Tanaka stated that originally he had planned to face Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] in a WBO/WBA unification bout, a bout that both men had put work into building hype for. However the injuries that he suffered in September's win over Palangpol CP Freshmart [คู่เอก พลังพล ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] forced that bout to be put on the back burner. Despite the injuries Tanaka had been determined to remain at 108lbs, at least until he fought Taguchi.
Plans changed recently when Tanaka accepted that there would be problems with getting a unification bout. Firstly the WBO had looked ready to create an interim champion, which would cause an hiatus for the unfiication bout with Taguchi, and secondly the fighter was genuinely struggling to squeeze his body down to 108lbs. Rather than drain his body he decided it was time to fill his frame out and move up to Flyweight.
Tanaka revealed that he has travelled to Tokyo to apologise to Taguchi for the fight falling through and that he now plans to return as a fully fledged Flyweight in March or April, with a bout in Nagoya being pencilled in.
There is no set opponent for Tanaka's ring return but he's looking to get himself into a mandatory position with the WBO, and is likely to try and secure a world title eliminator as he hunts a third divisional world title. Given that Tanaka would have to fight a top WBO ranked fighter it opens the door to Tanaka having bouts with the likes of Brian Viloria, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Zou Shiming, Masayuki Kuroda or Froilan Saludar.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)