In the space of 17 months Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) went from a man set to make his debut to a man who was able to call himself a world champion. The youngster from Nagoya has been one of the sports fastest risers and, in just his 5th professional bout, set a Japanese speed record for the fewest fights to claim a world title.
Whilst Tanaka's rise to the top has been meteoric in terms of speed he has, unfortunately, been inactive since winning the WBO Minimumweight title way back in May. Not only has he been inactive but he has also seen a proposed unification bout with countryman, and IBF champion, Katsunari Takayama be put on the back burner until 2016.
Despite the recent inactivity we will see Tanaka again before the year is out as he makes the first defense of his title on December 31st at the Aichi Prefectural gymnasium to take on Filipino puncher Vic Saludar (11-1, 9), who will be making his first world title challenge.
Ahead of the bout with Saludar fans were able to see Tanaka prepare courtesy of an open training session held earlier today.
The session saw the talented youngster spar a number of rounds with a world ranked Filipino fighter whilst also off his speed and combinations in what was a very impressive spar. Following the spar the Japanese youngster talked about the upcoming bout, and his inactivity, saying he used the time to work on his power and strength, with his power often being seen as one of his weakest areas. He did also state that he had around 7KG's, a little under 15.5lbs, left to lose before the weigh in. Given that amount of weight it seems clear that Tanaka's days as a Minimumweight are numbered, and a move to Light Flyweight is looking likely for the very near future.
Coming in to the bout Tanaka has admitted he will be seeking a KO against Saludar, possibly leading to a very fun fight where Tanaka sits on his shots a bit more than usual.
(Image courtesy of http://www.nikkansports.comhttp://www.nikkansports.com)
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