This coming Sunday isn't a big day for Asian boxing but there are a few shows taking place with some action on them.
Jekpe-Jek Arena, Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan
The most notable card of the day is in Kazakhstan where we see some notable unbeaten fighters look to step up and show what they can do.
One of those unbeaten fighters is 22 year old Heavyweight hopeful Danila Semenov (3-0, 2), who looks to score his second win of the year as he takes on the experienced Vikapita Meroro (30-10, 15), from Namibia. Semenov has looked good since beginning his professional career, and it is hard to criticise him and his team for this match up, but Meroro is a 36 year old who is 2-6 in his last 8 and has been stopped 5 times in those 6 losses. Semenov should pick up the win, with out any problems, but we would like to see him in with better opponents than this sooner rather than later.
Another touted youngster on this card is 21 year old Yevgeniy Pavlov (4-0, 3), who is stepping up in impressive fashion to take on the once beaten Isaac Sackey (25-1-1, 20) in a bout for the WBA International Super Bantamweight title. Pavlov was a stellar amateur and the way his team are moving him is really impressive. He appears to have the talent to go a long way and we don't imagine Sackey will be much of a test, despite his impressive looking record. Sackey, from Ghana, will be fighting away from home for the first time, and it's always interesting to see how fighters look when they away from home. Sadly we don't imagine Sackey is going to travel well.
A genuinely interesting match up at Super Middleweight will see 23 year old Kazakh hopeful Bek Nurmaganbet (4-0, 2) take on former Ryota Murata opponent Bruno Sandoval (21-4-1, 17) in a bout for the WBA International title at 168lbs. Nurmaganbet was regarded as one of the best Kazakh amateurs a few ago and turned professional to a lot of fanfare, but hasn't yet really shown what he can do, something we expect to see change here as he takes a big step up in class. Sandoval is a decent fighter, but he is 3-3 in his last 6 with all 3 of those losses coming by stoppage, including one to Murata in 2016 one to Louis Toutin in 2019. The Kazakh should win here, but it's nice to see him in with someone who has faced some notable fighters and has some ambition of his own.
The main event is a brilliant Super Middleweight bout as unbeaten Kazakh Aidos Yerbossynuly (15-0, 10) takes on Lennox Allen (22-1-1, 14), who was last seen losing to Cuban sensation David Morrell just over a year ago. Yerbossynuly was supposed to get a world title eliminator earlier this year, before a case of Covid19 forced him to cancel those plans, and he's been out of he ring for a while now. Rather than having an easy stay busy he's in there with a solid fighter in Lennox, though Lennox will, clearly, be the under-dog. This should be a genuine test for the Kazakh, but he needs to begin kicking on sooner rather than later, especially given how he pulled out of the aforementioned eliminator.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Over in Dubai we have a really interesting card, but that one really doesn't make too much sense. It's a card that features some notable non Asian names, such as Diego Gabriel Chaves. It's a card that really does look like it's been thrown together at random and has got some strange match ups as a result.
The strangest of the match ups on the show will see once touted American Light Middleweight Glen Tapia (23-5, 15) take on Thailand's Saddam Kietyongyuth (28-8, 22), who was at his best down at 135lbs and 140lbs. Saddam was once regarded as a promising fighter bus has gone 2-6 in his last 8 and is not a natural fighter at Welterweight, never mind Middleweight, where this bout will be. This should be a very, very easy win for Tapia.
Another odd looking bout is a clash between Filipino puncher KJ Natuplag (8-3, 7) and Colombian fighter Argel Berrio (18-8, 11). On paper this one doesn't look too odd, but Berio is moving up from Bantamweight to Featherweight for the contest. We expect this one will be exciting, and a bit of a shoot out, but Natuplag should be too big, too strong and too powerful for Berrio.
Thankfully there is an all Asian bout on the card that really does actually have something going for it, and that's a bout between Sachin Dekwal (10-0, 6) and Muhammad Bilal (9-1-1, 7), in what looks pretty much like a 50-50 style bout for the WBA Asia Lightweight title. The unbeaten Dekwal has impressed in his homeland of India, and he'll know this is a chance to really build his name, but is also stepping up, massively here to take on a man who wants to beat him, and not just make up the numbers. Bilal, from Pakistan, was beaten last time out, at the end of 2020, but feel confident he has the power to hurt his foe. Given the issues between India and Pakistan we can imagine tensions running high here, and this could be a very intriguing match up.
Arena, Beppu, Oita, Japan
In Japan we get a very low key card in Oita. The card is mostly 4 rounders, in fact 3 of the 4 bouts on the show are set for the short distance. The one bout that is scheduled for a little bit longer is the main event, which is an 8 rounder between Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Takeru Kobata (10-5-1, 4), who won the title in March when he stopped Rikuto Adachi, and 33 year old Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6). Whilst this is certainly not a great bout, especially given that Kimura has lost his last 3 and hasn't scored a win since April 2019, it is good to see Kobata staying busy and this is his 4th bout since December 2020 and it's great to see a Japanese youngster being active during this current situation, which has slowed the progress of so many young fighters.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In Vietnam we'll see the once touted Van Thao Tran (13-1, 8) look to defend his very, very, lightly regarded IBA title as he takes on Fadhili Majiha (27-14-4, 13), from Tanzania. The talented Tran was expected to be the real star of Vietnamese boxing, but the last few years has seen his career stall with inactivity, bouts falling through and a loss in 2019 to Billy Dib. We would love to see Tran being tested, but Majiha is not going to be a test here. The man from Tanzania has lost consistently when fighting away from home, and it's almost unthinkable for him to pick up a win in Vietnam here.