Earlier this month we saw Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6) [田中恒成] score his second defense of the WBO Light Flyweight title, as he scored a 9th round win over Thai challenger Palangpol CP Freshmart (14-2, 8) [คู่เอก พลังพล ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] in one of the most dramatic fights of 2017.
Sadly for Tanaka the win has come at a great cost and earlier today he held a press conference, alongside promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, explaining just how badly damaged he was by that bout.
Following the bout Tanaka has recieved a number of tests and scans. And at today's press conference it was revealed he had suffered Orbital Floor Fractures, also known as "blow outs", with both eyes. That's worse than expected with original fears being only the left had suffered such a fracture.
As a result of those fractures he will be out of the gym for at least 2 months.
Of course it wasn't only the fractures that he suffered. He also suffereda very nasty cut on his right eye. That cut has seen him given a 3 month ban from sparring.
Given the amount of time he will be out of the gym there was no real surprise when we got the third bit of bad news. The much talked about unification with WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] will not take place in December as anticipated. Tanaka apologised to both the fans and Taguchi, saying he wanted to put on a good fight with Palangpol before facing Taguchi, but the injuries have clearly scuppered that bout, for now.
What we expect to see happen in regards to that bout is for Taguchi to defend his title in December, then Tanaka and Taguchi to face off in 2018, when Tanaka is cleared to fight again.
Although the news is clearly a big problem for the Hatanaka gym Mr Hatanaka himself stated that he wouldn't rush Tanaka back to action, saying that he is a player for the future, and great care must be made to allow him back to 100% fitness before fighting again. As for Tanaka there is still some pain from the damage, but no day-to-day issues and he's wanting to use the injuries as a serious learning experience, likely to be more defensively aware.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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