From what we understand Mr Hatanaka hasn't revealed the name of which champion he is in talks with though we have long heard that Tanaka has been aiming for the WBC title, a title currently held by Wanheng Menayothin (36-0, 12). We've been told that Menayothin will have a “stay busy defence” against unbeaten Filipino fighter Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5) in February and if he gets through the it seems likely that the Thai will be in the opposite corner to Tanaka in April.
We suspect that if Wanheng isn't available, following his fight with Galero, Mr Hatanaka will have a back up plan arranged and that could actually be an even more interesting fight with WBO and IBF unified champion Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) who recently became the first Japanese fighter to claim a career grandslam of titles. If Takayama fights Tanaka it maybe that Tanaka becomes the quickest fighter, in history, to be a unified world champion.
For Tanaka it's a case of waiting for details to be ironed out though so far his career hasn't really done “waiting”. On his debut Tanaka defeated a world ranked foe, Indonesian fighter Oscar Raknafa, with a 6 round decision and made it clear he wanted to be moved fast. A fight later he again defeated a world ranked foe, Ronelle Ferreras, with an 8 round decision. A fighter later he was moved in to 10 rounders, though needed just 115 seconds to blow away Crison Omayao. Most recently he set a Japanese record for the fewest fights needed to become an OPBF champion as he defeated compatriot Ryuji Hara for the OPBF Minimumweight title.
Whilst some may ask how a 4-0 fighter can be ready for a world title fight, especially one who is only 19, it does seem like Tanaka was born ready and there is little doubting that this kid is a special talent. In terms of ability he is similar to Naoya Inoue but less destructive and we suspect his 2015 will be just as impactful as Inoue's 2014 was.