After being rumoured for months, we have finally had confirmation this morning that Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) will be defending the WBO Minimumweight title against Japan's Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆].
We were informed earlier today that the bout is now a done deal for February 26th at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
The contest, which was first mentioned late last year, and originally targeted for New Year's Eve, slipped back and was rumoured for February 25th before today's information on the bout now being done.
For Saludar the bout will be his first defense, following his excellent title win last year, when he defeated Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也] by unanimous decision, whilst Taniguchi will be getting his first world title fight.
The hard hitting champion, who also famously challenged the then champion Kosei Tanaka in 2015, will be fighting in Japan for the third times and has started to become popular with the local fans due to his style, aggression and power. He has proven his qualities in both of his prior Japanese bouts and we're really looking forward to seeing how he performs here.
The challenger on the other hand has lost in a Japanese title bout to Reiya Konishi and an OPBF title bout to Tsubasa Koura, though won the WBO Asia Pacific title bout last year when he defeated Joel Lino, to claim a professional title at the third attempt. It's worth noting that both of his losses were razor close and that with just a tiny bit of luck he would be 13-0.
At the moment the under-card is unconfirmed, though the date does match up for several other Watanabe gym fighters. These include a Japanese Bantamweight title bout between Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太] and Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人] as well as the next bout of Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗] and potentially also the return of Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也], so we would expect at least 1 other bout of noting being added to this show when the full card is confirmed.
Earlier today the excellent Boxmob website posted their recent interview with Japanese super prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], in which the teenager revealed that he has now got two bouts pencilled in for the first half of 2019.
He stated that the first of those will be taking place in February. There was no date or opponent mentioned for the fight but it's great that he won't be out of the ring for much longer. Although there was no date mentioned there is suspicion it will be late February as part of a rumoured Watanabe world title card in Tokyo featuring Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆] challenging Vic Saludar (18-3, 10), a bout that is expected to be announced later this month.
The youngster also revealed that he was scheduled to fight in April in Kumamoto, with the hoping being that that bout will be against a Japanese ranked opponent. Although hoping to face a ranked opponent Shigeoka did state that there was problems getting such a foe for this bout, perhaps hinting that a decision has been made for the February opponent but not the April one.
With an announcement expected shortly about Shigeoka's next bout we'd suggest that everyone gives his debut from last year another watch.
Boxmob premium users can read the full in depth interview here (note - a premium boxmob account is required to read)
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall saw the East Japan Boxing Association award winners for September take to the ring and speak about their futures.
The MVP for the month was Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真], and as we all know his immediate plan is to fight against Petch CP Freshmart (48-0, 33) on December 30th. He spoke about the fight and how fighting for a world title has been on his mind for the last 2 years, as he wants to join older brother Naoya Inoue as a world champion.
The fighting spirit award was won by Ryo Sagawa (5-1, 3) [佐川遼], who will be back in the ring on December 13th when he takes on Shingo Kawamura (16-4-1, 8) [河村真吾]. He revealed today that he would be chasing title fights in the new year, and clearly is looking towards the future, despite the Kawamura bout.
The State of the Art award, otherwise known as the Newcomer award, was won by impressive debutant Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗] who stated that his next bout hadn't yet been decided but that he was wanting to go on to win a world title, and win all his bouts by KO on his route there. He sounded incredibly confident, and told the fans to remember his name. It seems clear that 2019 is going to be a huge year for the teenager, but when he'll be back is yet to be determined.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their latest monthly award winners and it was genuinely one of the best trios we've seen winning the awards.
The MVP for the month was Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真], who scored a bit win against Mark John Yap in a WBC Bantamweight title eliminator, to earn himself a mandatory title fight, albeit one he seems likely to wait a while for.
The fighting spirit award was won by Ryo Sagawa (5-1, 3) [佐川遼], who earned the award for his upset win against former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto [松本亮]. Notably this win, as well as Inoue's, were both on the same September 11th show at the Korakuen Hall.
The State of the Art award, otherwise known as the Newcomer award was won by impressive debutant Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], who destroyed Sanchai Yotboon and put himself on the boxing map with a brilliant debut.
The three award winners will be involved in a ceremony on December 3rd at the Korakuen Hall, as part of a stacked Phoenix Battle card.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got their first chance to see former amateur standout Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗] make his professional debut.
The former amateur star, who went 56-1 in the unpaid ranks, faced off with Thai puncher Sanchai Yotboon (4-1, 4) and looked every bit the world class prospect he was touted as being.
From the opening round he looked sharp, skilled and accurate.
Shigeoka boxed well with his jab to begin with and dropped his man in round 3 with a peach of a counter left hook before scoring a second knockdown with a brutal body shot that left referee jumping in with the Thai on the canvas, at the 1 minute 22 second mark of the round.
Following the bout Shigeoka told the fans to remember his name, and suggested he's got his eyes on world titles. Given his amateur background and today's performance there is a real buzz around his potential and how far he can go in the years to come.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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