The main show this coming Sunday comes from Tokyo, where we get the East Japan Rookie of the Year Finals, with 12 bouts scheduled for the show. The winners here will move on to December's All Japan Rookie of the Year final, where they will face the West Japan representatives. We won't go through all 12 bouts, but we have got 4 bouts that do really interest us.
At Lightweight we'll see Shinnosuke Saito (5-3, 2) take on the unbeaten Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6). Saito has has twice been beaten in previous Rookie of the Year events, losing to Zirolian Riku in 2017 and George Tachibana in 2018, and will be hoping it's third time lucky. Sasaki on the other hand only made his debut in August 2018, and the 18 year old has been really active and really impressive. His competition hasn't been great though he looked fantastic in his East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final in September, when he stopped Tetsuya Kondo. It's hard to see Sasaki losing, but this should be his best test so far.
At Featherweight we'll see the unbeaten Daiki Imanari (5-0, 3) take on Kyonosuke Kameda (4-1-1, 3). The unbeaten Imanari made his debut in October 2018 and has notched 4 wins this year as he's marched his way to. Aged 22 and fighting out of the southpaw stance Imanari has been impressive and booked his place in the final with an opening round TKO win against Azumah Tanaka. The once beaten Kameda, the cousin of the Kameda fighting brothers, is a huge Featherweight, at 6'0" and although he's not unbeaten he has improved drastically since being stopped on his debut at the very start of January 2018. This could be a really interesting bout and it's worth noting that both men can really punch.
On paper the Super Flyweight bout between Satoshi Iriinafuku (5-4, 4) and Seiya Meguro (4-0, 3) might not look great but this could be the hidden gem for the show. The 26 year old Iriinafuku is on a roll this year, scoring 3 successive stoppages and appears to have build his confidence with those wins, including surprise win over Rui Ikari in his semi final in September. Meguro on the other hand is a talented 19 year old who has been very dangerous in the early stages. Expect leather to fly in the opening couple of rounds of their scheduled 5 rounder.
The final bout that really interests us is the Minimumweight bout, which will pit unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Katsuki Mori (4-0, 1) against the very exciting Shu Nawai (3-1, 2), in what will be the second bout between the two men. These two actually fought in October 2018, when Mori out pointed the debuting Nawai, and it's fair to say that the aggressive Nawai will want to avenge that loss against the slippery and sharp Mori. This should be very interesting with their styles meshing well and the history of their previous bout.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Rookie of the Year show in Japan there will also be a card in Vietnam.
The main event of this card is a really interesting one, with Korean teenager Jong Seon Kang (9-0-2, 6) facing off against Filipino youngster Tomjune Mangubat (11-1-1, 9) in a contest for the WBO Oriental Youth Featherweight title. Kang impressed earlier this year, when he stopped Qixiu Zhang in China, and this will be his second bout in Vietnam, following a draw back in August. Mangubat on the other hand is 1-1-1 in his last 3 and there is very little of quality on his record and this appears to be a genuine step up for him. This could be a very interesting match up.
Another potentially interesting fight will see Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (19-5, 11) take on the limited but fun to watch Kongfah Nakornluang (32-1, 20) from Thailand. Coming in to this Nazarov has won 6 in a row, including a huge win in August over Ivan Soriano, and is a long way removed from the man who lost 3 times in just over 3 months. Kongfah on the other hand has 10 wins in a row since his sole loss, Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, but those wins have come against total novices, and his last bout was way back in March 2018.
Also set for this show is Vietnamese hopeful Van Thao Tran (11-0, 8), who takes on Filipino visitor Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5). The talented Tran has had a really frustrating career, with bouts being cancelled and plans being changed, and sadly this will be his first bout in over 16 months! A huge change to the first half of 2018, where he fought 4 times in just 6 months. Remandiman has rebuilt really well since a 2-4-1 start to his career, and has won 8 in a row, including a recent win over Renz Rosia. The visitor has momentum coming into this, but will be regarded as the clear under-dog.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Our attention turns to the TV5 studio this coming Sunday for an interesting card featuring an IBO world title bouts, and some good bouts pitting young hopefuls against each other, as the Ultimate Boxing Series (UBS) has it's finals.
The main event of the show will see the once beaten Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-1, 7) take on Mexican visitor Maximino Flores (24-4-1-2, 17) for the IBO Flyweight title. The talented Penalosa has won 7 in a row, including 4 straight by T/KO, but this is a step up in class and looks like his toughest bout, by far. Flores on the other hand is a young veteran who has clashed with the likes of Milan Melindo, Martin Tecuapetla and Andrew Selby. Experience favours Flores, but he is 0-2 outside of Mexico.
The UBS Flyweight final will see 26 year old April Jay Abne (3-0, 1), who debuted this February, take on Ronel Sumalpong (8-1-1-1, 5), who has been a professional for more than 2 years. Both fighters have looked really promising through their UBS bouts, winning unanimous decisions in both of their bouts so far, but have shown a real lack of power, with neither man yet to score a stoppage. The winner here will be ear marked for something much bigger in the near future, and will likely have ESPN5 well and truly behind them.
The other UBS bout on this show will take place at Bantamweight and see unbeaten men collide. The match up will have Lienard Sarcon (6-0, 2) take on Aljum Pelesio (8-0, 5) in what looks like a mouth watering prospect vs prospect match. The 19 year old Sarcon won his quarter final bout with no issue, but struggled in his semi with Gary Tamayo. On the other other hand the 21 year old Pelesio has only really lost a single round in both of his bouts and he will likely be the slight favourite here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
As well as the Filipino show, which is expected to be streamed on ESPN5, there is also a card from Vietnam, with some international title interest.
The main event of this card will see 33 year old Uzbek fighter Olimjon Nazarov (18-5, 11) take on 30 year old Filipino Ivan Soriano (20-2-1, 10) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title, which has recently been vacated by the excellent Giemel Magramo. The talented Soriano has rebuilt since losing to Wenfeng Ge last year with a couple of low key wins, and knows that a world title fight not be far off with a win here. Nazarov on the other hand has won 5 in a row, though his wins have typically been against a very low level of opposition and this would be his biggest win to date, if he managed to over-come Soriano.