Back at the end of April we reported that the WBO had given their Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] and 28 year old Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) 30 days to negotiate a deal for a mandatory world title fight.
That 30 day period was expected to result in a deal being made, with the teams though to have been close to securing a deal before the order was even made.
Today a deal for the bout has been announced!
The Hatanaka gym, lead by former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, held a press conference earlier today to announce that the Tanaka Vs Gonzalez bout was a done deal for August 24th at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya, the same venue that Tanaka won the title last September with a win over Sho Kimura.
For Tanaka, a 3-weight world champion, the bout serves as his second defense of the title, following the previous mentioned win in September, and comes on the back of a commanding win over Ryoichi Taguchi in March. As for Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and his first bout in Asia, following bouts in a number of American countries.
It's worth noting that the challenger will be one of the first southpaws that Tanaka has faced during his professional career, though his team and especially his father, showed no worries given that Tanaka faced a number of southpaws in the amateur ranks.
The bout will air on CBC, but specifics in regards to time haven't yet been confirmed. We're hoping that we'll be able to continue our working relationship with the channel to be able to bring you a live, legal stream to the bout in August.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the WBO released a letter stating that WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] and 28 year old Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) had 30 days to agree a deal to fight in a mandatory defense, or a purse bid would be called. If the bout did go to purse bids the minimum bid would be $80,000.
The letter, which can be read below, was sent to both teams today.
Despite the 30 day limit it's assumed that the teams are close to agreeing a deal in the coming weeks anyway, with the bout being pencilled in for August in Japan. Although no dates have been stated by anyone it is likely to be around the 11th or 12th, coinciding with a Japanese national holiday thus allowing the best TV figures for the bout.
For Tanaka the bout will serve as his second defense, following his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year, and could help set up the highly anticipated unification bout with WBC champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗]. As for Gonzalez the bout will be his first world title bout, and follows 4 straight wins following his 2016 Joebert Alvarez, including wins over former Naoya Inoue victim Ricardo Rodriguez and Julian Yedras.
This past weekend we saw WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成]score his first defense of the Flyweight title, defeating Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] over 12 rounds in Gifu. Today we have been informed of the TV ratings for the bout, or rather at least some of figures.
The figures that have been released were the average figures for Kanto, Kansai and Tokai which we assume would be for TBS, MBS and CBC.
The show got an average of 3.6% in Kanto, 3.% in Kansai and 6.1% in Tokai. Figures that aren't huge, and certainly don't come close to matching those of the biggest names in Japan, but still add up to being well over 3 million viewers.
It's worth noting that it's quite hard to compare these like for like with other TV figures, given that it had an early slot of 4PM, and is being compared to prime time slots on much more attractive days. Still it gives a bar for which to compare Tanaka's fights going forward, and does show him to be a clear star in his home region, even if that fame hasn't yet stretched into the other markets.
Yesterday we saw WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] record his first defense of the title, defeating Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] with a clear 12 round decision.
Today the champion attended a press conference to speak about the bout and his performance.
Tanaka is said to have not really reviewed the bout, seemed to be less convinced than many who watched the bout, explaining that it wasn't "good boxing". It seems he was disappointed not to stop Taguchi, though he did also give credit to the mental toughness of the challenger who remained up right despite taking a lot of punishment during the 12 round contest.
Tanaka's promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka seemed to suggest that there is no set plan for Tanaka's next bout, given the bout was only around 12 hours earlier, but the name of Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10) [木村翔] was mentioned and that could be a really good rematch later in the year. He also stated "I was glad that the customers were happy" and it seems clear that Hatanaka and Tanaka are looking to put on a show for fans, something they succeeded with here.
If you missed the fight live we've included the international feed of the bout below.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We are just over 24 hours away from the highly anticipated WBO Flyweight title fight between unbeaten champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] and countryman Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一], and today the two men took part in their weigh in.
Both men were bang on the Flyweight limit of 112lbs, though did look relatively different, with Taguchi clearly looking the bigger man, as he typically does. Despite looking like the naturally bigger fighter it should be remembered that this will be his first bout as a fully fledged Flyweight.
Tanaka, who selected black gloves this morning, told the media "I was able to make the best adjustment without injury. There is no excuse. I will not run away because the opponent is the best rival. I do not intend to make a boring game with such a great card, so enjoy enjoying all the time It will be an interesting match" [Translated]. Whilst Taguchi stated "The opponent is a clever boxing player and a strong player and a top-class champion. I was prepared to be able to cope with it." [Translated], he will have blue gloves.
Interestingly Japanese fight fans will guest commentary from WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] and Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10) [木村翔], though those watching the international stream won't get that commentary. So no need to worry if you are watching the international feed that we're hosting and you don't understand Japanese.
Related - The Fate hangs in the balance Kosei Tanaka and Ryoichi Taguchi face off!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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