Sambo Hall, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
The main Asian card this coming Saturday comes from Hyogo where Shinsei Gym will be putting on a small, but solid, card.
The main event of the show will see Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2) and Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) battle for the vacant Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Of the two men Inoue is certainly the more well known, having won the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year, gave Kai Ishizawa fits in their 2018 Youth title bouts, and has some solid domestic level wins. He's a very talented youngster, and he has the potential to mix at the higher domestic levels over the coming years, but is still a fighter who is developing and is a long way from being the finished product. Mori made his debut in 2017 and despite some mixed results has shown plenty of potential. Aged 21 he's also a man who is far from the finished product, but to date he has shown less overall ability than Inoue and this is a clear step up for him here. Yuga Inoue clashes with Aoba Mori for Youth title
In a support bout bout we'll see the out of form Shohei Kawashima (18-5-2, 4) take on the once beaten Takeshi Takehara (6-1, 1). The talented Kawashima started his career by going unbeaten in his first 16 bouts before losing a very competitive decision to former world champion Cristian Mijares. Sadly since losing to Mijares we've seen Kawashima struggle to string together good results, going 4-4 since loss, including KO losses to Hiroaki Teshigawara and Shingo Wake, leaving him in desperate need for a win. Takehara on the other hand is looking to build on a 2020 win over Beverly Tsukada, and continue to rebuild following a 2019 loss to Ryuya Tsugawa. The light punching Takehara will be the under-dog coming in to this one, but he'll know that this is the perfect time to face Kawashima, who's confidence must be shot to bits.
In another under-card bout we'll see the once beaten Seika Fukuda (6-1, 1) take on Yuna Hara (9-2-1, 5) in a very interesting match up over 6 rounds. Fukuda's only loss came in February this year when he was stopped in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final against Tsubasa Narai, and since then he has bounced back with a win but is stepping up here. Hara on the other hand Hara on the other hand is best known for coming close to reaching the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, losing one bout before the final to Hiroki Hanabusa. Since then however he has bounced back, scored 3 straight stoppages, and looks to be developing his confidence and punching power.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
As well as the Japanese show there will also be a pair of Asian fighters in action on a US card in Miami. One is a rising Cruiserweight hopeful, whilst the other is a Filipino who should be in the mix for a world title fight, but has sadly become the forgotten man in and around the Bantamweight division.
The Cruiserweight hopeful is Kazakh puncher Serik Musadilov (10-0, 9), who stopped his first 9 opponents before going the distance this past July with Lamont Capers, in what was an underwhelming performance from the Kazakh. He'll be looking to return to stopping fighters here, as he takes on the limited Dustin Long (6-2-2-1, 4), who is 39 years old, and has been stopped twice, including an opening round loss to Tristan Kalkreuth back in March. Long's record is padded, but he does have a notable win over Marsellos Wilder, the brother of Deontay Wilder. That win aside, there's nothing on Long's record and it's hard to imagine him surviving long against Musadilov.
The other Asian fighter on this card is 24 year Filipino contender Mike Plania (25-1, 12) , who will be up against Ricardo Nunez (29-12, 23), in what is Plania's second bout since his 2020 upset win over Joshua Greer Jr. The talented Plania really deserved a big fight on that back of the Greer win, but his team have sadly dropped the ball with him, as the Filipino took 10 months out of the ring before beating Emmanuel Mogawa in April this year and is now wasting more time taking on Nunez. The 33 year old Nunez was, once, a very, very good fighter and a world class fighter, but that was a decade ago, at Flyweight. In recent years however he has been racking up losses, and is now more than 4 years removed from a win and has lost his last 6 in a row. This really should be little more than a stay buys bout for Plania.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll be getting Heavyweight action as unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (16-0, 15) takes on fellow unbeaten Alexis Garcia (11-0, 7), in a good looking match up. Sadly whilst this one looks good on paper it's hard to have any idea how good Garcia is given his competition, so far, has been dreadful, to say the least. We suspect Kossobutskiy will have no problem picking up the win here, though hopefully Garcia will put up something of a fight before taking the L.
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The main action involving Asian fighters, in fact the main action full stop, this weekend takes place on a Showtime card in Las Vegas, headlined by one of the sports few true super stars. The match up is not the one we were expecting just a few weeks ago, but is still a solid bout put on on short notice and not something we're going to be complaining about, whilst the card also features a man who has promised a lot over the years, but has failed, so far, to deliver on that promise.
