Back in early January Hatanaka held a press conference to announce that 3-weight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] would be defending the WBO Flyweight title against Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. At the time no real details of the under-card were available, though that changed today.
We now know that youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人], who was featured on the poster, will be defending the WBC Youth Flyweight title against Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). The Thai is 6-0 at home but he lost in his only other visit to Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017. If we're being honest this should be a straight forward defense for the exciting Hatanaka.
Also confirmed for the card is 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士], who will be facing a Chinese visitor in an 8 round bout. Although the name wasn't confirmed we believe it will be Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2). We were also informed that the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) [水野拓哉] will be going up against Thai journeyman Chatpayak Sithkopon (22-25, 20), aka Artid Bamrungauea, and that former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋宏心] will be facing off with Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), in a very exciting step up in class.
It feels like we've been waiting quite a while for something big to be announced, even though we've only just began the new year. That wait however is over, and this morning we saw the official news break of a WBO Flyweight title bout thanks to a press conference in Nagaoya
The contest that was announced will pit unbeaten 3-weight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成], and current WBO Flyweight king, against former IBF and WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. The bout had had long been in the works in the past, but this time it's on!
Originally the two men had been wanting to fight when both held world titles at 108lbs, but injuries to Tanaka's eyes forced plans to change and he would move up in weight, with Taguchi beating Milan Melindo to unify WBA and IBF titles.
Last year Taguchi would the unified Light titles to Hekkie Budler whilst Tanaka would go on to claim the WBO Flyweight title, becoming a 3 weight world champion in just his 12th bout, beating Sho Kimura [木村翔] in what was the Fight of the Year for many. Following his Flyweight triumph Tanaka stated he wanted to face Taguchi, revealing as much in publicly in November, and the two teams have now come to agreement on date and venue.
Today the two men held a press conference to announce the bout, and revealed that it will take place at the Gifu Memorial Center on March 16th, making it the first announced world title fight in Japan this year, though rumours suggest we may have at least 1 world title fight in February that hasn't yet been publicly announced.
At the press conference both spoke excitedly about the match up, with Tanaka in particular explaining that he "was really happy" and that Taguchi was "definitely a strong fighter".
For Tanaka this will be his first defense of the WBO Flyweight title, and will see him looking to over-come a second successive Japanese opponent, after beating Kimura last time out for the belt. As for Taguchi this will be his first world title bout at Flyweight as he looks to become a 2-weight world champion, though it's a division that his body seems made for and moving up 4lbs should actually allow his body to fill out, potentially making him a better fighter.
From what we understand this bout won't just be aired on CBC, like Tanaka's last bout, but also in Tokyo on TBS, which was oped due to the profile of the two men, though reports suggest that the broadcast will have a 4PM start time, which is is incredible early.
At the time of writing the under-card hasn't been revealed but we do expect to see the exciting Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人] in action on the show.
It's fair to say that after a bit of an Hiatus in boxing, things are now starting to awaken and this is a sensational match up to be announced and one that we suspect fans of the lower weights are going to be looking forward to over the next 2 months!
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Earlier today our attention turned to Nagoya where Sho Kimura and Kosei Tanaka put on a Fight of the Year contender over the WBO Flyweight title.
On the same card fans at the venue had another title fight to see, with "Prince" Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人] battling against Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-3, 1) for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
This was a notable bout for the 20 year old, who was fighting for his first title, and despite some early tension Hatanaka was the boss.
The ropes had to keep the Indonesian upright in round 3 before Hatanaka dropped his man in round 5. The visitor recovered from the knockdown in round 5, but the follow up attack forced the referee to stop the bout and give Hatanaka his 7th stoppage win!
It's worth noting that Hatanaka is the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, who also promotes the youngster, and it seems likely that Kiyoshi will begin to guide Kento to more notable fights in the very near future. Japanese and OPBF titles might be out of his reach for now, but they won't be for long and we suggest fans remember his name.
Also on the under-card was the touted Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋 宏心], who stopped Kiki Marciano (1-3) in the second round.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans will get the chance to see a WBO world title fight as Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] defends his belt against mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成]. It's worth nothing however the the show will actually feature two title bouts, with Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) [畑中 建人] facing Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
Today "Prince" Hatanaka and Rumahpasal took part in their weigh in, and despite not being given the weigh in specifics we have been told that both fighters have made the 112lb limit.
This bout will be Rumahpasal's first outside of Indonesia and will also be the first title bout for both men, with Hatanaka expected to go on to have an exceptional career in the years' to come, following his father and promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, a former world champion.
Sadly this bout doesn't appear to be part of the live stream we've secured for the Asianboxing homepage, though the feed will carry the main event between Kimura and Tanaka.
(Image courtesy of Kento Hatanaka's twitter)
On September 24th we'll see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] defend his belt against mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成] in a mouth watering match up on CBC. It's now been revealed that that won't be the only title bout on the card.
The other title bout, was was revealed recently, will see unbeaten puncher Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) [畑中 建人] take on Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
The match up isn't the most attractive on paper, but it is a chance for the 20 year old "Prince" Hatanaka to become a "King" and claim his first professional title, with more likely to come in the near future, as he steps up his competition and begins to chase national and regional honours.
The exciting Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, has often been in a supporting role for Tanaka, as he is again here, and it looks likely that a win here could be the final time he acts as a supporting before branching out to become a championship fighter in his own right. It's also a safe looking first title bout, taking on a man who will be fighting on foreign soil for the first time.
Not too much is known about the Indonesian foe though he made his debut in April 2017, when he lost a 6 round decision to Hisar Mawan. He would fight all 3 of his bouts last year, and has been inactive since a December loss to Yohanis Tatul. He's not expected to put up much of a threat to Hatanaka, but he's yet to be stopped, and iut's unlikely that the Japanese fighter will want to see his perfect KO record end here.
It's also been confirmed that former Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士] will be on the card, against Rusli Yanto (2-1), and the highly regarded Koshin Takeshima (1-0, 1) [竹嶋 宏心] will be battling against Kiki Marciano (1-2).
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