In the space of 17 months Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) went from a man set to make his debut to a man who was able to call himself a world champion. The youngster from Nagoya has been one of the sports fastest risers and, in just his 5th professional bout, set a Japanese speed record for the fewest fights to claim a world title.
Whilst Tanaka's rise to the top has been meteoric in terms of speed he has, unfortunately, been inactive since winning the WBO Minimumweight title way back in May. Not only has he been inactive but he has also seen a proposed unification bout with countryman, and IBF champion, Katsunari Takayama be put on the back burner until 2016.
Despite the recent inactivity we will see Tanaka again before the year is out as he makes the first defense of his title on December 31st at the Aichi Prefectural gymnasium to take on Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (11-1, 9), who will be making his first world title challenge.
Ahead of the bout with Saludar fans were able to see Tanaka prepare courtesy of an open training session held earlier today.
The session saw the talented youngster spar a number of rounds with a world ranked Filipino fighter whilst also off his speed and combinations in what was a very impressive spar. Following the spar the Japanese youngster talked about the upcoming bout, and his inactivity, saying he used the time to work on his power and strength, with his power often being seen as one of his weakest areas. He did also state that he had around 7KG's, a little under 15.5lbs, left to lose before the weigh in. Given that amount of weight it seems clear that Tanaka's days as a Minimumweight are numbered, and a move to Light Flyweight is looking likely for the very near future.
Coming in to the bout Tanaka has admitted he will be seeking a KO against Saludar, possibly leading to a very fun fight where Tanaka sits on his shots a bit more than usual.
(Image courtesy of http://www.nikkansports.comhttp://www.nikkansports.com)
In December Japanese fans will get the chance to see an intriguing WBO Bantamweight title eliminator as the unbeaten, and very exciting, Shohei Omori (15-0, 10) takes on talented Filipino Marlon Tapales (27-2, 10) at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto city.
he bout, scheduled to take place on December 16th, will see the winner become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming bout between champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (51-3, 35) and Filipino challenger Jetro Pabustan (26-2-6, 7), which is scheduled to take place in January 2016.
Ahead of that bout Omori took part in a public training session in which he sparred 4 rounds with a Filipino fighter and answered questions for the media.
The work out saw Omori looking sharp, in great condition and nearing his fighting weight, though he does still have a bit to shift. Not only did he look sharp but he also sounded very confident and predicted a 7th round TKO win against Tapales when the two men meet. He did suggest that Tapales was a good fight but was full of confidence and appeared to have studied Tapales's style in some detail ahead of this bout. His manager went on to suggest that knockout would come from a body shot,
Notably Omori appeared to suggest that he's hoping to get a world title fight in April, if of course he beats Tapales. If that's the case then "Yamanaka II" may well have a 2016 to remember.
(Image courtesy of the Woz Oomori blog)
In recent weeks we've seen two differing rumours regarding talented Nicaraguan fighter Carlos Buitrago (28-1-1-1, 16), both of which have concerned him returning to To Thailand for a second bout in the country.
The first of those rumours began to circulate last week from South America and concerned Buitrago travelling to face unbeaten WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (40-0, 15). This rumour began after Menayothin stopped Korean foe Young Kil Bae last week and would likely see the two men fight early next year, possibly March, ahead of the winner facing a mandatory challenge in their first defense. Around the same time Wanheng was rumoured to be looking towards a fight in Japan, with Go Odaira (12-4-3, 1) mentioned as his possible foe for that bout ahead of potential unification bouts later in 2016.
The second Buitrago rumour, which we were informed of by our Thai source Pal, is that the Nicaraguan fighter will return to Thailand to take on WBA interim champion Knockout CP Freshmart (11-0, 6), who is expected to be upgraded to the WBA "regular" champion in the coming weeks. This would be a rematch with Buitrago looking to avenge his sole defeat, which came back in October 2014, whilst Knockout would be looking to make the first defense after being upgraded. If this bout is made it's expected to take place in February.
Whilst these are just rumours we have to admit we are excited about either of the potential match ups, both of which would be brilliant and a great test for the fighters involved.
Earlier this month we reported that Shinsei had announced an intriguing OPBF Super Bantamweight title bout between their highly promising fighter Shun Kubo (8-0, 6) and Filipino puncher Lloyd Jardeliza (7-2-3, 6). Since then however the story has gone cold and 2 of the scheduled which listed the bout have no removed that, and the entire show.
Originally the bout was announced to take place in Kobe on December 26th, boxing day to some of those around the world, however it now appears that the show has been cancelled all together. What is really unclear however is whether the bout has been rescheduled for 2016.
Whilst two of the schedules, which have been very accurate in the past, have unlisted the contest it's worth noting that Shinsei themselves still list the bout on their home page. That could however be a case of them not updating their site recently. It's also worth noting that no reason has been made public as to why the fight, or show in general, have been cancelled.
This past Saturday was certainly a busy day in the world of professional boxing with notable bouts all over the world, from Japan to Germany, Germany to Cananda. Due to all the action some did sneak under-the-radar some what, including several bouts in the Philippines which featured former world title challengers looking to re-establish themselves as contenders ahead of 2016.
One of those bouts featured the talented, yet highly frustrating, Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14), who was fighting for the first time since a controversial loss to McJoe Arroyo in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. The talented "King" Arthur was up against the unheralded Victor Mendez (19-3, 15) in a bout that was supposed to help the Filipino rebuild some career momentum and claim the WBC International title.
Given his ability it was thought the bout was going to be a straight forward win for Villanueva, instead however it turned into a very frustrating night for the Filipino fans who saw both men stall and become almost mirror images of each other, waiting and waiting for a mistake. Neither man was willing to take a risk and neither was willing to force the issue in a bout that really failed to ever truly come alive. Both did have their moments during the contest but on the whole both failed to really turn in a performance of note.
The bout, which was close, in part due to a lack of action, saw Villanueva do just enough to claim the win with cards of 116-112 and 117-111, whilst Mendez won on the third card with a score of 115-113 in his favour. Although both did look like they had more ability than they showed, it was a case that the styles didn't gel.
Another of the men was Milan Melindo (33-2, 12), a former 2-time world title challenger. The talented Melindo, who was last seen losing a technical decision to Javier Mendoza, had complained about the officiating in his last bout but got very lucky as some questionable judging helped him claim a victory over Victor Emanuel Olivo (9-1, 4).
Olivo came into the bout as an unknown teenager and was taking the bout on late notice, filling in for the ill Carlos Fontes. Despite that he put in a truly excellent performance from the first round to the last as he forced the issue with combinations and movement. Melindo was left bloodied and hurt though managed to take the decision with some viewing the as an out-and-out robbery. The bout was scored 96-94 by all 3 judges, with two favouring Melindo though even the 96-94 in favour of Olivo suggested the bout was more competitive than it really was.
Whilst Melindo and Villanueva failed to shine AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23) put in a good performance, stopping Emilio Norfat (25-7, 19) in the third round, of their scheduled 10 rounder, and the exciting Kevin Jake Cataraja (2-0, 2) extend his perfect record with a cuts based TKO win over Ellias Nggenggo (10-9-3, 3)
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