Today it was announce that the title would have it's vacancy filled on June 22nd, with Muranaka facing off with Yuta Saito (10-9-3, 7) [齊藤裕太] for the title at the Korakuen Hall.
For Muranaka, a former Japanese Flyweight champion, this bout gives him a chance to become a 2-weight national champion. His reign as the Flyweight champion ended in 2015, when Muranaka was stripped for being unable to make the weight, and since then he has bounced between Super Flyweight and Bantamweight with his world title fight coming last year against WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The loss to Yafai is Muranaka's only defeat since a 2006 loss to Tomoya Kaneshiro and he has since bounced back from the Yafai fight with a victory over domestic foe Ken Achiwa.
Coming into this fight Saito is ranked #4 by the JBC but has notably lost his last 2 and is win-less since April 2016, when he defeated Corrales Kawashimo. In his last 3 bouts Saito has fought to a draw with Tatsuya Takahashi, been stopped by the aforementioned Akaho in a title fight and lost at Super Bantamweight to Naoya Okamoto. Against Akaho he put up an excellent fight, but was eventually stopped in the 9th round, whilst level on two of the score cards. It was a performance that kept him in consideration for another title fight.
Despite his form Saito has managed to get a title fight due to the bizarre situation with Akaho and Suzuki, and the fact that the originally rumoured opponent for Muranaka, Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三] lost earlier this month to Kazuki Tanaka (9-1, 6) [田中一樹],and would need some time to recovering the hard bout with Tanaka.