Over the last week or saw we've seen a rumour of Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) defending the WBO Minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi (10-2, 7) [谷口 将隆] on New Year's Eve in Macau. It now seems like there's another twist in that story, with Japanese sources now reporting that Taniguchi will actually be fighting on November in 13th in Thailand. Not only that but he will be up against an unbeaten man in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, almost certainly ruling him out of a December world title fight.
The Watanabe gym fight will be battling against 23 year old Filipino Joel Lino (10-0-1, 3) in Bangkok, on the same card as the previous reported ABF Featherweight title bout between Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) [杉田大祐] and Worawatchai Boonjan (12-17-1, 11).
Coming in to the bout Lino will have a #5 ranking whilst Taniguchi will be ranked #6 by the WBO Asia Pacific, whilst the title is currently vacant.
Whilst this is expected to end speculation on a possibly Taniguchi world title bout in December it should be noted that if he can win, and win quickly, he would find himself in the world rankings and it would opening up the Saludar fight for him. It would however be a very quick turn around to prepare for Saludar on a few weeks later. Likewise a win for Lino would push him up the world rankings towards a possible world title shot of his own.
Earlier today TBS updated their website with an announcement confirming that they would, as widely assumed, be showing the yet to be officially announced WBO Super Flyweight world title fight between Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) [井岡一翔] and Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23).
TBS confirmed they would be showing a special Ninja Warrior style event from 6PM to 11:55PM with the bout between Ioka and Neites fitting into that broadcast, likely a sign they are either changing their usual year ending television event in some form from their usual year ending broadcast.
Although the bout is yet to be announced sources are hinting it will be towards the end of the broadcast.
It's worth noting that this special from TBS will be up against the recently announced RIZIN 14 event, headlined by Japanese sensation Tenshin Nasukawa [那須川天心] facing boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr (50-0, 27). Given the high profile of that bout TBS may try to avoid putting Ioka head to head with the RIZIN main event.
At the moment no other bouts have been confirmed for this TBS card but there are rumours that it could be one of the most stacked cards of the year with speculation that Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) will defend the WBO Minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi (10-2, 7) [谷口 将隆], Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人] will fight for a Light Flyweight title, against either Angel Acosta (19-1, 19) or Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10), and that Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] may clash with Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心].
A full announcement is expected in the coming days of the show, and what TBS will be showing live and what will be on delay.
According to the brilliant Philboxing there appears to be some behind the scenes work to arrange a WBO Minimumweight title bout, and a WBO world title eliminator, both for December.
The site reports that WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) is possibly going to make his first defense of the title on December 31st in Macau, as part of the supporting card for the proposed WBO Super Flyweight title bout between Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) [井岡一翔] and Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23). The opponent for Saludar would be Japan's Masataka Taniguchi (10-2, 7) [谷口 将隆], in what would be an explosive, hard hitting and thrilling fight.
The bout would need the WBO's approval, and at the time of writing Taniguchi isn't ranked by the organisation. It is worth noting however that the WBO rankings are set for a shake up with several of their fighters ready to be removed, including Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) and Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) who are ranked #3 and #2 respectively but will fight in December for the vacant IBF title.
The eliminator, which was agreed at the recent WBO convention, will see Filipino Robert Paradero (17-0, 11) taking on Wilfredo Mendez (11-1, 4) in Puerto Rico on December 7th. It's worth noting that Paradero, the WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion is ranked #1 by the WBO whilst Mendez is ranked #7. This looks to be signed and sealed, and will be an excellent match up, with both men getting a real test before a prospective world title fight.
For those wanting to read the Philboxing story that's here.
Back in July we saw Japan's Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] lose the WBO Minimumweight title to Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (18-3, 10). Since that loss things had gone really quite in regards to what Yamanaka's plans for the future were. Sadly that silence has now broken, and it's not good news.
According to a major and reliable Japanese source the reason things have been so quiet is that Yamanaka suffered a subdural hematoma in his loss to Saludar, a injury that looks set to end his career.
Although immediately after the loss Yamanaka did show the intention of continuing his career he later complained about headaches, and was hospitalised soon afterwards, with symptoms of a subdural hematoma.
It's not all bad news, as Yamanaka was released in July without needing surgery, and there isn't expected to be any effects day to day. There is however a Japanese rule where by a license of a fighter will expire if a fighter is diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, and Yamanaka is expected to officially announce his retirement in the near future.
At just 23 years old it's a massive shame Yamanaka has suffered such an injury, especially given the talent he showed in his title win, over Tatsuya Fukuhara, and his first defense, against Moises Calleros. Those performance suggested that Japanese boxing had a real natural talent on their hands. But with such a serious injury there is no one really complaining about Yamanaka's career being over, rather than running a risk of further negative health implications.
Notably Yamanaka becomes the second Japanese fighter suffer to a brain bleed following a world title loss, after Akinobu Hiranaka's retirement back in the early 1990's.
(Image from the Yamanaka Vs Saludar fight, courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will be able to see WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) [山中 竜也] defending his title against hard hitting Filipino challenger Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the weight, in fact made it with a bit of room to spare.
The champion was 104.72lbs, comfortably under the limit. He looked shredded at the weigh in and has clearly been preparing intensely though it's really surprising that he has come in at a career lowest, having never actually weighed any less than 105lbs before. Notable he was 105lbs for both his title win and his first defense of the title, earlier this year.
Saludar was even further under the limit, coming in at around 104.5lbs. He also looked in fantastic shape for the bout and it seems clear that he's confident of claiming the title, in what will be his second world title fight. Interestingly Saludar is 0.5lbs lighter than he was in his previous world title fight, a 6th round KO loss to Kosei Tanaka.
For fans wanting to watch this live, it will be aired on Fuji TV One between 19:00 and 22:00 local time.
Related-WBO champion Yamanaka takes on Saludar!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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