Blue Arena, Samut Prakan, Thailand
The main action this coming Sunday comes from Thailand where Tantelecom are putting in a very, very interesting card, and as with two shows on Saturday this will be free to view online, via the promoters website.
The main event will see the very promising Nattapong Jankaew (6-0, 3) take on former Naoya Inoue opponent Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (44-9, 20). We've been really impressed by Nattapong and see him as being among the best of the rising Thai prospects. Unlike most Thai's he's very much a boxer first and it's clear he has some solid amateur pedigree and very good boxing foundations. Petchbarngborn is a 35 year old who has been been a pro since 2009 and has faced a relative who's who, including Inoue, Kohei Kono, Sho Ishida and Amnat Ruenroeng. Sadly though he is well past his prime and we see him really struggling here with the very skilled Nattapong.
In a supporting bout we'll see the debuting Thitisak Hoitong (0-0) take on former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (34-14-1, 12), who was last seen losing a decision to Nattapong. Sadly we don't know much about Thitisak, though it is known he fought as an amateur and is only 24 years old, but we do love the fact he's taking a test like Samartlek on his professional debut. Samartlek is past his best, but has proven to be a tough guy, who comes to fight ask questions of prospects and is a baptism of fire for someone making their debut. A very interesting fight, and a really tough debut for Thitisak.
Over in Japan we get the set of bouts from the Western Japan Rookie of the Year in Saga. Originally this show was supposed to have 10 bouts, but 3 of those bouts have been cancelled, including a Middleweight bout. Despite several bouts being cancelled there are still several worth talking about.
One of the more interesting bouts on this show is at Bantamweight, where Hiroki Kinjo (5-0, 4) takes on Fuya Tomita (3-2, 2), in a battle of 21 year olds. The unbeaten Kinjo made his debut in 2018 and has looked good so far, but has only faced absolute novices and his record lacks any sort of substance. In fact his 5 wins have come against opponents with a combined 1-3 record. Tomita's record is less impressive than that of Kinjo, but he has, on paper, faced better competition and was unfortunate in one of his losses. This might look like a mismatch but should be more competitive than it looks.
Another bout worthy of some attention is at Featherweight, where the 21 year old Hikaru Fukunaga (6-1, 4) takes on unbeaten 25 year old Masashi Tokihiro (1-0-1, 1). The talented Fukunaga lost around a year ago to the brilliant Jinki Maeda and since then has bounced back with two straight decision wins, though was run very close last time out out. Tokihiro made his debut in September 2019 with a win, but was held to a draw last time out. We expect this one to be explosive, and competitive.