Earlier today we were informed that WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) had had to delay his much spoken about unification bout with IBF champion Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12). The bout, which had been strongly linked to a December 31st show in Nagoya, will instead be "carried over" to 2016 to allow both men a chance to defend their titles once more before facing off.
At the moment little is known about Takayama's defense, though rumours from Thailand do suggest that it could be a rematch with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr following their controversial clash earlier this year.
As for Tanaka however it appears that he will be keeping the December 31st date and will instead be taking on the challenge of Filipino puncher "Vicious" Vic Saludar (11-1, 9). A heavy handed fighter from the Saludar clan, which has also given us Flyweight hopeful Froilan Saludar.
The challenger, 24, comes into the bout on a 9 fight winning streak following an upset loss to Powell Balaba back in November 2013, when he badly damaged his hand. Since that loss he has progressed to title level and was last seen in September, when he won the WBO Asia Pacific title, with a opening round win over Rizky Pratama. Despite his good form on paper he has however faced very limited competition with with only 2 opponents having a better than 50% win rate. It will also be his first bout outside of the Philippines
Despite his lack of professional accomplishments the challenger was a touted amateur and was expected to achieve big things in the professional ranks. A win over Tanaka would of course be huge.
As for Tanaka, the 20 year old "KO Dream Boy", this will be a bout that he is expected to win and continue to build his very promising career. It will however be the first time that he goes up against a puncher and we may find out if his chin is as good as his boxing ability. Sadly however it's a less than breath taking way to end the year for the man who, back in May, set the Japanese speed record for the fewest fights to win a world title, when he beat Julian Yedras for the title.
At the moment it's unclear who will be televising the fight though it's expected that CBC will air it in Nagoya with TBS possibly picking it up as part of their broadcast in Tokyo, alongside the Ioka card on the same day.
Over the last few weeks we've been teased of a potential year ending world title unification bout between WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) and IBF champion Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12). The teasing of the bout had seemingly been based on getting the bout set as New Year's Eve contest in Nagoya.
Sadly however it seems the bout will have to wait until 2016, however both men do appear to want to face off in what would be the first unification bout in the division since the brilliant Kazuto Ioka Vs Akira Yaegashi bout, back in 2012.
According to reports from the Japanese press Takayama was at the recent WBO conference in the US and relayed comments to the WBO stating that he would like to unify the belts next year, but will be defending his IBF title again before the potential all Japan show down.
Although it's not 100% clear it could be that we see these two on the same card in different bouts to help build up the bout. That could that Takayama faces another top challenger, possibly even a much talked about rematch with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (28-4-1, 15).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the last few years the Chinese boxing scene has grown with the likes of Qiu Xiao Jun becoming an attraction in the country. Despite the growing scene however it is still Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) who is regarded as the countries biggest boxing name and the one Chinese based fighters who can get some attention from the West, mainly due to his relationship with American promoter Top Rank.
Yesterday it was revealed that Shiming, who has been inactive since losing to Amnat Ruenroeng in March, would be returning to the ring on January 23rd in a bout set to take place in Shanghai.
For Shiming it marks his debut on the Chinese mainland after having had all 7 of his previous bouts in Macau. The change in venue has come about for several reasons, including the drop in the Macau economy and growth of Top Rank in Shanghai, where they have held multiple low level events this year.
Whilst we now know when Shiming will return it's unclear on who he will be facing, however it's unlikely to be anyone too dangerous for Shiming's return considering the loss last time out.
According to our Thai sources it seems that Welterweight hopeful Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (31-0, 24) has finally got his show at a title lined up, though it won't come until early 2016.
Pal, our brilliant Thai "informant", e-mailed us earlier this week to inform us that Teerachai will be fighting the winner of the upcoming WBA interim Welterweight title fight between David Avanesyan (20-1-1, 10) and Charlie Navarro (25-7, 20), who meet on November 7th in Monaco. The bout will obviously not happen until next year but will see Teerachai finally getting his shot at a "world title", albeit only the WBA "interim" title.
Prior to that bout Teerachai will himself have a stay busy fight with the Thai to fight on November 13th in Bangkok against Filipino banana skin Arnel Tinampay (22-19-1, 8). On paper it's a mismatch but the tough Tinampay has scuppered the plans of many others, such as Koshinmaru Saito, Shoma Fukumoto and Yosuke Kirima, and could well turn out to be one of Teerchai's toughest tests to date.
Our reliable Thai source Pal recently e-mailed us with two interesting bits of news. The most immediate of those regards the first defense of the WBO Bantamweight title by Thailand's highly experienced Pungluang Sor Singyu (51-3, 35).
According to Pal Pungluang's first defence of the title, a title that he won back in August with a 2nd round KO of Ryo Akaho, will take place on January 14th 2016 as the as the Thai warrior faces the unheralded Jetro Pabustan (26-2-6, 7).
Whilst the fight will be Pungluang's first defense of his second reign it will also be a potential coming out fight for Pabustan who has yet to capture the attention of the boxing world, despite his solid record.
The challenger, a 25 year old dubbed "Silent Operator", has only previously fought in a single tightly bout, suffering a split technical decision loss to Monico Laurente in a bout for the GAB Bantamweight title last year. Notable that his second defeat and like his first was a technical decision. In fact he has been in an astonishing 11 technical decision bouts so far in his career.
The winner of this one is expected to face the winner of December's bout between Shohei Omori and Marlon Tapales, who are set to fight on December 16th in a WBO title eliminator.
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