2, 5). Lee was tipped for huge things when he turned professional, but the pandemic has slowed his rise and he'll know that if he's going to deliver on the promise he showed as an amateur he's going to have to shine here. As for Kim he returns to Japan for his third bout in the country, where he currently holds a 2-0 record, but Lee is, by far, the most talented fighter and polished fighter he will have faced.
Another former amateur standing out looking to pick up a win against a foreign import is the wonderfully gifted Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) , who takes on Thai visitor Suphaphon Hanvichachay (3-0, 2), in what we are expecting will be an explosive, and short bout. Both men can punch, and only one of their 5 combined bouts has gone beyond 3 rounds. Don't blink when these two are in there together.
Another battle of unbeaten men will see Junya Shimada (1-0, 1) battle Rechel Calo (3-0, 1). Shimada made his debut last year, and eked out a narrow win over Shigetoshi Kotari, and will be hoping to put in a more commanding effort here. As for Calo this is his first bout away from home and a huge step up, given Shimada's amateur exploits.
Other under-card bouts will include Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2), looking to bounce back from his loss, taking on Thailand's Kitidech Hirunsuk (9-2, 5), former Rookie of the year winner, Hiromasa Urakawa (7-1, 4) battling Thailand's Perapan Judkan (8-1, 7), in what could be a very explosive bout, and the debut of Hiroki Ogawa (0-0), who takes on unbeaten Thai novice Phongthep Bunchari (1-0, 1).
Spaceplus Bangkok RCA, Bangkok, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan, featuring notable hopefuls and prospects, we get the chance to see some top Thai hopefuls taking on some dangerous Filipino fighters in WBA Asia title fights.
The more notable the two major bouts will see Tanes Ongjunta (10-1, 5) look to make his third defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title as he takes on the very dangerous Jeny Boy Boca (14-7, 12). The talented Ongjunta has rebuilt well since being stopped in 2020, by Adrian Lerasan in a forgotten but thrilling 8 round war, and has scored 6 wins since then to get his career back on track. On paper Boca doesn't look like a test, but the visitor is dangerous, as he showed last time he was in Thailand, when he stopped Sarawut Thawornkham. Sadly though he has been inactive since a December 2020 loss to Muhammad Waseem
The other bout will see Yuttapong Tongdee (7-0, 4) battle Ryan Rey Ponteras (23-15-3, 12) with the two men trading blows for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. Tongdee looks to be among the most talented of the emerging Thai hopefuls, but this is a genuine step up for him and we could see him being given a genuine chin check by Ponteras. As his best Ponteras was a tough, stubborn guy with solid power, and he showed that stubbornness late last year when he gave Seong Yeong Yang a tough test, however he was taken out in a round in 2019 by Seiya Tsutsumi, who has since gone on to win the Japanese Bantamweight crown and shown his potential. This should be a real work out for the unbeaten local fighter.
Staying in Asia, we also get a show in China, with a former world title challenger, who's fighting for only the second time since losing in a world title fight in 2019, and an unbeaten hopeful.
The former world title challenger is Wulan Tuolehazi (14-4-1, 7), who famously challenged Kosei Tanaka for the WBO Flyweight title on the final day of 2019 and was stopped by the KO Dream Boy. Since then Tuolehazi has scored a single win, in early 2020, and will be fighting for the first time in over 2 years here, as he takes on DianXing Zhu (6-1, 5). Zhu is a 25 year old with heavy hands but he is also a naturally smaller man than Tuolehazi, and is unlikely to have the power to get the respect of the veteran.
The other bout of note on this card will see the unbeaten 22 year old LeQuan Wang (6-0, 4) look to continue his winning streak as he takes on Zixiang Wang (4-2, 2), who's only losses have been by razor thin split decisions. The unbeaten Wang began his career in 2019 and has looked heavy handed through out his career, but has faced a string of very limited foes, with 4 wins against debutants and 5 wins against fighters without a win. As for Zixiang Wang he began his career in 2017 and has, overall, faced better opponents, but was beaten just 2 fights ago, and hasn't shown much in terms of power. For both men this is their most notable bout to date, and should provide a genuine chance to see if either man has what it takes to make a mark on the regional scene.