The superstar in question is Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39) who was scheduled to take on Errol Spence Jr, before Spence was diagnosed with a detached retina. Instead of facing the unbeaten American star Pacquiao will instead face Cuban Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12), in a bout for the WBA "Super" title at Welterweight. On paper this is a big downgrade, though we can't help but feel this might actually be a better fight, with the styles of the two men likely to gel well, and it's also great to see Ugas, who has really not had much luck with his career, landing on his feet for once. We expect the Filipino to begin to look his 42 years of age, but with Ugas being 35 himself he's no spring chicken, and this could end up allowing Pacquiao to just squeak by in a potentially thrilling match up. Our full, in depth preview of this one can be read here Pacquiao and Ugas clash for WBA crown!
The fighter who has promised so much is Mark Magsayo (22-0, 15), who burst onto the Filipino scene way back in 2013, when he was regarded as a Filipino super prospect. Sadly, more than 8 years on, Magsayo has still not shown what he can really do, and his signature win stands as a 2016 victory over Chris Avalos. Here he has a great chance to score a win of note as he battles against Julio Ceja (32-4-1, 28). The exciting Ceja, was once a very notable fighter and is a former WBC interim champion at 122lbs. Sadly however he's without a win since November 2017, he's not fought since November 2019 and he's also not a natural Featherweight. Ceja, at his best, would have been a great test for Magsayo, but all things considered it's hard to get too excited about this one.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (15-0, 14) look to score his biggest win to date as he takes on America Joey Dawejko (21-8-4, 12). It's fair to say that 2021 has been a frustrating year for Kossobutskiy, who has seen dates and events fall by the way side, including a planned UK debut, but it'll be good to see him back in the ring here, and Dawejko is no push over. In fact he could be a rare test for the big Kazakh who has been relatively under-tested thus far. Saying that we still strongly back Kossobutskiy to win, but he should be asked some questions here.
This coming Saturday isn't a big day for Asian fight fans, but there is plenty of action to get excited about, including a solid looking card in the Philippines, an unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful and a couple of Uzbek fighters.
Binan City, Laguna, Philippines
The main focus for us will be the Philippines where we get two mouth watering match ups.
The most notable of the two will be a bout between Vic Saludar (20-4, 11) and Robert Paradero (18-0, 12), which is expected to be for some form of WBA title at Minimumweight. The bout will see Saludar looking to secure his second win since losing the WBO world title in 2019 to Wilfredo Mendez and could help him move towards a showdown with Knockout CP Freshmart. The heavy handed former champion is the more proven man but we need to wonder what he'll be like after more than a year away from the ring. As for Paradero he's yet to face anyone of real note, though has long been touted as a really bright prospect. Sadly, aged 24, Paradero appears to be coming in to this bout without having had the developmental fights he'd need to hold his own against someone like Saludar. Saying that however he will clearly be there to make the most of this huge opportunity. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Sure Thing: Vic Saludar and Roberto Paradero in all-Filipino WBA ‘not-quite’ title fight
In a supporting bout the talented 21 year old Carl Jammes Martin (16-0, 14) looks to extend his unbeaten record, as he takes on the battle tested Joe Tejones (13-7, 7). The hard hitting Martin has long been regarded as a thrilling, fun to watch prospect, but one who is somewhat open and needs polishing before stepping up in class. Tejones on the other hand has been matched hard and has already shared the ring with the likes of Hinata Maruta, Tenta Kiyose and Tsuyoshi Tameda. We suspect Martin will be too good and too strong, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) take part in his first bout of the new year as he battles heavy handed Nigerian Onoriode Ehwarieme (18-1, 17) for the WBA International Heavyweight title. The unbeaten Kossobutskiy was a talented amateur and has shown some promise since turning professional in 2017, however at the age of 32 he is at the point where he needs to begin making a move towards bigger and better fights. He has been active, with 14 fights in less than 4 years, but he needs to begin facing name quality foes this year. Ehwarieme on the other hand hasn't faced too many fights of note but is, surprisingly, well travelled with fights in Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina and the USA. Sadly his most notable result is an opening round loss to Rodney Hernandez, which sums up his level pretty well.
If we're being honest we suspect Kossobutskiy ends up stopping Ehwarieme relatively early on here in what will look like a pointless mismatch, despite looking interesting on paper.
Doubletree Miamimart Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA
American based Kazakh fighter Dimash Niyazov (13-1-3, 6) ends a lengthy break from the ring as he takes on feather fisted Argentine Jonatan Hernan Godoy (5-7). The 32 year old Niyazov hasn't fought since April 2018, when he lost a decision to Angel Sarinana. Since then he has been working as a police officer in New York. Amazingly since Niyazov last fought Godoy has fought 11 times. If activity is the key here, Godoy has a chance, otherwise we suspect Niyazov's class and skills will be the difference.
