This week saw the announcement that Tanaka's mandatory challenger would be decided on February 11th, when the huge punching Puerto Rican Angel Acosta (15-0, 15) takes on former amateur standout Japhet Uutoni (12-1, 5), from Namibia.
The unbeaten Puerto Rican fighter has been impressice in recent bouts whilst fighting in his homelans as well as the US, and the Dominican Republic early in his career. Although lacking in terms of big wins he has stopped the likes of Luis Ceja and Juan Guzman, stopping Guzman quicker than Super Bantamweight destroyer Jonathan Guzman could. He is promoted by Miguel Cotta and has been compared to Wilfredo Gomez, and it sounds like WBO president Francisco Varcarcel has been impressed by him.
Uutoni was a former Olympian, competing at Beijing 2008, and debuted as a professional in 2012. His career has been a slow burner, which began at Flyweight but has seen him fighting recently at Light Flyweight. He's claimed both the WBO African Flyweight title and the WBO International Ligth Flyweight title, and looks like a man who is finding his form recently. Aged 37 Uutoni is a relative relic at the lower weights but he is a freakishly big fighter at Light Flyweight, with some sources reporting that he's 5'9".
Earlier today it was reported that Tanaka would be attending the fight between Uutoni and Acosta, with the trip obviously being a chance to scout the two men and get a read on the fighter that will likely be hid mandatoy challenger later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)