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Over in the US we'll see hard hitting Uzbekistani hopeful Bektemir Melikuziev (9-1, 7) continue his rebuilding process as he takes on the experienced Sladan Janjanin (32-11, 24), from Bosnia And Herzegovina. The hard hitting Melikuziev will be looking for his third win since his shock 2021 loss to Gabe Rosado, and he shouldn't have any problems here. Janjanin is experience, and does have plenty of wins to his name, but his wins have come at a very, very low level and he has consistently lost when he has faced name fighters, including a 7th round TKO loss to Nathan Heaney last year and a 3rd round TKO loss in 2016 to Steven Butler.
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
This coming Saturday the attention of the boxing world is focused on Nevada for one of the biggest shows of the years, headlined by the face of boxing. Whilst the focus of the show will be the main event, the undercard has a number of Asian fighters on it, all of which are looking to move their careers forward.
The main event will see Kyrgyzstan born Russian Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11) defending his WBA Light Heavyweight "super" title against Mexican megastar Saul Alvarez (57-1-2, 39). For Bivol this is the biggest fight of his career, by far, and a chance for the talented, but often frustrating, technician to announce himself on the wider boxing world. There is no doubting Bivol's ability, but he has frustrated fans, and opponents, in recent years with safety first performances and his bouts have often been dreary to watch. As for Canelo he seems to be getting better and better, an recent wins over Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant saw him putting on great performances and breaking both men down. Although Alvarez will go in as the big favourite, Bivol should ask serious questions of Alvarez with his footwork and good work at range. However Bivol needs to stick to his fight, needs to create space and do anything he can to prevent Canelo from getting close, where he's at his most dangerous. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Bivol and Canelo clash in legacy defining bout!
Aside from the main event, the most notable supporting bout was supposed to be an IBF Heavyweight world title eliminator, between unbeaten Chinese fighter Zhilei Zhang (23-0-1, 18) and Croatian fighter Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12). Sadly that Hrgovic was forced to pull out, and he has been replaced replaced by Scott Alexander (16-4-2, 8), in a massive down grade, though thankfully the card is still a strong one.
In a solid supporting bout unbeaten Uzbek fighter Shakhram Giyasov (12-0, 9) will be up against Mexican puncher Christian Gomez (22-2-1, 20), in a bout for the IBF North American Welterweight title fight. The 28 year old Giyasov has blown hot and cold at times, but the 2016 Olympic Silver medal winner is an undeniable talent, and when he's looked good he has looked really good, including his wins over Darleys Perez and Winston Campos, and looked like a fighter with the potential to win a world title. One day. As for Gomez the Mexican is a real danger man who has won both of his previous US bouts, and recently ended the unbeaten run of Jorge Perez Sanchez, who was 13-0 at the time. Given both of these men have heavy hands this could be explosive, exciting, and dangerous for both men.
Another Uzbek hopeful on this card is Elnur Abduraimov (8-0, 7), who returns to a US ring for the first time since 2018, as he takes on fellow unbeaten Manuel Correa (11-0, 7), a US based Cuban, in a brilliant match up. The hard hitting Abduraimov has long been tipped as one to keep an eye on, though sadly hasn't really raced through the ranks like many expected, instead deciding to flip-flop between the professional ranks and the amateur one, though hopefully his focus will now be on the pros. As for Correa, the 31 year old has a great looking record, but there really is no substance to his 11-0 record, and he was some what fortunate in February to squeak past Marcello Williams, a limited Brazilian fighter. This should be explosive, exciting and well worth tuning in early to the show for.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
Whilst the biggest card of the day is in the US, by far, there is a reason to actually look at what's happening in Asia as Thailand plays host to a card featuring some of the country's top young talent.
