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.
Action in Japan continues on Wednesday with a genuinely interesting card at the Korakuen Hall.
The show is the B Class Grand Prix final and features 8 bouts in the tournament as well as 3 contests from the "East Rookie of the Year". The contests in the B Class tournament hold the real interest with 2 notable bouts in particular.
The show opens up with those "East Rookie of the Year" contests. With the opening bout being Seigo Takeuchi (1-0-1) against Hikaru Akutsu (1-0) at Super Featherweight.
Following the Super Featherweight contest we expect to see Taichi Kimura (0-1) facing a debutant, who we believe will be Akira Mimura Hitoshi (0-0), and the final bout "East Rookie of the Year" contest will see Ryuta Nakajima (4-1-1, 4) battling Shun Shimazaki (5-3, 1).
All 3 of the contests from the "East Rookie of the Year" are scheduled for 3 rounds, the remaining 8 contests are all scheduled for 5 rounds, these are listed in below in terms of expected running order.
The first of the B class fights ist in the Bantamweight division as Kota Sato (8-4-1, 4) faces Wataru Miyasaka (7-1-1, 2). The two men fought each other in March of this year with Miyasaka taking a razor thin decision and now Sato gets a chance for revenge.
At Super Featherweight we believe, though may be wrong, in thinking that Ribo Takahata (8-3-1, 2) will face Nozomu Kikuchi (6-3). We're not certain on this one though we think that we're right on the two men.
In the minimumweight division Kazuhiro Nakamura (7-4, 2) will face Shinya Matsukawa (7-7-1, 1) in what looks like a tough but yet compelling contest.
Up at Featherwieght we will see Kosuke Saka (7-1, 5) will take on Katsuya Sato (5-5, 1) in what looks like a some-what one sided contest.
The hard hitting Lightweight Tatsuya Miyazaki (8-4-1, 8) will be looking for his second victory of the year as he takes on Kazuhiro Miura (7-2) in what looks to be a brilliant match up at 135lbs.
In the Super Flyweight division the very promising and highly regarded Yoichi Ide (1-0, 1) will look to continue his rise as he takes on Shohei Kikuzato (8-1, 3). It looks tough step up for Ide but if he's as good as they say, he should pass this test with flying colours.
Just a division lower at Flyweight Taro Oikawa (2-1, 2) looks for his 3rd successive victory as he battles the unbeaten Yuta Matsuo (4-0, 3). This looks like an explosive contest on paper and could be a show stealer with both men having power and liking to use it despite the fact both are relative novices.
The final bout on the card will see Yasaku Kuga (6-1, 4) facing the mega highly regarded Naoto Uebayashi (3-0, 2). Uebayashi is viewed by some as being amongst the top 10 prospects in Japan but this will be a seriously tough contest for the 26 year old former amateur stand out.
The winners of the Grade B touranment bouts will all be expected to go on to become notable fighters over the next few years so are well worth looking out for. We are very excited about bout Ide and Uebayashi though with their inexperience their is no certainty that either man will come out victorious.
It's not just in Japan that we have action as Yemen continues to grow one of the busiest boxing scenes out there.
The 8 bout show in Yemen, kicks off with 5 bouts scheduled for 4 rounds. These will see Moxamad Abdu (2-1, 1) attempt to bounce back from his recent loss as he takes on Saad Lukman (0-1) in a Lightweight contest. The Abdu/Lukman contest is one of two fights expected to take place in Lightweight division with the other seeing debutant Ahmed Qahali (0-0) looking for a winning start to his career. Qahali will face Alwan Hawshabi (1-1).
In other 4 round bouts Khaled Maweri (0-1) will take on Rashad Horun (0-1), Munir Abdulqadir (1-0) will attempt to record his second win facing Ramzi Ahmed (0-1) and Othman Qasim (3-1) will attempt to bounce back from his recent loss as he battles the debuting Saleh Sufyan (0-0).
In the least interesting of the 10 round contests Luway Jaber (1-1, 1) faces Esam Aunfi (1-1, 1). It's great that the men have perfectly matched records but it's fair to say that neither guy is really that interesting. The secondary bout in the longer distance sees the promising Sharaf Montaser (2-0, 2) looking for his 3rd victory of the year. Montaser will be fighting Ibrahim Azzani (0-1) in what could be a tougher fight for Montaser than his previous 2.
Although the card has 3 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds there is only one bout that can be considered the main event and that's the bout between the unbeaten pair of Yaser Ali (3-0, 3) and Abdu Sameer (3-0). This bout really could be something worth watching and should have the crowd interested from the opening bell.