Former world title challenger Go Odaira (12-4-3, 1) has officially vacated the Japanese Miniumweight title, stating that he was focussing on moving towards another world title fight.
The news, which was revealed earlier today, sees the speedy Odaira vacating the title that he won in January 2014 and defended 3 times, all by decision.
Although he has been the Japanese champion for well over a year he is, of course, best known for facing Katsunari Takayama last December in a bout for the IBF and WBO Minimumweight titles. In that bout Odaira was holding his own for the first 6 rounds, and was actually leading on one of the scorecards going in to round 7, before being stopped in round 7 by the more battle tested Takayama. That bout saw Odaira come up short though he did show some touches of being class, even if he was eventually over-whelmed.
Given the timing of this move by Odaira it would seem possible that he is being considered for the for the first defense by current WBO Minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2), who may view a bout with Odaira as a chance to one-up Katsunari Takayama ahead of their possible show down. Much in the same way that Takayama will be facing former Tanaka foe Ryuji Hara on September 27th.
At the moment there has been no announcement on Odaira's next bout, though the rumour regarding Tanaka does have some weight behind it, nor who will be filling the vacancy left by Odaira. We do however expect to see Tatsuya Fukuhara (15-4-5, 6) in the bout to fill the void, possibly against the unbeaten Genki Hanai (4-0, 3), who will be in the ring on October 17th against Junya Nishikawa (7-6-2, 2) in what was being sold as a "title prelude".
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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