The main event of the card will see WBA Asia Flyweight champion Tanes Ongjunta (9-1, 4) look to make his second defense, as he takes on the highly experienced Kongfah CP Freshmart (41-1-1, 20). The talented Ongjunta has rebuilt well since his 2020 loss to Adrian Lerasan, and has looked like a genuine prospect, though we will always wonder what happens when a fight sticks it on him, much like Lerasan did. In the opposite corner is a man who has bucket loads of experience, and has gone 28 bouts unbeaten, since a 2015 loss to Daigo Higa. That run has been, mostly, poor but has included wins over Samartlek Kokietgym and Ryoji Fukunaga and he is certainly a talented fighter, who should have done a lot more with his career. An indepth preview of this fight can be read here Tanes Ongjunta V Jakrawut Majungoen – Fight Breakdown and Prediction
Another title bout will see the talented Thitisak Hoitong (3-0, 2) take on the once beaten Kitidech Hirunsuk (8-1, 5) for the WBA Asia Light Flyweight title. We were impressed by Thitisak on his 2020 debut, when he beat Samartlek Kokietgym, and since then he has looked a real talent, though this is arguably the first time he's taken on a fighter looking to beat him. Kitidech on the other hand is a 19 year old, who won his first 8, against low level competition, but was beaten back in March, when Huu Toan Le took a very close 12 round decision over him in Vietnam. That loss in Vietnam showed Kitidech was a very capable fighter and he will not be fighting to just make up the numbers here.
One of the most skilled Thai prospects coming through the ranks is Nattapong Jankaew (9-0, 5), who has already notched notable wins against the likes of Samartlek Kokietgym, Petchbarngborn Kokietgym and Pigmy Kokietgym. Sadly for someone with a strong resume after 9 bouts, be really is competing in a nothing bout here, as he faces off with Worawatchai Boonjan (19-26-2, 16), who doesn't belong in the ring with Nattapong. Whilst Worawatchai is experienced he has been stopped 16 times in his career, including an opening round loss in 2019 to Andrew Selby, and this shouldn't be a test for the unbeaten hopeful.
One other top Thai prospect on this card is Yuttapong Tongdee (6-0, 4), who looks to secure his next win as he takes on Lerdchai Chaiyawed (6-7, 2). This should be a straight forward win for Tongdee, who was a top Thai amateur, but it should also be a case of him getting some much needed rounds, after fighting just once last year. Tongdee is a talent, but at the age of 28 he needs to be active, and his team needs to begin to move his career along. A win here needs to be followed by a notable step up in class later in the year.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
We also get some action at Korakeun Hall, as we see the next set of qualifying bouts for the East Japan Rookie of the Year. The stand out bout on this card will see Kenshin Hosokawa (2-0, 2) and Kota Araki (3-0, 2), who clash at Super Bantamweight. The 19 year old Hosokawa debuted in December, and has needed 6 rounds for his two wins to date, including one over the then unbeaten Kenshin Tomihira, whilst 22 year old Araki has got 7 rounds to his name, since making his own debut last August. This is the type of bout Rookie of the Year throws at us, and the type of bout we love to see, between two young hopefuls.
February has been a worryingly quiet month for fans who follow Asian fighters. Thankfully however there is a real pick up in activity this coming Saturday with a host of Asian fighters in action all around the globe.
Bula Gym, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The most meaningful bout of the day comes from the Philippines where we get world title action from General Santos City. The bout in question will see IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11) defending his title against Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11), with Taduran looking to record his second defense of the belt.The aggressive and heavy handed Taduran has impressed in several bouts, notably his loss to Wanheng Menayothin and his title win against Samuel Salva, however he has been out of the ring since a technical draw against Daniel Valladares just over a year ago. Cuarto on the other hand lacks a real win of note, though is a hungry 24 year old challenger looking to make his mark on the sport. Sadly Cuarto hasn't fought since late 2019 and is 2-1-1 in his last 4, but is very much a live under-dog and is technically more rounded than the champion. A full preview of this bout can be read here Taduran takes on Cuarto in All-Filipino world title fight!
Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Although the biggest bout of the day is in the Philippines the most interesting card is actually in Kazakhstan where we get the chance to see a number of exciting prospects in action.
The most notable bout on this show will see fast rising Kazakh standout Kamshybek Kunkabayev (2-0, 2) battle in his first title fight, as he takes on the once beaten Steven Ward (13-1, 4) for the WBO Asia Pacific Cruiserweight title. Kunkabayev was an amateur standout who has been hugely impressive since making his pro debut last year, and has notched two very solid wins in as many fights. In the opposite corner is Ward, a Northern Irish fighter who's record looks good, but under the surface his competition has been poor and his sole loss, an opening round TKO to Ricards Bolotniks, does not bode well for him here. On paper Ward is probably the first opponent who is coming to beat Kunkabayev, though we suspect he'll be taken out relative early on here. Our preview of this one can be read here Kunkabayev goes for gold as he battles Ward!
