This week is a huge one for those following the "Rookie of the Year" competition in Japan. Thursday sees the first of two semi-final shows for "East Rookie of the Year" with Friday having the second of the semi-finals (with the winners meeting later in the year).
The opening bout, as with pretty much all of the "Rookie" shows, is at Minimumweight as we get a battle of unbeatens with Naoyuki Tsukada (3-0-1, 2) fighting Kenichi Miyazaki (4-0-1, 1) in a really promising match up. Although unlikely to be explosive this looks like an excellent match up and something the "Rookie" tournament should be applauded for giving us.
In the Light Flyweight division Tomoyuki Kaneko (5-1, 2) appears to have an easy route to the final taking on Yuta Sakai (2-4) who has never beaten a fighter with a winning record. Thankfully we get back to competitive looking action at Flyweight as Kenta Yamada (5-2) fights Yuji Okinori (5-0, 1) in what, like the opener, looks to be an excellent match up.
At Super Flyweight we expect to see Takahiro Kinoshita (3-2-1, 2) fighting the unbeaten Jo Tanooka (5-0-3) before the Bantamweight clash between Yuki Arai (3-1, 1) and Kazuki Yokoyama (4-1, 3). Interestingly Tanooka is the sole man to defeat Arai and a rematch between the two, somewhere down the line, would certainly be worthy of merit if both manage to claim the "Rookie" title at their respective weights.
Super Bantamweight action sees Ryuta Nakajima (5-1-1, 4) fighting Naoto Fujimoto (4-2-1, 2) before Featherweights collide in a bout between Yudai Tamagawa (5-3, 2) and Shinya Nemoto (3-3, 1). Incidentally the bout between Tamagawa and Nemoto is a rematch of a bout from last year that saw Tamagawa stopping Nemoto in the second round.
Up at Super Featherweight Takahiro Araki (3-1, 2) fights the unbeaten 18 year old Kazuma Sanpei (6-0, 2) before Lightweight action sees Yuzo Mitani (5-1, 2) fighting the hard hitting Reo Komiyama (5-1-2, 5).
The penultimate bout on the show sees Light Welterweights in action as Motoyoshi Honma (1-1-1) battles Shingo Yabu (2-2-1) in what looks to be the weakest bout on the show before we get the finale at Middleweight in a fight between Wataru Seino (2-1, 2) and Kenyu Ojima (5-1, 3).
Note-There was a Welterweight bout originally scheduled for the show, though this has since been cancelled.
As well as the Japanese show we also expect a Russian show in Ekaterinburg though at the moment details are scarce with only Ruslan Sirazhev (0-1) and Alexey Tukhtarov (3-1-1, 3) being listed as fighting on it.
The "East Rookie" of the year tournament continues on Tuesday with a stacked card.
Originally scheduled for 14 bouts there have been 12 pulls outs leaving us with a still staggering 12 contests, all scheduled for 4 rounds.
The show begins at Light Flyweight where, we think, Kiyoto Oshiro (3-1, 2) will face the debuting Tatsuto Maekawa (0-0). This bout is followed up by Takuo Watanabe (2-5-3) facing the unbeaten Ryuto Oho (2-0, 2) in a Flyweight.
At Super Flyweight the unbeaten Seiya Fujikita (3-0, 1) battles who we believe is Yuki Nagashima (1-0) who will be hoping to score his second professional victory.
There wil be two fights at Super Bantamweight. The first will see Seishiro Kumakiri (3-1, 1), looking for his 3rd straight win, taking on Tatsuya Mukai (4-1-2, 1) who also comes in to the bout with back-to-back victories. The other Super Bantamweight contest will see Shingo Koike (5-1, 2) in action. We're not certain of Koike's opponent though we think it's going to be Gaku Aikawa (1-0-1).
The show's sole Featherweight contest sees Shingo Kusano (4-2-1, 2) taking on Mikio Kage (3-1-1, 1). Although there is only one bout at 126 there is two bouts at Super Featherweight where Naoya Nishimura (3-4-1, 2) will look for a victory over unbeaten teenager Kazuma Sanpei (5-0, 1) and Ryosuke Suzuki (3-0) will be hoping to maintain his unbeaten run as he fights Rei Ichiyama (3-4, 1), a man looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat last October.
At Lightweight, where we have just the one bout, Reo Komiyama (4-1-2, 4) attempts to net his 3rd victory of the year as he takes on the unbeaten Ryosuke Koizumi (2-0), who although unbeaten has been a little bit fortunate in both of his professional contests.
At Light Welterweight southpaw Masaharu Hanaka (2-0, 1) will look for his third win against an opponent that we're struggling to hunt down.
There will also be bouts at Welterweight and Middleweight. In the Welterweight contest we think Kazumichi Ishizawa (2-2) will face Nobuaki Sakae (1-2-1, 1) whilst in the Middleweight contest Tatsuya Aizu (2-2, 2) will be in action. Sadly we're not sure who Aizu will be facing.
As well the Japanese card we're expecting a show in Thailand that will see Norasing Kokietgym (6-0-1, 4) defending his PABA Super Flyweight title against Indonesian Louis Loemoli (4-9-1, 2). We expect this card will be on Thai Channel 3, though haven't got this confirmed as of yet.