According to Thai sources the WBC Minimumweight title bout between unbeaten champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] and Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] has been rescheduled.
Originally the bout was set for March 1st though sources are now reporting it has been pushed back 4 weeks, and will instead take place on 29th. There isn't a clear reason given as to why it has been scheduled, but there more to this story.
First it appears that Wanheng will return in the ring before facing Fukuhara, battling against WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท]. The sources report that we will get the two world champions in the ring together, though unclear if it will be a joint public training session or a public spar, on February 22nd as both put touches towards their training for their next defenses.
For Wanheng that next defense will be the Fukuhara bout at the end of March. For Knockout things aren't totally clear, though it seems like he will be risking his title in April, rescheduled what was supposed to be a late March, though his opponent and the exact date of his bout are currently unknown.
It should be noted that the Wanheng Vs Knockout confrontation will take place on a card that will also see Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (10-0, 4) [สะท้านเมืองเล็ก ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], aka Tanawat Nakoon, battle against Crison Omayao (24-18-4, 8) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title. Both are expected to be shown on the Channel 7 broadcast from 13:45 to 15:45 local time.
Earlier today news broke from Thailand that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] would be making his next defense on March 1st.
Over the last few months the Thai had been linked to fights in on the road against Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼], in Japan in April, and Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心], this past December, also in Japan, but sadly it seems like his first bout on Japanese soil will now be pushed back.
Instead the news from Thailand today is that the unbeaten world champion will instead be fighting in Chonburi against former foe Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] who has won 2 bouts since losing a very competitive bout with Wanheng in November 2017.
For Wanheng the bout will be his 11th defense of the WBC world title, a title he won back in November 2014, when he stopped Oswaldo Novoa. Although his reign is the longest active one for any man in the sport he is best known for surpassing the 50-0 record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, something he did last year when he defeated Pedro Taduran in August, and moved to 51-0.
For Fukuhara the bout would be his second shot at Wanheng, and if we're being honest he was a lot more competitive than the score-cards suggested in their first bout, and would give him a second chance to become a 2-time world champion, having previously held the WBO title.
Earlier this week we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] record his 10th defense and suddenly become a minor boxing star, as he surpassed the 50-0 recorcd of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Since then there has been a massive increase in boxing fans talking about the Thai, either criticising his record or applauding him for his long unbeaten reign. But that talk doesn't seem to stop any time soon, and his team are clearly not discussing retirement yet.
Prior to his recent bout with Pedro Taduran it was reported that he was looking to defend his WBC title later in the year in Japan. Now there is a few more details being revealed about that potential bout
Thai sources are now reporting that Wanheng isn't just looking to fight in Japan but is looking to do so on a Watanabe promoted New Year's Eve card, something that would be relatively huge given the audiences that attend and tune in to those end of year shows in the country.
Given the date and promotional contact the most obvious opponent would be Japanese Minimumweight champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心]. He's promoted by the Watanabe Gym, and they are looking to continue their run of shows on December 31st. It would fit perfect on a card that would also, potentially, feature Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0, 7) [京口 紘人] facing off with WBA Light Flyweight super champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10). They are also said to have been in touch with Wanheng's promoter prior to Wanheng's 51st career victory.
Interestingly there's also speculation that Ono's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一] will be fighting in a Flyweight world title bout on the same card, which appears to be slowly getting put together at the moment. The obvious option for Taguchi's Flyweight title bout would be against the winner of the upcoming WBO title fight between Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] and Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成].
Another very serious possibility, if Ono is unable to have the bout this year due to a cut or other injury, is a rematch with Wanheng facing Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥], who had been spoken to about a title fight with a Thai earlier in the year and would make for a very fan friendly contest. Though he does seem more likely to be challenging WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart.
A third possibility would be OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) [小浦 翼], if Koura successfully defends his title later this month. So far Koura has mostly fought on the Boxingraise service so doesn't seem to have any television commitments and would make for a very exciting challenger for Wanheng.
We suspect that that Koura would be preferable to Fukuhara, given his own unbeaten record and style, but even he would be second choice behind Ono, who has shown himself to be just under-world class with decision losses to Katsunari Takayama and Knockout CP Freshmart, and is of course a Watanabe promoted fighter and would be by far the easiest to make a bout with.
(Image courtesy of Siamsport)
On Wednesday we'll see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (50-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] take on Filipino Pedro Taduran (12-1, 9), in what will be Wanheng's 10th defense of the title. If he wins Wanheng will impressively move to 51-0, a record that surpasses that of Floyd Mayweather Jr, who retired with a record of 50-0.
On Tuesday Wanheng and Taduran will take part in the weigh in for their contest before facing off in the ring on Wednesday.
Interestingly it seems that Wanheng's team are not taking Taduran that seriously with a revelation from Thailand that the champion's team is already trying to line up his next bout. The hope is for that bout to take place towards the end of this year in Japan, in what would be Wanheng's first bout the Land of the Rising sun.
At the moment it's unclear who he would be defending his gold against in Japan but there are several very interesting options. These could include a possible showdown with Japanese Minimumweight champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心], who recently defended his title again Riku Kano [加納 陸], or OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) [小浦 翼] if he successfully defends his belt against Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) [冨田大樹] on September 29th, or a potential rematch with Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥]
If it was to be Wanheng Vs Ono it would almost certainly be part of a December 31st card TBS promoted by Watanabe, which is also expected to feature Hiroto Kyoguchi (10-0, 7) [京口 紘人] battling against WBA Light Flyweight super champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10), and a potential WBO Flyweight title fight. If it was to Koura who faces Wanheng then the bout would likely be on Fuji TV alongside a potential Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] bout.
Of the three options it's only a the Fukuhara rematch that doesn't have a clear avenue to a television company, but given the nature of the bout we would be surprised if no one picked up.
Related -Wanheng hunts 51st straight win, takes on Filipino youngster Taduran in WBC title defense!
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
Earlier today at the City Sogo Gym in Yatsushiro fans saw former WBO world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] pick up a very entertaining victory, as he defeated compatriot Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) [春口直也] in a 10 round contest.
The former champion, who is looking to get another world title fight in the near future, set the pace early on. He was aggressive behind his southpaw jab but was forced to eat some hard shots, especially later in the bout as the two men traded hard blows in the final few rounds. It was an impressive performance from Fukuhara but not a dominant one, with Haruguchi always doing enough to be competitive.
The fight really picked up in round 9 as Haruguchi looked to pile on the pressure and forced Fukuhara to trade more, giving the fans some thrilling scenes, but by then it was too little too late and Fukuhara ran out a clear winner with scores of 98-93, 98-92 and 97-92.
Despite the win Fukuhara sounded a little but disappointed with the performance, and made life more difficult for himself than he needed to.
According to sources in Japan Fukuhara has been offered a WBA title fight, which would suggest a potential bout with Knockout CP Freshmart (18-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], and that could take place before the end of 2018. News that will be sure to annoy fans of Byron Rojas, who appears to have already been pushed aside once this year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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