Despite the bout being known about for a while it hadn't actually had a press conference in Japan to announce it, something that tends to happen weeks before the contest. That however changed today when the Aoki gym held a press event in Tokyo to announce the bout, talk about how life has changed for Kimura, and talk about the future.
The champion spoke about how much life has changed since winning his title a year ago. He has gone from being an unknown, living in relative poverty, to having moved to a new apartment and has managed to focus on boxing. It certainly seems like Kimura has made the most of his opportunity and will not be looking to hand over the title to the once touted Saludar.
The bout has apparently been made due to options that the Chinese promoter had on Kimura, with the original plan being to have him fight Zou Shiming in a rematch. Those plans were scuppered due to Shiming suffered from serious sight issues but they still prevented the much anticipated match up between Kimura and Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成], who will be the mandatory for the winner and will likely look to organise that bout for late December.
Kimura spoke about being aware of what Saludar brings to the table, but feels like his own stamina will be the key and that he will come on strong in the second half of the fight. He seems to have scouted the challenger and know what he brings to the table, something that he could have gained extra insight by watching Saludar's fight with Takuma Inoue in Japan, a bout that saw Saludar being dropped late in the bout.
Sadly the bout doesn't appear to be set for any Japanese TV coverage, a real shame given the great story of Kimura's win last time he fought in China, though it will be televised on CCTV5 in China, and streams will likely be available for those wanting to watch the bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)