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.
This Saturday may be one of the quietest weekends for boxing fans based in Europe and the US though if you're a fan of Asian boxing you will almost certainly be able to find something that has your interest throughout the day.
The highest profile bout with an Asian interest is in Mexico as Japanese fighter fighter Atsushi Kakutani (13-3-1, 6) attempts to bring back the WBC Light Flyweight title as he battles Adrian Hernandez (27-2-1, 16). Kakutani goes in to the bout as a sizable under-dog and is expected to fair as badly as Hiroyuki Hisataka did last weekend in Argentina, where he was stopped by the excellent Omar Andres Narvaez, though with Takashi Miura having had recent success in Mexico Kakutani may feel he has half a chance himself.
As well as the international action in Mexico there is also a reason to turn towards South Africa as Filipino Benezer Alolod (12-4-4, 2) attempts to defend his WBC International Light Flyweight title for the second time. Alolod, despite being the champion, will be the under-dog as he takes on former IBF Minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi (23-2-0-1, 16), a man who has notable victories over Florante Condes and Katsunari Takayama.
The only other international action sees Thailand's Pathomphol Kokietgym (4-7, 2) fighting Josh King (14-3, 7) in Australia. Unfortunately it's hard to imagine anything but a King victory.
More locally there are cards in both Japan and the Philippines.
The Japanese card, held at the Kanakubo Gymnasium Arena, is expected to have 8 bouts with the first of those being between debuting pair Yuki tsuma kawa (0-0) and Kenta Yamada (0-0). This is one of 4 bouts scheduled for the 4 round distance with Satoshi Kawami (4-8, 2) fighting Hitoshi Ando (3-5-1, 2) in the the second.
In fact from the 4 round bouts the Kawami/Ando bout actually looks like the most interesting with the other two being Yusuke Matsuda (0-1) against Kazuyoshi Toguri (1-4) and Kenichi Tokano (1-4, 1) in action against an opponent we can't track down. These aren't great fights but they will allow fans plenty of time to get to the venue before the more interesting fights themselves start.
The pair of 6 round bouts on the show see Satoru Uchida (3-10-3, 1) taking on a Thai opponent and Tatsuya Kaneko (6-8-1) battling Hideyuki Watanabe (5-5-2, 5).
The sole 8 round bout of the sees Kosuke Iwashita (13-15-2, 7) facing a Thai opponent that we can't recognise before the main event which sees Tosho Makoto Aoki (14-12-2, 11) in action. Like Iwashita, Aoki is facing an opponent that we can't actually recognise unfortunately.
Although the card in Japan isn't great it is better than the 5 fight show in Makati City, Metro Manila.
The Filipino show begins with a pair of 4 round bouts. These see Philip Cuerdo (0-0) making his debut against the winless Antonio Melencion (0-3-1) and the unbeaten Junar Adante (0-0-1) fighting Jayson Nicart (1-2, 1).
It's expected that after those two bouts there will be a trio of bouts scheduled for 6 rounds. These are likely to see Joel Taduran (2-0) fighting JR Florendo (2-1), Jerron Talaman (2-4, 2) battling Edsil Jungco (0-4-4) and finally Ruben Traza (3-4-2) taking on Lester Abutan (2-1-1, 1).
Unfortunately we'll admit we're unsure if this Filipino card will actually happen with it having been on our schedule twice already (August 18 and August 22).
There is also at least 1 bout in Russia as former WBA interim Cruiserweight champion Valery Brudov (40-4, 28) battles the durable Jevgenijs Andrejevs (7-53, 1) over 6 rounds. This will be Brudov's second fight this and it's likely to be his second successive bout to go the distance following an 8 round decision over novice Sergey Gorokhov back in May.