We have just been informed that WBO female Minimumweight champion Mako Yamada (7-0, 2) has retired from professional boxing in a move that has genuinely shocked us.
Yamada made history this year when she travelled to South Korea and beat Su Yun Hong for the WBO title becoming the youngest female Japanese champion, the first WBO female champion from Japan and the first Japanese female to win a world title in South Korea. It seemed, aged 19, that she was set for a huge future in the sport though with this retirement it looks like her plans have changed drastically and she has walked away from the sport without even making a defence of her world title.
From what we understand Yamada indicated her retirement back in May to the JBC. It was the JBC who made the announcement known earlier today though no reason has yet been given for the surprising move. In fact the only thing we know is that no injury caused the retirement.
We hope to get more details on this shock announcement soon though from we understand the details will never be fully released and instead Yamada will become one of the greatest "what if?" in boxing history.
(Image courtesy of Boxrec.com)
Earlier today the WBO announced the officials for this weekend's WBO female Minimumweight title fight between Su-Yun Hong and Mako Yamada.
The referee will be Filipino Danrex Tapdasan, who was last in the ring on February 1st. He was also the referee in Hong's most recent bout against Mari Ando last August.
The judges will be Joong-Suk Kwon, from South Korea, Katsuhiko Nakamure, from Japan, and Salven Lagumbay, from Philippines. Meaning each fighter is given one judge from their homeland whilst the third judge is neutral.
The WBO supervisor for the bout will be Thai based, American born Filipino Leon Panoncillo, who also supervised on the Hong/Ando fight last August.
This past week or so has been an interesting one for unbeaten teenager Mako Yamada (6-0, 2) who has been busy preparing for her upcoming fight WBO Minimumweight title fight with unbeaten Su Yung Hong (9-0, 5).
The 19 year old Yamada, widely regarded as one of the best young female fighters on the planet, has been sparring with WBC Atomweight champion Momo Koseki (17-2-1, 4) and as a result has been getting arguably the best sparring she could in and around her weight.
Koseki, who has held the WBC Atomweight title since 2008, is similar to Hong in several ways. Firstly they are both around the same height with Hong standing at 5'3" whilst Koseki is 5'4" and secondly both are southpaws. Stylistically they are different, of course, though those 2 features of Koseki are likely why Yamada has picked her as a sparring partner.
Yamada, who knows she'll be in for the toughest test of her career when she takes on Hong, will know that this level of sparring is invaluable to help her cope with the skills of the champion. Unfortunately however no level of sparring can prepare you for needing to travel to a champions backyard which is exactly what she'll be doing when she meets Hong in February. If she can perform well with the crowd against her, then Yamada could well announce herself on the world stage as a major force in and around the Minimumweight division.
Hong, who has been the WBO world champion since June 2012, will be seeking the 3rd defense of her title when she meets Yamada in Chuncheon.
We've gotten word earlier today that Korea's unbeaten Su-Yun Hong (9-0, 5) will make the third defense of her WBO Minimumweight title on February 9th 2014 as she takes on Japans unbeaten teenager Mako Yamada (5-0, 2). The fight, scheduled to take place at the Chuncheon Lakeside Gym in the north of the country, will be Hong's first defense since she defeated current WBC Minimumweight champion Mari Ando back in August.
Going in to the bout Hong will be a clear favourite. This is her fourth WBO world title bout whilst Hamada is taking a massive step up. To date the combined record of Hamada's opponents have been 13-7-1 a massive difference to that of Hong whose last 3 opponents had a combined record of 35-13-1. Despite this Hamada will go in to the bout full of confidence having beaten 2 unbeaten fighters already in here career.
As well as this female title bout we're also expecting to see a 2 other title bouts on the show.
The first of these is expected to be for the Korean Bantamweight title as champion Jong-Min Jung (4-6, 1) defends his belt for the first time. Jung is expected to face Ye-Joon Kim (6-1-2, 1) in what looks, on paper, to be a fight that you need to favour the challenger in.
In the second title bout, also a Korean title fight, we expect Korean Light Welterweight champion Taek-Min Kim (15-6, 10) to face unbeaten challenger Ja-Ik Goo (2-0, 2). Goo, who has stopped both of his opponents so far inside a round will be taking a major step up though Kim has been stopped 3 times, including stoppage losses in 2 of his 3 bouts.
Although this card is yet to be listed on boxrec.com we have it on VERY good authority that it will be taking place.
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