That title was vacated earlier this year by former champion Katsunari Takayama (29-7-0-1, 11) who chose to vacate the WBO title and keep his IBF strap under the knowledge that the mandatory defenses of the belts may have ended up clashing.
Today Takayama, who will be ringside covering the fight for CBC, was asked whether or not he would be wanting to face Tanaka if the youngster was to win this coming weekend. The veteran was quick to answer with a clear and definitive yes.
If Tanaka and Takayama can get a fight arranged it would be Takayama's 3rd unification bout, between IBF an WBO titles, in around a year following last Augusts's bout with Francisco Rodriguez Jr and last Decembers's bout with Go Odaira. Interestingly for Tanaka it could make him the quickest unified champion in boxing history.
Whilst the bout between the two isn't set in stone, even if Tanaka wins on Saturday, it's a really good looking bout and one that both fighters seem to want and when fighters want a bout they usually get it made.
Kosei Tanaka chases records but will Julian Yedras be a pushover or a real obstacle? (Preview)