The story won't come as a great shock to fans with the bout having been rumoured for several weeks now but the fact it now appears to be a done deal is a good thing with both men being able to focus on the bout at hand.
From what we understand Tanaka's manager, former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, had been in talks with both Yedras, the WBO #1 ranked contender, and Thailand's unbeaten WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (37-0, 12). Sadly a fight with Menayothin failed to materialise in the way Hatanaka wanted to plan B was brought into effect.
When the talks first began between Tanaka and his two possible foes the title was held vacated by Katsunari Takayama. It was however known by those inside Japanese boxing circles that Takayama was likely to vacate leaving the door open for Tanaka to have this bout negotiated, especially considering that he is the WBO's #2 ranked contender. Soon after the talks began to get serious Takayama was being penciled in to defend his IBF title against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr and then quickly announced that he was going to vacate the WBO title rather than have 2 sets of mandatories later in the year.
A win for Tanaka would see him becoming the quickest Japanese would champion in history, winning the belt in just his 5th bout. That's a fight quicker than young star Naoya Inoue, who defeated Adrian Hernandez for the WBC Light Flyweight title in his 6th professional contest. It would also put him 4th on the all time list, behind the likes of Saensak Muangsurin and Vasyl Lomachenko (both 3 fights) and Veeraphol Sahaprom (4 fights), a remarkable achievement for a 19 year old.
For those who haven't see much of Kosei we suggest watching his OPBF title win over Ryuji Hara from last year. It was a win that saw him becoming he fastest Japanese fighter to an OPBF title, in just his 4th bout, and showing all the signs of being a fighter well beyond his years.
Although this might seem incredibly early for Tanaka it has always been the plan to race him to a title. With that in mind it's stall amazing that his combined opponents record has been 59-17-4, including the then 18-0 Hara.
Kosei Tanaka Vs Julian Yedras for the WBO Minimumweight title?
Kosei Tanaka wins local award, restates intention to fight for a title in his next fight
Katsunari Takayama vacates WBO title, will defend IBF belt on April 22nd as part of Ioka card!
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)