Earlier today news broke that Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] had vacated his title, ahead of the Champion Carnival, to begin a pursuit of a world title fight.
The 34 year old veteran, who claimed the title last year when he stopped Shin Ono, is one of the very few fighters to have a world ranking with all 4 world title bodies.
At the moment the IBF champion, Pedro Taduran (14-2, 11), and WBO champion, Wilfredo Mendez (15-1, 5), have apparently got fights in the works for early in the year however Tanaka could be viewing up fights for either the WBC or WBA champions. They, of course, as the Thai pairing of Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], who Tanaka has long been rumoured to face, and Knockout CP Freshmart (20-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท].
Although no opponent has yet been named publicly for Tanaka it does seem likely we'll hear something soon for the man from the Misako Gym.
Interestingly this leaves the Japanese Minimumweight title vacant for the Champion Carnival, where we know Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will fight for the belt. His opponent isn't yet confirmed, but will be a highly ranked domestic contender. That could mean a potential showdown between Taniguchi and Ryoki Hirai (13-6-1, 4) [平井亮輝] or Takumi Sakae (22-3-1, 16) [榮拓海], who are both expected to be looking for title fights in 2020.
We'll find out who is next for Taniguchi shortly, when the full line up for the Champion Carnival is announced, later this month.
(Image courtesy of Misako Gym)
Tomorrow we'll see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] look to make his next defense, as he takes on mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7) from South Africa.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters managed to make the 105lb limit, though one man made it easier than the other.
Wanheng came in at 105lbs dead on, no worries. Konkco on the other hand was slightly over the limit on his first attempt, before removing his socks and weighing in again and making the 105lb limit dead on.
If Wanheng wins, as many expect, it seems likely he'll make his long awaited international debut next year, likely in the US on a Golden Boy promoted DAZN show. On the other hand a loss here for Wanheng would end his very long unbeaten run, and a loss here could push him into retirement.
Related- Wanheng Menayothin clashes with mandatory challenger Simpiwe Konkco
(Image courtesy of Petch Yindee Boxing Promotion / Sodsroi Sawsangvean)
We've known for a while that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] was going to be facing off with WBC #1 ranked contender Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7) on October 25th. Now we've seen a lot of new details for that bout emerge.
The bout will be held Chon Buri, at a temporary venue near the town hall. The bout will be aired on CH7 HD, live from 13:45 local time, with a 2 hour time slow put aside for the bout.
The bout will have an official press conference for it taking place on October 9th, tomorrow, to officially announce the contest.
If he wins, the hope is then that Wanheng will begin fighting under Golden Boy Promotions in the US. The original plan was that this bout would be in the US, though issues forced a change to that plan, and forced Wanheng's team in Thailand to set the bout up back in Thailand to make sure the mandatory obligations were fill.
For Wanheng this will be his 12th defense, as he looks to extend the longest active world title reign of any male boxer, whilst Konkco will be looking to claim a major world title at the second time of asking.
(Image courtesy of Petchyindee promotions)
According to a recent article on Boxing Scene from Cyril Tshepo Lehong a deal has now been agreed for WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] to defend his title against WBC #1 ranked contender Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), in what has been a bout that has spent a long time in the making.
The hope had been for the bout to be in the US, with Wanheng hoping to make his US debut as part of his new deal with Golden Boy Promotions. Sadly the planned show for the bout, in the US, appears to have not come along as hoped and instead the bout will be taking place back in Thailand.
At the moment a venue hasn't been reported by Lehong, but the bout will be taking place in Wanheng's homeland on October 23rd.
For Wanheng the bout will see him hunting a 54th straight win and look to record a 12th title defense and extend his reign, that began way back in November 2014. For Konkco however the bout serves as only his second world title , his first since a close loss to fellow South African Hekkie Budler back in September 2015. the loss to Budler, in what was a WBA title fight, is Konkco's only defeat since April 2010, and he comes into the bout 13-1-0-1 in his last 15 bouts.
At the moment no other details of the card have been confirmed, though it's worth noting that we had expected Can Xu (17-2, 3) [徐灿] to be on the same US card as Wanheng, so those plans seem to have been scrapped.
For those wanting to read Lehong's article breaking the news that's available here, along with quotes from Konkco and his trainer Colin Nathan.
Earlier today it was revealed that Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] had signed a professional contract with US promotional outfit Golden Boy Promotions, who will look to promote the unbeaten Thai in the US.
The decision for Wanhent to fight in the US is an odd one, given the fact Minimumweight have never drawn much of a fan base in the West, though we wouldn't be surprised if he was signed to draw attention to his unbeaten record, which has surpassed that of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
According to sources in Thailand the plan was to have Wanheng make his US debut in September, on the now aborted Saul Alvarez headlined card. Now however it's unclear what the immediate plan is, though it seems likely that Wanheng will be defending his belt against South African Simpiwe Konkco (19-5, 7), in what is a mandatory defense of the Thai.
Unfortunately the last few year's for Wanheng has seen rumour, speculation and talk about fighting on foreign soil, but rumours have vanished and talks have stopped. Hopefully their is real substance to this news and that Golden Boy will make good with the long reigning WBC Minimumweight champion.
(Image courtesy of Thailrec.com_)
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