One of our Japanese sources has recently reported that IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama is interested in a unification bout. We're sure that isn't news to anyone having all heard the rumours that Takayama wanted to fight WBC champion Xiong Zhao Zhong, though it appears that Takayama is more than happy to turn his attention to other champions.
With the announcement that Zhong would be defending his title against Mexican Osvaldo Novoa it appears that the "Lightning Kid" is happy to turn his attention to WBO champion Merlito Sabillo in an attempt to claim a WBO title and become the first Japanese fighter to have claimed some variation on all 4 major world titles.
Having previously held the WBC and WBA interim titles Takayama will know that a WBO belt will allow him to collect the set, something very few fighters have ever accomplished. It would seem likely that if he can complete the set he'll be making a move up to Light Flyweight in an attempt to become a 2-weight world champion.
The unbeaten Sabillo however is no push over and may well have issues his end. Whilst he was a relative unknown, even in his homeland, just a year ago he has since become a bit of a local hero and his fight with Carlos Buitrago earlier this year was a real thriller. We may see Sabillo forced to rematch Buitrago before a possible unification bout can be made, which would be a shame for Takayama though an enjoyable experience for fans. We may also see the fighters unable to come to an agreement on venue with Takayama having unpleasant memories of his last jaunt to the Philippines, where he was controversially defeated by Mateo Handig in 2012, and Sabillo unlikely to leave the Philippines to fight in an opponents backyard. Though of course boht Macau or Singapore are neutral possibilities for this prospective bout.
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