The unbeaten WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] hasn't yet announced the plans for his next bout, which is expected to take place at the very end of 2019. What we do know however is that he's not sitting on the side lines waiting, instead he's training and training hard.
The talented 3 weight world champion is currently taking part in his first US training camp, at the Bones Adams gym near Las Vegas.
The camp began on October 26th and is scheduled to last 11 days, with Tanaka getting the chance to spar with some top US based fighters, get adapted to US conditions and almost do a scouting mission ahead of some potential future US bouts.
Tanaka is said to be suffering really bad jet lag, but has already done a considerable amount of round work, and sparred with former world champion Deejay Kriel, a former IBF Minimumweight champion.
Sparring is meant to continue through the camp with Tanaka clearly using the camp, at least in part, for a dry run of conditions Stateside, something we have seen from Japanese fighters in the past.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this month we saw Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也] take on WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人]. Although Hisada came up short he impressed, with a fantastic effort and really enhanced his profile and standing in the sport, in what was his 46th bout and his first at world level.
Originally he told the media that retirement was likely, with one media source stating that Hisada was 90% sure he was going to call it a day and retirement.
Today he has come back out and announced that his future as bleak as it first seemed. Instead of retiring on the high of losing a competitive bout with Kyoguchi, he will fight on, for another year. And he will do so as a Flyweight.
The plan is for Hisada to move up 4lbs and hunt a Flyweight world title bout, adding his name into the mix in division that is perhaps less deep than the current Light Flyweight division. He is looking to fight just twice, with the first bout likely a contest to get used to the weight before moving on a world title fight in the second bout. Given how the Japanese boxing calendar tends to set it's self out that would likely mean a world title fight around May or September next year.
Given that there is a lack of top tier talent at Flyweight, with a a real drop off after the very top contenders, there is a very good chance that Hisada will indeed get a shot at a title, possibly in another all Japanese bout against current WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成].
Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] fighting on New Year's Eve is a boxing tradition, like Mexican's fighting in early May and this year is likely to be no different with the WBO Super Flyweight champion set to announce that he will be facing mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (10-1-0-1, 5) at the end of the year.
The bout hasn't been formally announced, yet, though an announcement is expected in the coming weeks, but has been in the works for several weeks and is said to be signed, with just formalities to complete.
The contest has been in the works since Cintron defeated Koki Eto (24-5-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜] back in August, in what was the second bout between the two men.
Ioka, Japan's first male 4-weight world champion, won the WBO Super Flyweight title earlier this year, when he stopped Aston Palicte in an sensational performance back in June. He's been out of the ring since then, but always knew a mandatory would loom, ahead of the Cintron Vs Eto rematch.
The Japanese star is, of course, signed to fight on TBS in Japan. The same channel that also has links to WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] and WBA Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (13-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
TBS do try and send the year off with a big show, and it's expected that one of those other world champions will be in a supporting role to the Ioka Vs Cintron bout, with both men having spoke about unification bouts. Of course Kyoguchi will be making his own mandatory defense on October 1st, against Tetsuya Hisada (34-9-2, 20) [久田 哲也], but he, and Tanaka, would likely both fancy their place on the end of year card.
As well as the other world champions signed to TBS there are a number of other fighters who work closely with the channel, and it's likely there will be at least 1 solid non-world title bout on the card.
Unlike last year's New Year's Eve card, which took place in Macau due to licensing issues on Ioka's behalf, this one is set to take place in Tokyo. It's also expected to follow Fuji's card, which will take place a day or two before hand. That Fuji card has yet to have any solid rumours emerge, though it's likely to be a bumper card with at least 2 world title bouts on it.
Yesterday fans around the world had the chance to see Japanese star Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] record his second defense of the WBO Flyweight title, as he stopped mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-3-1, 13) in the 7th round.
The talented Tanaka had looked a shadow of the fighter we had expected and, prior to the fight, he had struggled to make the Flyweight limit and had shown signs of dehydration at the medical check ups in the build up to the fight.
Today Tanaka, sporting a clearly blackened left eye, took part in a post fight press conference, along with promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, and revealed his hopes for the immediate future as well as reviewing his performance.
In regards to the win Tanaka stated he was happy with the KO, but was critical of his movement, and seemed to almost admit he was fighting for a 7th round KO, something he had predicted before the bout. Despite that admission he did admit that Gonzalez was better at creating distance than expected, and that after the fight he had gone to see Gonzalez in his hotel room and the two praised each other.
Despite the issues making weight Tanaka revealed that his next bout was likely to be at Flyweight, and not Super Flyweight. He put the weight loss issues down to a cold he had had before the fight an a less than ideal preparation, admitting that his next bout would likely be at Flyweight. He did explain, however, that there was nothing particularly set, though he'd like a unification bout and was expecting to fight against before the end of 2019.
If we're being honest, if it was issues with a cold preparation then fair enough maybe he is better off sticking to Flyweight though we can't help but feel like a move to Super Flyweight sooner, rather than later, would be better for the talented youngster, who who looked significantly bigger than Gonzalez in the ring on Saturday.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] make his second defense of the Flyweight title, as he goes up against confident mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) from Puerto Rico.
Despite Tanaka struggling at the weigh in, and seemingly having results in his medical that may suggest minor dehydration from making the 112lb weight limit, he is heavily favoured by the British bookies.
The Japanese fighter, who is already a 3 weight champion, is currently priced at 1/8 to win tomorrow whilst Gonzalez, who has taken to Japan like a duck to water, is 5/1.
The draw, for those interested, is 22/1.
Sadly there are no alternatives markets available in the UK for this bout, but given Tanaka's rumoured weight problems we do wonder if some international bookies are carrying odds on a Gonzalez TKO win.
Related - Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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