The bout will be one of two title bouts on the show, Dangan 220, alongside the recently announced Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout between Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] and Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who battle for the vacant title on the same show.
It appears that with the New Year's Eve show in Tokyo now looking to be scrapped Ono's shot at a world title has been put on ice, though could be organised for later in 2019 if he gets past Tanaka, which isn't actually a given. It's a shame that Wanheng's first bout on international soil has been delayed, though hopefully he will end up fighting a notable name in early 2019 himself, after his stay busy bout later this month.
With Dangan 220 now being a Japanese title double header we would expect Dangan to live stream the show on Boxingraise, so fingers crossed on that as well!
Earlier today it was revealed that Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾] had officially vacated the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, and would not be defending it during the 2019 Champion Carnival. Instead he will be focusing on getting a world title shot in the new year.
The talented southpaw, who lost by TKO in 11 rounds against Jonathan Guzman in his only prior world title fight, won the belt earlier this year when he stopped Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] in an excellent performance.
At the moment Wake is ranked by the WBC, #7 at Super Bantamweight, the IBF, #4 at Super Bantamweight and the WBA, strangely #4 at Bantamweight. Amazingly however he is unranked by the WBO, who have some very questionable rankings at 122lbs.
Today's announcement may mean that something is already lined up for the popular fighter, with a potential IBF or WBA eliminator certainly on the table for him, or even a straight shot a world title.
The JBC have revealed that the vacancy will likely be filled at the Champion Carnival with a bout between Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太], who earned his shot at the belt back in October, and former title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who challenged in 2017 and gave Kuga fits before losing a competitive decision.
Earlier today Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance to see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我 勇作] make his first defense of the title, as he over-came the challenge of Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) [田村 亮一], in what was a compelling contest.
The early stages saw Tamura apply pressure on Kuga, but the champion managed to make the most of his speed to evade the pressure, and did just enough to take the first round, before landing a monster of a right hand in round 2, that Tamura took cleanly and stayed upright. Tamura seemed to be woken up by the shot and in round 3 he really got going, with 2 judges giving him the round.
Kuga battled back well in rounds 4 and 5 to strengthen his grip on the bout, but Tamura refused to go away, and continued to try to turn things around. This lead to some thrilling back and forth moments, though it seemed like the judges were always prefering Kuga's work, until round 8 when a clearly tired Kuga began to show his exhaustion. That really gave Tamura a big chance and in rounds 8 and 9 the challenger did all he could to try and stop the champion, who was running on empty.
Thankfully for Kuga he got a second wind in the final round, a thrilling round, and managed to see out the distance in a greulling contest.
With the bout going the distance the cards were read, with cards of 97-94, twice, for Kuga and a card of 96-94 to the champion, who took the unanimous decision and recorded his first defense.
The win for Kuga will serve as a great lesson, and exposed a number of flaws, notably his stamina, which he will have to work on going forward. As for Tamura he will almost certainly bounce back from this loss, and could well find himself in the title mix again in the near future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) [久我 勇作] defending his title against fellow puncher Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) [田村 亮一] in a bout that really does seem to be a mouth watering clash between two crude, but exciting, punchers. Today those two men weighed in for their bout and both looked in great condition as they made weight for a potentially explosive encounter.
On the scales the champion, who looked in incredible shape, was bang on the divisional limit of 122lbs and he looked like a man who was determined to keep alive not just his reign as a world champion but also his stoppage run, which is currently at 3 wins including notable blow outs against Jonathan Baat and Yasutaka Ishimoto.
The challenger was slightly lighter, coming in around 121.75lbs, for the bout, and although he was in great shape he didn't look quite as ripped as the champion. Despite not being as proven he was confident and it seems clear that he's lookign to make this into a war, something we expect Kuga will want, as well as the fans.
Kuga and Tamura face off in potential fire fight for Japanese honours!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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