Let's get this party started. 2011 has begun, and hopefully the momentum from the last two months of 2010 will carry over into some great fights to start out this year.
Thursday, January 6
Thailand 7, 12:45 a.m. Eastern, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam vs. Roland Latuni, Wanheng Menayothin vs. Remy Cuambot. As he has frequently done throughout his career, Pong takes a really easy one here in a non-title fight. Latuni has a record of 5-6-2, and the bout is only scheduled for 6 rounds, though everyone will be surprised if it lasts that long. Menayothin is the real attraction on this card, going 14-0 at minimumweight. Another win or two for him will likely set up an all-Thai showdown for the title between him and Oleydong Sithsamerchai.
Friday, January 7
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Mauricio Herrera, Demetrius Andrade vs. Alberto Herrera. And with the end of college football season comes the beginning of the next season of Friday Night Fights. Siberian Provodnikov always makes exciting fights and really passes as a spitting image of Kostya Tszyu, right down to the hair, but without the game-changing power. His last couple times out in the US, he knocked out Emmanuel Augustus and Javier Jarequi. Herrera is mostly a step sideways, but he's 15-1, and his only loss was a close one to Mike Anchondo. Andrade was a 2008 US Olympian and is thought to be a solid pro prospect, although at this point he's mostly fought creampuffs. Herrera doesn't look to break the trend - he may be 7-1-1, but he's 0-1-1 in his last two against half decent competition, including losing to Chris Chatman his last time out.
TeleFutura, 11:35 p.m. Eastern, Brandon Gonzales vs. Lester Gonzalez, Alan Sanchez vs. Christian Favela. Gonzales with an "s" is a 13-0 prospect who has defeated a couple of solid journeymen such as Darnell Boone and Victor Villareal. Gonzalez with a "z" is a Cuban fighter who defected before the latest round of stars and, like Andrade's opponent on ESPN, lost his last fight to Chris Chatman.
Saturday, January 8
[NOTE: It now appears this card has been cancelled.] Beibut Shumenov vs. Juergen Braehmer - So you have three major promoters involved in this one, but damned if I know where this is being televised. Fortunately, Braehmer's promoter Universum Box Promotion usually puts up full fights on Youtube a few days after the fight, so hopefully the bout will show up there. In only his 12th pro fight, Shumenov is already attempting to unify titles, which means he's still pushing himself at an absurdly aggressive pace (which probably would already push him past Vassily Jirov into being the greatest Kazakh pro boxer of all time). Braehmer, who can't enter a lot of other countries because of legal problems, took this one because he said it was just the best offer he was able to take. If the fight does get aired anywhere, it should be a humdinger. Neither guy cares much for defense, and they both like to push forward behind lots of power punches. Braehmer's attack is a bit more balanced, and he's a lot less robotic than Shumenov, but Shumenov has better stamina and probably a little more power. On paper, it's a pick 'em fight. On the undercard, Gayrat Ahmedov, who looked good destroying Dallas Vargas earlier in the year, will take on faded former titlist William Joppy.
Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Cristian Esquivel vs. Eduardo Garcia, Ganigan Lopez vs. Armando Torres. Esquivel lost a couple of fights early in his career, but has bounced back with about six decent wins in a row now, most of them televised in his native Mexico. Garcia has five losses on his record but recent wins over title challengers Sebastien Gauthier and Nick Otieno, as well as a draw with Olivier Lontchi. The fight is a bantamweight title eliminator. Lopez and Torres will face off for a minimumweight "silver" title. I wouldn't be surprised if this card also ends up airing on WBCBoxing.tv.
Sunday, January 9
TyC Sports (Argentina), 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Noe Gonzalez Alcoba vs. Gustavo Magellanes. Alcoba has gone 11-0 since his title fight against Felix Sturm a few years back, although the only recognizable name on that resume is Michi Munoz. Magellanes is 27-1 against mostly weak competition, with the lone recognizable name being his knockout loss to Khoren Gevor. This one's for a "silver" title at super middleweight. Julian Jackson's sons John and Julius, who are quite well-travelled at this point, will also be fighting on the undercard.
Also fighting this weekend, BLH favorite Charlie Ota will defend his Japanese light middleweight title against Taisei Marumoto, LaFarrell Bunting continues his comeback against Matt O'Brien in Tacoma, and former European super middleweight titlist Jackson Chanet fights for the first time in a year, facing Geard Ajetovic in a bout for a regional light heavyweight title.