Shelby Co Fairgrounds, Shelbyville, Kentucky, USA
We can't help but feel that unbeaten American based Korean fighter Jongin Choi (5-0, 3) needs a step up now, at the age of 29. Sadly however that won't be happening here, as he takes on win-less 43 year old Muhammad Adams (0-5-1). Disappointingly this looks to be little more than a record padding effort for Choi, who really needs to be facing someone coming to win. To date Choi's first 5 opponents have a combined record of 1-35-1 and this low level of competition is doing nothing to advance his career.
Vegas City Hall, Krasnogorsk, Russia
Over in Russia we'll see two Uzbek fighters in action.
The most notable of the two is unbeaten Lightweight Ulugbek Qayumboev (3-0, 3), who has taken out his first 3 opponents in a combined 7 rounds. Sadly, at the time of writing, Qayumboev hasn't had his opponent for this bout named, though given his first 3 opponents we're not expecting anyone too testing for the unbeaten 20 year old.
The other Uzbek on this show will be Muzaffar Rasulov (5-2, 3), who looks to continue a 4 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Arkadi Harutyunyan (4-14-0-1, 1). The 24 year old Rasulov lost 2 of his first 3 but has began showing some genuine promise, though he is obviously still a work in progress. Armenian born Russian Harutyunyan scored one of the biggest upsets of 2020, stopping Andrey Klimov in February, but then lost 6 in a row as he failed to build on a career best win. Notably the win over Klimov was his first since 2013! With that in mind we're not giving him much of a chance here.
This coming Saturday is a bizarrely quiet day for Asian boxing, though of course is a much, much bigger day for fighters outside of Asia. Despite being quiet for Asian fighters there is still plenty of action taking place around the globe, including one particularly big fight in the US.
As for Asian fighters in action lets take a look at what we have coming up.
Philips Halle, Duesseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
In Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) look to build on his unbeaten record as he takes on American veteran Steve Vukosa (12-1, 4). The unbeaten Kossobutskiy will be looking to defend his IBO minor title and also claim a minor WBA title here, as he looks to give his career a massive boost, something needed as he's now on the wrong side of 30. Vukosa on the other hand is a 42 year old American, who got this fight on short notice and will be looking to build on a surprise upset win last year, against Joe Cusumano. We really don't see this as being anything other than a straight forward win for Kossobutskiy, who looks to move to 3-0 for 2020.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
In the US we see the biggest action of the weekend, up in Las Vegas, however there is also some Asian action over in Florida, with two Filipino fighters in action. Sadly though both of these bouts are total mismatches.
One of the Filipino fighters is Mark Bernaldez (20-4, 14), who looks to bounce back from a July loss to Albert Bell. Against Bell we saw Bernaldez being totally nullified by the reach, speed, and size of Bell. Thankfully Bernaldez will be expecting an easier bout here as he takes on limited Argentinian veteran Julian Evaristo Aristule (34-13, 17). Given that Aristule has lost his last 4, including 3 by stoppage, this should be regarded as little more than a confidence builder for the Filipino.
The other Filipino on this show will be Jameson Bacon (23-4, 15), who takes on Gonzalez Carlos Dallera (6-8, 4), who is also from Argentina. This should be am easy win for Bacon, especially given that Dallera has gone 1-8 in his last 9 and has been stopped 7 times in his 8 losses. As with Bernaldez's bout this should be regarded as a mismatch, but a chance get Bacon a win following a loss last November to Darragh Foley.
In Asia we get a small show from China, where the action really will be low profile stuff. Thankfully there are a couple of 6 rounders worthy of some attention.
One of those 6 rounders will see Jiangtao Cao (2-4) take on XiaoAn Liang (2-0, 1). Coming in to this Cao has lost his last 4, he's limited, he's low on confidence, but it's going to be interesting to see how Liang copes with him here. Liang began his career in January 2019, picked up a win in July 2020 and now looks for his third win, in what is his toughest bout, on paper, so far.
The other 6 rounder will see the unbeaten YuanHai Liu (2-0, 1) take on the debuting Ze Wang (0-0). Not much to say here, but we are always interested when a fighter debuts in a 6 rounder, so hopefully Wang will have something about him, and will show us something to be excited about.
After numerous delays and false starts we'll now see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Zhan Kossobutskiy (13-0, 12) return to the ring this coming Tuesday, as he takes on English based Polish fighter Kamil Sokolowski (9-17-2, 3). On paper the bout is a total mismatch in favour of the unbeaten and solid punching Kazakh, however paper doesn't fight and Sakolowski shouldn't be written off. The man with 17 losses has repeatedly played the upsetting in the UK and he'll be looking to do the same here, and give another fighter their first loss. In terms of skills Sokolowski has the tools to make life very awkward for Kossobutskiy, but the Kazakh is heavy handed and has shown some promise.
