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)
Over the last couple of years we have had some great match ups at 105lbs and right now the division is genuinely red hot, with talented champions like Hiroto Kyoguchi, Knockout CP Freshmart, Ryuya Yamanaka and the now 50-0 Wanehng Menayothin. The division also has a wealth of talented contenders, including the ultra-talented Mark Anthony Barriga and the prodigious Vince Paras.
Another name of note is former WBO world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥], the man who lost the WBO title to the aforementioned Yamanaka last year.
Given Fukuhara has come up short in ultra-competitive bouts to Yamanaka and Wanheng he is rightfully still regarded as a top contender and today we learned that he was plannign to have a "world title prelude", essentially a tune up for a world title fight, on July 29th when his promoter, Honda Fitness, hold the next in their line of Fire Country Fighting shows in Kumamoto.
At the moment little is known about the actual show, other than that Fukuhara will be fighting his second bout since his 2017 loss to Wanheng. Though a Japanese ticket website has revealed that tickets for the card will be made available from 10am, local time, on Thursday, so we're expecting more details to be released very soon.
Although no opponent has been named, and we're not expecting anyone too testing, it seems like Honda Fitness, the team behind Fukuhara, have got big plans for the end of this year. We can immediately rule out a world title bout with Kyoguchi, who is expected to face Barriga in a mandatory title fight, though with Fukuhara being ranked by the WBC a rematch with Wanheng is a possiblity, as is a rematch with Yamanaka, who has a scheduled defense on July 13th but would likely be able to fit in another defense before the end of 2018.
Whilst we expect Fukuhara to claim a straight forward win over a hand picked opponent next time out, his follow up bout does seem like it will be worth making a note of, and could well be announced immediately after his bout on July 29tth.
Earlier today fight fans in Fukuoka saw former world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (20-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] bounce back from back-to-back losses as he over-came domestic foe Yuto Takahashi (8-4, 4) [高橋悠斗] in a well contested 8 round bout.
Last year Fukuhara claimed the WBO Minimumweigt title, defeating Moises Calleros, before losing it in his first defense, coming up short to Ryuya Yamanaka. He would later go on to challenge WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin in Thailand and come up short again there. Today he was in there to make a statement, and set the pace from the off.
To his credit Takahashi, who entered the bout as a JBC ranked fighter, To his credit wasn't there to roll over and looked lively through out, but was was in a hole early on before managing to really get a break through. Despite being behind Takahashi continued to grit his teeth and fight hard, that was despite being dropped with a low blow in round 8 that cost Fukuhara a point.
The deduction from Fukuhara made the score cards look close, at 78-74, twice, and 77-74, but there was no real doubting the winner who, seemed unhappy at his own performance. Takahashi seemed tosuggest the bout was made on relatively short notice, and although he was disappointed by losing he did seem relatively happy about his performance and will be using that as a level to improve from.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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