SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire, USA
This Friday isn't a huge day for Asian fighters in general, in fact there isn't too many Asian fighters in action during the day, however there is one Asian fighter in a massive bout, and a bout that could lead him to bigger and better contests down the line, including potentially huge unification bouts.
That Asian fighter in question is Uzbekistani fighter Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) , who will be defending his WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles against Jose Velasquez (29-6-2, 19), in a bout that was put together at short notice after Ronny Rios contracted Covid19. The talented Akhmadaliev has raced through the division, and in just 9 fights has already picked up wins Danny Roman and Ryosuke Iwasa, to unify and defend his world titles, but did suffer from Covid earlier this year and it's always hard to predict how a fighter will look after testing positive for the virus. At his best he's probably the best fighter at 122lbs, which is a deep division with the likes of Stephon Fulton, Raeese Aleem and Brandon Figueroa also being in the mix for the #1 position. As for Velasquez he's a natural Bantamweight who's best win has come against Melvin Lopez. Despite an underwhelming record, Velasquez has turned his career around, and won his last 21 bouts. Sadly however they have come at a low level, and this is a major step up, as well as a bout he's taken on short noticed and moved up in weight for. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Akhmadaliev returns for second world title defense!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
In terms of action in Asia we get a small card in Tokyo, thanks to the Misako gym. It's not a major card, but it does have one bout of note on it.
The one bout of note on this event will see former 2-time Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-4-1, 12) take on rising prospect Ayato Hiromoto (4-0, 2). The 36 year old Nakagawa hasn't fought since suffering a brutal TKO loss at the hands of Ryoji Fukunaga back in December 2020. That was a loss that would have needed a lengthy rest period for Nakagawa, but at the age of 36 we're really not sure what he has left in the tank. Hiromoto on the other hand is a 24 year old, taking a big step up in class, but a youngster who will be fully aware that a win here puts him right in the mix for a title shot of his own. Of the two men Nakagawa has the edge in experience and power but Hiromoto hasn't taken much punishment, is younger, and the more polished of the two. Despite the show, overall, being bad, this is a fantastic match up and should be a very, very interesting one for the future of both men.
Sadly a scheduled bout between Takuya Uehara (17-1, 10) and Ryukyu Oho (7-5, 4), which was planned for this show, was cancelled in the week leading up to the event.
Over in Thailand we should be seeing the return of a familiar face, as Indonesian veteran Daud Yordan (40-4-0-1, 28) takes on Rachata Khaophimai (7-0, 4) for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Light Welterweight title. The talented Yordan, who has faced a genuine who's who during his career, will be fighting for the first time since he beat Michael Mokoena, around 2 years ago, and will be looking to remain relevant in the sport. Sadly however Yordan is now 34, and is very much coming to the end of his career, we thought was clear 3 years ago when he looked old and slow against Anthony Crolla. Aged 18 Rachata is a new face on the Thai scene, though sadly his competition so far has been dire, and he's yet to beat a guy with a winning record. Given his competition so far, he's not just stepping up in class here, but leaping up, massively. We do feel Yordan's career is winding down, but a loss here for the Indonesian veteran would be a massive shocker a huge upset.