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_)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fans saw domestic Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] record his first defense, as he clearly over-came Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也], and avenged one of his defeats.
The two had fought a couple of years ago, with Haruguchi taking a very controversial win over Tanaka. Since that loss Tanaka has rebuilt brilliantly and earlier this year we saw him win the Japanese title with a stoppage win against Shin Ono, in what was a career best win.
Today's performance saw Tanaka again show what he could do, Tanaka settled quickly, using his skills to get in and attack the body of Haruguchi. Haruguchi showed no fear, and seemed to have Tanaka cornered at one point in round 2, but the skills and experience of the champion showed as he escaped, neutralising the threat at the time. Not only did Tanaka's experience help him neutralise the challenger but he would counter him with ease, landing clean hurtful shots and he dropped his man in round 4, securing a big 10-8 round.
Although Haruguchi went down he would get back to his, though struggle to make any inroads into the fight. After 5 rounds he was a long way behind, 49-45, twice and 50-44. Tanaka knew there was still a threat so continued to tag the challenger, landing more body shots and counters, breaking the spirit of Haruguchi.
Going into the final few rounds the bout was a foregone conclusion and Tanaka began to cool the jets, letting Haruguchi take a few consolation rounds and close the scorecards up, though their no threat to the actual result.
After 10 rounds the scores were 96-93 and 97-92, twice.
Rumours have been circulating from Thailand that Tanaka may be next in line for WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], with that bout being rumoured as a potential October fight, though their was no clear indication after the fight that that was next.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the weekend it was revealed that WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] may look to delay his mandatory defense against South African challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), pushing it back to the end of the year.
The reason for that was that Watanabe Gym were wanting to get Wanheng to fight in Japan, though at the time none of the Watanabe gym fighters looked like real options for the unbeaten Thai champion.
Sources are now reporting that it wouldn't actually be a Watanabe gym fighter challenging Wanheng but instead current Japanese champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], with the bout being dependent on Tanaka successfully defending his title on June 13th against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也].
The bout would be expected to take place in Tokyo, and according to sources Tanaka has stated he's scouted Wanheng and has seen flaws he feels he can take advantage of.
If a deal is going to be made it's likely to be made later this month, with Konkco being offered a sizable step aside payment, and could be Watanabe's way of clearing an opening for their young super stud Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡銀次朗] to get a shot at the Japanese national title.
Last week we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] score his 11th defense, as he took a technical decision win over former WBO king Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) [福原 辰弥].
That bout was supposed to be Wanheng's final defense before making a mandatory defense against South African challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), though Thai sources are now reporting that a deal may be in the works for the mandatory defense to be pushed back.
The sources, including SiamSport, have reported that a member of the Watanabe Gym was at ringside for the Menayothin Vs Fukuhara bout last week, and looking at getting Wanheng to fight in Japan in October in a voluntary defense, pushing back the mandatory. It also appears that Konkco's team are likely to allow the bout, for a step aside fee.
Whilst Wanehng fighting outside of Thailand would be big, it does leave to two different lines of thought. Firstly who would he be fighting? And secondly haven't we heard this before?
The Watanabe gym does have a number of Minimumweights, including world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆], former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (23-11-3, 6) [小野 心] and fast rising youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡銀次朗], none of whom would be suitable for an October bout with Wanheng. In theory the gym could be looking to work on behalf of another promoter, and perhaps looking to secure a shot for someone like Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] or Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], but it would be a rather strange plan from the gym.
What needs to be remembered is that Wanheng was repeatedly linked to a fight in Japan last year, and nothing ever came of it. This could be the same as that, where plans don't come to fruition, or it could be a sign that Watanabe gym have some huge plans between now and October, and we may hear more about the in the coming weeks.
It should also be noted that Watanabe gym's Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人], the current WBA "super" Light Flyweight champion, will be defending his title against unbeaten Thai fighter Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5), aka Tanawat Nakoon, on June 19th and we may hear more about these plans around there.
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