After a busy week we see action slow down a little next week, with only real 3 cards to note from an Asian perspective.
The first of those cards comes on Wednesday from Masbate in the Philippines and sees the once beaten Jhaleel Payao (14-1, 8) battle against heavy handed compatriot Jason Tinampay (8-3-1, 7) in a bout for the Philippines Boxing Federation Bantamweight title. Whilst I’ll admit neither of these men are well known outside of Asia I’ve been impressed by Payao, who has been used in Japan as a sparring partner for a number of top fighters over there. Payao’s only loss has come to the very under-rated Michael Dasmarinas, who is a contender on the way up, and this should be a solid test. As for Tinampay he has gone 1-2-1 in his last 3 but should be a chin check for Payao before he heads into OPBF title contention.
The second card of note comes from Tokyo as be get the inaugural “Asign Bee” show, which will be on the Asign-Boxing service. For a Japanese domestic card the show is stacked with notable names,
The main event is a Japanese Bantamweight title fight between former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (29-2-2, 19) and Yushi Tanaka (19-1-3, 13), who will tradeblows for the title that was vacated by Kentaro Masuda last year. Akaho was one seen as a potential world champion but a loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu in 2015 seems to have ended those dreams and he struggled last year with domestic foe Hiroaki Teshigawara with some now thinking he may be slightly washed up. Tanaka, a stable mate of WBO Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka, is getting his second domestic title shot after a loss last year to Masuda and although he has a decent looking record it is padded, and a win here would be the biggest of his career by some margin. Potentially the loser will be left looking down the barrel here.
Former WBO Bantamweight weight world champion Tomoki Kameda (32-2, 20) will be making a long awaited return to a Japanese ring in one of the main supporting bouts. Kameda, who hasn’t fought on Japanese soil in more than 3 years, will be up against world ranked Thai Mike Tawatchai (42-9-1, 25), who has lost in previous visits to Japan against Yukinori Oguni, Shingo Wake and Tomoki’s brother Daiki Kameda. Although known for his exploits at Bantamweight Tomoki is looking to advance his career at Super Bantamweight and will know a win here will put him on track for a shot at becoming a 2-weight world champion. Tawatchai has won his last 4 bouts, all by stoppage, but is taking a huge step back up here and will be given little chance against the talented Kameda.
Another notable name here is Hisashi Amagasa (31-6-2, 20), who famously put Guillermo Rigondeaux down twice en route to becoming the Japanese elephant man in late 2014. Amagasa will be up against Kinshiro Usui (27-4, 11) in a really good looking domestic clash that will likely put the winner in place for either a Japanese or OPBF title fight at Featherweight. Amagasa will likely be favoured, given his high profile bouts with Rigondeaux and Warrington, but Usui shouldn’t be written off, even at the age of 37. The older man is fighting for his career with every bout and has shown that he’s hungry since ending a 3 year break from the ring in 2014, and notchign wins over Masaaki Serie, Hikaru Marugame and Hiroyasu Matsuzaki.
On Saturday we get the biggest Asian card of the week, coming from Hong Kong and featuring some notable names in some bouts that are likely to be action packed, even if they aren’t necessarily world class contests.
The main event from the card sees local star Rex Tso (20-0, 12), one of the most exciting fighters in the sport today, take on former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) in a bout to unify 3 regional titles. Tso is said to be looking at getting a world title fight later in the year but can’t over-look Mukai, who put in a career best effort last time out to stop Inthanon Sithchamuang. This will be a brawler against a boxer and could end up being a bit of a closet classic
In the only other title bout on the card we get an All-Filipino class as Kenny Demecillo (12-3-2, 7) takes on struggling former contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-7-3, 15) for the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title. Demecillo comes into this one a 5 fight unbeaten run, including good wins over Daryl Basadre and Jestoni Autida, but is up against his most skilled foe to date. At his best Geraldo is a real gatekeeper though has lost 3 of his last 5 and may well be on the way out, or may just have come up against very good fighters in McJoe Arroyo and Takuma Inoue, along with an unfortunate cuts loss to Jeson Umbal. Coming in to this Geraldo is fighting for his career and Demecillo is looking for the biggest win of his career.
On paper we have a bit of a mismatch as Rey Megrino (23-20-4, 20) takes on Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-6, 5), but the reality is that this could be a very intriguing match up between a Filipino with a misleading record and a Japanese fighter seeking a career defining win. Megrino is one of the many Filipino fighters who was thrown in deep early in his career before learning to swim. Just over 5 years ago Megrino was 15-20-3 (13) but has since gone 8-0-1 (7) and become an avoided fighter following upset wins over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, the touted Kenji Kubo, Myung Ho Lee and Ernesto Saulong. Kobayashi has lost 3 of his last 6 but at 25 years old is much younger and less battle warned than the Filipino.
Another bout with a Japanese fighter will see the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (30-7-1, 16), who’s bout with Jaesung Lee was one of the bloodiest in recent times, take on Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth (24-18-2, 16). The bout should be an easy win for Watanabe, but he’s a fighter who is coming back to the ring following a wide loss to OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito. At his best Watanabe is an Oriental level fighter, but a damn fun one to watch and could be one worth following over the coming years, as long as his body holds out.