Kinoshita, who won the title in March 2012, had made 5 defenses of the belt, all by decision, and was set to make a 6th defense against Yohei Tobe (7-1-1, 4) at the Champions Carnival bout on March 30th. The fact he's now vacated has obviously changed those plans with Tobe now set to fight for the vacant title against a yet to be announced opponent.
For Kinoshita, who is ranked #3 by the IBF. #5 by the WBA and #12 by the WBO, this is a major move though the 28 year old won't have made it lightly and will know that he's taking a calculated risk.
The rumour seems to suggest that Kinoshita will be eying up the IBF title, currently held by Daiki Kameda, though we're unsure on whether or not Kinoshita will be permitted to fight for the title before Zolani Tete, the current mandatory challenger. Unfortunately for Kinoshita, a WBA title fight is already set up for March 26th whilst the WBO belt is held by the very good Omar Andres Narvaez who we would favour over Kinoshita.
We hope, for Kinoshita's sake, that this was a decision made with a big bout lined up as it'd be a shame to see Kinoshita sitting on the sideline waiting around when he could have had the big domestic clash with Tobe.