Kohei Kono resumes full time training, eyes next defense in May with Naoya Inoue or Koki Kameda most likely options
Early today we saw WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13) return to fully fledged gym work with an open training session ahead of his second world title defence which is being penciled in for May. The Japanese fighter, who kept his belt via a draw against Norberto Jimenez on New Years Eve, appeared in great spirits though didn't quite seem to know where his future lay, though it does appear a big fight will be next.
There, of course, the ongoing saga with mandatory challenger Koki Kameda (33-1, 18) which sits as a possible stumbling block for any other fight Kono may want. The bout was supposed to take place last year though issues between Kameda and the JBC, who have effectively banned Kameda, have prevented that bout from being made.
Whilst the Kameda bout would be a big money bout for Kono it does seem increasingly unlikely to happen. What is beginning to look more likely however is that Kono may face WBO world champion, and rising superstar, Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7). That would, again, be a big money bout for Kono and be a very high profile contest for 34 year old "Toughboy" from Tokyo. The bout with Inoue wouldn't just be a unification but would also allow the JBC to wash their hands of the Kameda situation, as the winner would become the "WBA Super Champion", and it would allow Kono to avenge Inoue's win over Kono's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi whilst going Inoue a chance to unify titles in record number of fights. A lot on the line to say the least.
At the moment neither bout looks even close to being a done deal, and of course there was talk about Kono fighting a rematch with Jimenez, however we can't help but think they are the stand out options and that a clash with Inoue is the most likely of them.
(Image courtesy of http://www.watanabegym.com)
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