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 month ends on yet another busy day with action in Japan, Thailand and Yemen.
The most notable single bout seems likelt to occur in Thailand as WIBA Light Flyweight champion Samson Tor Buamas (29-3, 14) is expected to defend her title. Her opponent is yet to be named though it's always a joy to see Samson in action.
Whilst the key bout is in Thailand it's fair to say the biggest card is in Japan as the Korakuen Hall hosts 10 bouts from the "East Rookie of the Year" tournament.
The show in Japan kicks off with a minimumweight bout between Masaaki Okubo (3-1, 1) and Tsukada Naoyuki (3-0, 2). This looks like a very promising match up between two men wanting to make a name for themselves and claiming the "East Rookie of the Year" would be a good way to do that.
In the Light Flyweight division we have 3 contests as Tomoyuki Kaneko (4-1, 2) takes on Ohta Teru (unfortunately we are struggling to track down his record), Yuta Sakai (1-4) faces an opponent that we've got to admit we're unsure about and we think Mao Hoshino (3-8-1) fights Rei Ochiai (1-1-2).
In the sole Flyweight bout Katsunori Shimooki (2-2-1) battles Naoto Takanashi (3-6-1, 2). Interestingly Takanashi is winless in 4 bouts dating back over a year whilst Shimooki is on a 3 fight lose-less streak.
The only Super Flyweight bout appears to be Uko Nonami (2-0-1, 1) against the unbeaten Jo Tanooka (4-0-3). Tanooka appears unable to make a fight easy for himself.
The show also has 2 Bantamweight bouts on the card with the 19 year old Yamato Nakagawa (4-2, 2) taking on the 20 year old Yuki Arai (2-1) and Yukichi Hara (3-2, 1) faces Ryosuke Hayase (3-0).
At Super Bantamweight Takahiro Shibata (4-1-1, 1) will fight Naoto Fujimoto (3-2-1, 1). The final bout on the show will see Light Welterweight Yuki Nagano (1-1, 1) taking on Minoru Iizuka (2-0, 2).
All of those Japanese bouts will take place over the 4 round distance.
The card in Yemen, which we actually epect to take place first, has 7 bouts on it as the Yemeni domestic scene continues to be an oddly busy one.
The most notable bout on the Yemen card sees Yasin Abdulkhalik (4-0, 3) fighting Moxamad Abdu (2-0, 1) in a Super Bantamweight contest. This is one of two 10 round contests on the card with the other seeing Ali Sanabani (2-1, 1) fighting Asam Dolbhante (2-0).
The remaining 5 bouts on the card are all scheduled for 4 rounds as Abdelsamid Sameer (1-0) takes on Mohammad Saleh (2-0) in a Light Welterweight contest, Ali Salem (2-0, 1) facing Esam Aunfi (1-0, 1) in bout at Bantamweight, Othman Qasim (2-0) taking on Khaled Sulaym (1-0, 1), Yaser Ali (1-0, 1) taking on Khaled Munasar (0-1), who is incidentally the only man in 4 round contests with a loss, and Yasir Shadhili (1-0) taking on Khaldun Salami (1-0) in a Super Middleweight contest.