(Editor's note - Kunakabayev's opponent has been changed, he will now be facing Ukrainian fighter Server Emurlaiev (23-1, 8), unfortunately these articles are scheduled more than a week in advance, and the previews are written 2 to 3 weeks before a bout.)
In a much more interesting looking bout we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Nurtas Azhbenov (10-0, 4) take on once beaten Russian Evgeny Smirnov (13-1-3, 3). The 26 year old Azhbenov has shown some promise, but doesn't appear to be a star in the making, with a lack of power likely to be one of the things holding him back from the big time. He has also been matched relatively softly through his 10 bout career. Smirnov on the other hand has been matched harder, but has struggled and has gone 0-1-3 against unbeaten fighters. Smirnov is also win-less in his last 3, going 0-1-2 since late 2018. This one should be "interesting" but we suspect it will lack drama, as neither man is known for having much power.
Exciting youngster Talgat Shayken (3-0, 2) will be looking for his 4th professional win as he takes on Russian fighter Evgeny Pavko (18-3-1, 13). Although not the most talented or polished fighter out there Shayken is a very entertaining fighter, who comes to rumble, presses forward with a high intensity and really lets his shots fly when in range. He's a very fan friendly fighter who needs time to mature and develop, but should be on the radar for fans who follow the Central Asian scene. Pavko on the other hand is a very decent, well respected and experienced fighter who will be looking for a victory here, rather than rolling over and just losing. His 3 losses have all been struggles for the winners and we suspect Shayken will need to work hard for a victory here, though his natural size should be the difference here.
A potentially explosive bout will see once beaten Kazakh Abay Tolesh (6-1, 4) take on Russian Vasily Shtyk (2-2, 2). The talented Tolesh is looking to score his second win following a 2020 loss to Saparbay Aidarov and will be wanting to make a statement. Shtyk on the other hand is a limited but tough fighter who has heavy hands, as he showed last time out against Sergey Kozhukhar. We expect Shtyk to be a potential banana skin here for Tolesh.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
Staying in Asia we'll also get the first Thai show of 2021 as TL Promotions give us a card in Bangkok.
The main event here will see former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6) take on the once beaten Arnon Yupang (6-1, 3). Despite now being 41 Amnat is proving to be a slippery and talented fighter, who is still putting in solid performances, as we saw last year against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Pungluang Sor Singyu. Aged 23 this is a big step up for Yupang, but also a great chance for him to put his name on the map. For Yupang the key is to outwork Amnat, but that is easier said than done.
On the under-card we're expecting to see the unbeaten Yuttapong Tongdee (5-0, 4), a wonderfully talented and highly promising Thai, take on Arthit Kaewbantid (3-1, 2). We regard Tongdee as on of the brightest hopefuls in Thailand but, and although this looks like an easy match up we're really just wanting to see Tongdee kept busy this year before bigger and better things in 2022.
London, United Kingdom
In London we'll see UK based Afghan fighter Quaise Khademi (8-0, 2) battle against Ijaz Ahmed (7-2) for the WBO European and the vacant IBF European Super Flyweight titles in a very good looking match up. For Khademi this will be his first defense of the WBO European title, which he won back in 2019, and will see him looking to build on a solid start to his professional career. As for Ahmed he'll be looking to bounce back from a close loss to Harvey Horn, at Flyweight. Khademi should have the edge in natural size and power, but Ahmed will not be there to suffer a second successive loss.
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida, USA
We also have action in the US as unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (22-0, 17) takes on Jerry Forrest (26-4, 20). The 37 year old Chinese fighter really has let his career slip away with father time and the promise he had following a successful amateur career is unlikely to ever be realised due to his age and relatively weak match making. Aged 32 Forrest is no push over, and despite having 4 losses is a live under-dog here, having pushed Jermaine Franklin and Carlos Takam close in recent bouts. Forrest is tough enough, experienced enough and good enough to test Zhang, and if Zhang is on the slide this may turn out to be a genuine banana skin for the big guy from China.
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.