Earlier today WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] recorded a stay busy win against Indonesian visitor Tyson Lahagu (2-10-1, 2). Following that bout Wanheng's team have revealed that their man is expected to return to the ring in spring next year to make his 11th defense of the title.
According to Wanheng's team the their man will defend his belt against OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] and will take place in Japan, in April, with a deal expected to be fully in place by the end of January.
Originally it was assumed that Koura would fight in a world title eliminator with South African Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7), but it now appears that Koura's team have pursued a direct title fight instead.
For those who haven't seen Koura's he is, on paper, one of the best challenger's Wanheng will have faced, and he's still a maturing, developing fighter, not someone who peaked and slipped by the time Wanheng faced them. Despite being 52-0 Wanheng may not actually the favourite, with Koura being a live contender, and with home advantages Koura really could announce himself on the world stage.
Sadly we've heard Wanheng fighting abroad before, so we do take this with a pinch of salt, but it does seem clear that the fighter and his team are wanting to travel outside of Thailand for big fights, and a fight with Koura in Japan would be a very good international debut for the unbeaten world champion.
Earlier today Thai fight fans had the chance to see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (52-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] extend his unbeaten record in a stay busy fight, as he defeated limited Indonesian fighter Tyson Lahagu (2-10-1, 2), who is listed on boxrec under his birth name of Mektison Marganti, in a straight forward victory.
Wanheng who's rumoured December bout with Japanese national champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] appears to be dead in the water, scarcely got out of first gear in what was more of an exhibition from he Thai than a competitive contest.
It was clear from the first round that Wanheng's key was to keep some ring rust away and get through some rounds, and he rarely looked like he wanted to amp up the pressure more than he had to do. He looked sharp through out, but like a man who knew he had no real need to do anything too intense. To his credit the visitor played his part in trying to put of a fight, at least early on, with some interesting exchanges but as the fight wore on he put fewer punches together and seemed to become happier in just surviving.
It's currently unclear on when Wanheng will next defend his WBC crown, though OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] has been ordered to face South African Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7) in an eliminator, and either of those men against Wanheng in 2019 would be very interesting.
This past weekend we saw talented OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] have some fun, as he successfully defended that OPBF Minimumweight title for the third time, defeating Daiki Tomita (12-1, 4) [冨田大樹]. Now it seems he is on the verge of securing a world title eliminator.
At the WBC convention in Kiev Koura was announced as being one of two men who have been ordered to fight in a WBC Minimumweight world title eliminator, alongside South African Simphiwe Khonco (19-5, 7).
Koura is relatively unknown outside of Asian boxing circles, but those who following the OPBF and Japanese scenes have been excited about the youngster for a few years now. In 2015 he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown, he would then add the OPBF title in 2017 and has record up 3 solid defenses already.
Similarly Khonco is somewhat unknown outside of South Africa, where he has fought his 24 career bouts. Those bouts includ a narrow loss in 2015 to Hekkie Budler and a 2016 win over Nkosinathi Joyi. Whilst he hasn't yet won a big 4 world title he is enjoying his second reign as the IBO champion. It should be noted that although his record is a bit messed up he actually started his career 6-4, and has since found his feet as a professional going 13-1 and developing into a very talented contender.
The winner of a potential Koura Vs Khonco bout would become the WBC mandatory challenger for the WBC title, currently held by Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], meaning we could get two very good bouts out of this, as Menayothin against either man would be an excellent and exciting contest, just like a Koura Vs Khonco show down.
We expect to see more about this bout in the coming weeks and it may even take place before the end of 2018.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall, and on Boxingraise, fans saw the talented and heavy handed Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] successfully defend the OPBF Minimumweight title for the third time, over-coming Daiki Tomita (12-1, 4) [冨田大樹].
On paper this was an excellent match up. Both were young talented and unbeaten fighters looking to make a statement. Sadly though the bout really wasn't as competitive as we'd have expected.
Early on Tomita fought well, using his sharp jab to control the range. That worked well in the first couple of rounds though it seemed like Koura was almost taking his time suss out what Tomita had in his arsenal.
From round 3 onwards the bout turned in favour of Koura who used excellent footwork, great punch variety and some lovely combinations to control and outbox Tomita.
After 4 rounds one judge, bizarrely, had the fight 40-36 to Koura, another had it 39-37 in the champions favour whilst the third had the bout even, the same as us. That was the last time the bout looked competitive however, as Koura figured out the challenger, who had little more than a jab at his disposal.
Koura really began moving through the gears in the middle rounds. He started to really punish Tomita for his weak defense and predictable offensive, landing some really punishing shots to the head and body. To his credit Tomita wasn't showing any quit, but was taking a bit of a beating at times, and was down 79-73 on two cards and 78-74 on the third when the scores were announced at the end of round 8.
Koura began to hunt a stoppage in the later rounds, hurting Tomita in round 10 and dropping him in round 11. The challenger however gutted things out and in the final round showed what he was really capable off, through body shots and uppercuts as well as his jab. It was as if he had really learned on the job and had developed in front of our eyes. By then however it was too little too late.
After the bell there no questioning the winner, with the judges scoring the bout 119-108, twice, and 117-110 to Koura who spoke about fighting for a world title in the near future.
For Tomita this bout has seen him lose his unbeaten record but prove that he is a tough fighter, who has a lot of room to improve, a real grittiness and the potential to win titles in the future. If his team develop him following this set back we genuinely believe he will go on to win titles in the coming years. Koura is on a different level, but this loss is not one to be ashamed by.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in at the Korakuen Hall as well as those who subscribe to the excellent Boxingraise service will get the chance to see a brilliant looking Dangan card.
The show has several notable contests on it, with arguably the best of them being an OPBF Minimumweight title bout.
That bout will see Tsubasa Koura (13-0, 9) [小浦 翼] defending his belt for the third time, as he takes on talented and unbeaten challenger Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) [冨田大樹], in what looks to be a genuinely mouth watering contest.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout.
On the scales Koura was in great shape, coming in at 104.7lbs and looked very relaxed. Despite being calm and collected at the weigh in he'll know that not only could he lose his regional title but also, potentially, his world rankings if he loses here. There's a lot on the line for the youngster, but a win will further establish him as one of the leading contenders and could help secure him a world title fight in 2019.
Tomita was slightly lighter, at 104.5lbs, and he also looked in terrific condition. This will be a huge step up in class for him, but a win immediately puts him in the mix for a world title, gives him his major silverware and acts as a big wake up call to the division.
As mentioned this bout will be on boxingraise, and is in fact part of a live stream from the service.
Related- Unbeaten men Koura and Tomita collide for OPBF honours!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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