Back in late April Ian Melodillar revealed that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] was planning to take on mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22), with the bout being pencilled in for the July 12th card in Osaka.
That card, which will be headlined by Ryota Murata's (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17), has now had the Kenshiro bout announced for it, with the champion holding a press conference earlier today to confirm the bout.
Kenshiro revealed today that he had been wanting to defend his title in Kyoto or Osaka for a while, with the youngster actually coming from the Kansai region despite fighting more often in Kanto. It appears that being added to this card is a chance for him to get a "home defense" after running up 5 previous defenses in the Kanto region, with his previous defenses taking place in Tokyo and Yokohama. This will be his first bout in Kansai since he defended the Japanese and OPF titles against Toshimasa Ouchi way back in 2016.
To prepare for this bout he has already taken part in a tough Filipino training camp, and is now expected to go back into a camp to work on southpaw counter measures, and will be inviting Filipino fighters over for sparring in June.
Kenshiro also reaffirmed that he wants to beat Yoko Gushiken's defenses record and is wanting to unify, suggesting possible showdowns against IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30), who recently defended his title in Japan, and the much talked about showdown with WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
At the moment it's unconfirmed whether Kenshiro Vs Taconing will be aired live on Fuji TV, but the hope is that it will be, and that confirmation won't take too long.
Related - Kenshiro Vs Taconing in the works!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday in Japan saw the latest release of Boxing Beat, one of the two major boxing magazines in the country.
The magazine's cover is an image of Ryota Murata (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太], with the word "payback" referring to his recently announced rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17).
As well as the Murata Vs Brant feature the Magazine also has a feature looking at a number of Japanese fighters who have recently fought in the US.
Other regular features including reviews of recent bouts, both international and domestically, with the main interview for the issue being with multi-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Sakamoto.
The physical magazine is available from stores in Japan and is also available digitally here.
In July we'll see Ryota Murata (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] battle against American Rob Brant (25-1, 17), with Murata looking to avenge his 2018 loss to Brant and reclaim the WBA Regular Middleweight title.
Today the Japanese fighter took part in a small media work in front of the press.
The work out saw Murata working with Carlos Linares, who worked the mitts with Murata in place of Sendai Tanaka who is currently injured.
From now on Murata's plan is to begin amping up his training. He's planning to up his sparring later this month, with two new partners joining him, and it's clear that he is taking Brant incredibly seriously, something he was accused of not doing last year. He will however need a significantly better performance to old his own with Brant, and if we're being honest he didn't even look like he belonged in the ring with Brant last time around.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Ian, who is one of the most reliable source for Filipino news, suggests that bout may be announced in the coming days.
Given how Fuji TV, who will be airing the Murata bout, works closely with Kenshiro the bout does make a lot of sense being on the card, making it a double header and possibly helping Kenshiro get a US audience through the ESPN service, who work with Murata through Top Rank.
Interestingly by fighting his mandatory challenger in July this would get one obstacle out of the way for the highly anticipated, and much talked about, unification bout between Kenshiro and WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人], which is said to be getting eyed for December.
For Taconing this will be a third world title shot, after having lost a controversial decision to Kompayak Porpramook in 2012 and a clear loss to Ganigan Lopez in 2016, with both of those bouts being for the WBC title that Kenshiro now holds. At the age of 32 this could be his final chance.
Earlier this month we saw news breaking of a rematch between Ryota Murata (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] and WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17), with Murata looking to avenge his 2018 loss to the American. Whilst the bout was said to have been agreed it took until today for it to be officially announced, at a press conference in Tokyo.
The press conference essentially confirmed all the details that were already known about the contest. It would be taking place in Osaka on July 12th. One little bit of clarification was the specific venue, with the announcement that the bout will be held at the EDION Arena Osaka.
At the press conference Murata stated "When I lost, I thought there was no more boxing, but when I looked back on my life, I thought it would be good for the final match. I wondered if this would be my last match or would you like to see more of Murata, or I think it was a judged match? " (Translated)
It appears that Murata has studied his performance from that loss and realised that there were clear areas to work on. He stated that he needed to be better with his guard, go to the body and do basic things better, something that was pretty obvious watching him put in a very lackluster performance. To help with this he is planning to begin sparring earlier than usual.
Brant, who also attended the press conference stated "The decision to rematch in Japan will be a more challenging game for Murata players, so I think it will be a bigger challenge for me. I thought there was a return match. Last time I was allowed to challenge at my home, so this time it is natural to fight at his home, and when I show pride as a champion." He also added that "it feels exciting, but I do not feel pressure from Murata...I will show the same result with the same contents as the first game,"
Since their first bout Brant has made his first defense of the title, stopping Khasan Baysangurov back in February, whilst Murata has been out of the ring since last October when he lost to Brant.
At the moment no under-card details have been announced, but Fuji TV is expected to air the bout live.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!