This might look like a mismatch but in reality we suspect it could be a very, very good test for the unbeaten 31 year old southpaw.
This coming Friday we were expecting a number of cards, including a pretty interesting one from Japan, though as is now well reported there will be no Japanese cards and we're left with just 2 shows to close out the week, one in Australia and one in the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The card in Dubai looks interesting on paper, but in reality it's hard to get too excited by it, however there are some bouts we can look forward to seeing.
One of the bouts on this card that interests us will see the talented, but frustrating, Nurtas Azhbenov (8-0, 3) take on JR Magboo (18-4-2, 9). The unbeaten Kazakh southpaw turned pro with plenty of expectations on his shoulders but has yet to really show what he can do, fingers crossed that against a solid opponent like Magboo we'll get a chance to see what Azhbenov is all about. Magboo has lost 4 of his last 6 but should ask the Kazakh some questions here.
Another Kazakh pencilled in for this card is Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (12-0, 11), though at the time of writing his opponent for the bout isn't listed. For Kossobutskiy the bout will be his 4th in a year, but at the age of 31 he needs to be getting significant fights during 2020 if he's to make his mark on the pro ranks.
One other bout on this show worthy of some interest will see Dubai based Afghan teenager Hasibullah Ahmadi (9-0, 2) take on Haidari Mchanjo (11-7-4, 5) in a 6 rounder. The unbeaten Ahmadi had a decent step up last time and there is certainly no need to rush him, but fingers crossed bouts from here will be steps up in class. The 21 Mchanjo, from Tanzania, is 0-3 away from home and we expect that poor run to continue here.
Western Australia, Australia
In Australia we expect to see a lot of easy wins for local fighters who appear to be taking on some very over-matched visitors from Indonesia.
One bout pencilled in for this card will see Wes Capper (20-4-1, 12) take on Alexander Bajawa (43-11-4, 16) at Middleweight. Capper has gone 1-2-1 in his last 4 but he should be able to easily over-come the limited Bajawa, who is 3-9 in his last 12 and has bounced all over the weights, with his last bout being a regional Heavyweight title bout. On paper Bajawa represents a test but in reality we expect Capp to stop his Indonesian foe.
Another bout where we expect the local to beat a visiting Indonesian is bout between the once beaten Steve Gago (11-1, 4) and regional journeyman Geisler AP (14-10-2, 11). Gago's only loss came last year, to the very talented Nursultan Zhangabayev, and he should have far, far too much in the tank for AP here. The 36 year old visitor is unbeaten in his last 8, but this is a massive step up for him.
Another bout where we expect an Indonesian to pick up a loss will be a bout between Australian based Nigerian born novice Kazeem Soyoye (2-0, 1) and Jio Alfriando (5-8, 2). It's hard to saw too much about Soyoye, given how much of a novice he is, but the visitor is 2-5 in his last 7 and has gone 0-7 away from home.
One bout where the expected lose is from the Philippine swill see local fighter Jackson Jon England (11-1, 6) take on experienced Pinoy loser Jason Tinampay (11-13-1, 9), with the men battled for a WBC regional title. Tinampay has won his last 3, and on his day can be a tough guy to look good against, but we don't see him really testing the Australian here, with Jackson entering on a 7 fight winning run.
Our attention turns to China this coming Wednesday, as once beaten local Xiao Tao Su (9-1, 4) takes on once touted Thai Attanon Kunlawong (14-2, 11). The Chinese fighter is a 22 year old who comes into this bout on the back of a 5 fight winning run, including a win over Japan's Riki Hamada. Despite being on a good run 2 of his 5 recent wins have been razor thin decisions and he is certainly not unbeatable. The Thai, who started 13-0, has been stopped in 2 of his last 3, including by the then debuting Apichet Petchmanee last October. Kunlawong, also known as Konghtara KKP, once looked like an excellent prospect and holds a very early career win over Shingo Kawamura, but is now struggling to hold on to his career.
Unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Zhan Kossobutskiy (9-0, 8) will continue his slow rise, and return to a ring in Minsk, as he takes on as he takes on Venezuelan Cruiserweight Williams Ocando (20-7, 16), who was a late replacement for German based veteran Eugen Buchmueller (15-4, 12). On paper this looks like a step up, but sadly that says more about Kossobutskiy's opposition so far rather than anything about his opponent here