For a while the big question hasn't been “will Tanaka fight for a title in fight #5?” but instead “who will Tanaka fight for a title in fight #5?”
It now seems like we know who that will be.
One of our Japanese sources has informed us that Tanaka's team, headed by former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, is in talks for Tanaka to fight WBO #1 ranked fighter Julian Yedras (23-1, 13) for the WBO world title in May.
The story we've been told is that WBO world champion Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11) will vacate the belt in the coming weeks. This will lead to a vacant title which will see Tanaka, the WBO #2, face Yedras for the belt.
According to the same source Takayama will vacate the WBO title so that he can defend his IBF title in April. He'll be vacating so as to avoid issues with mandatories ahead of a possible unification bout with WBA champion Hekkie Budler in Summer.
The source indicates that Takayama's bout is likely to be with a Thai opponent with Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (27-3-1, 15) and Pigmy Kokietgym (55-7-2, 22) both being floated as possibilities. Both of these Thai's are world ranked by the IBF though both would be viewed as serious under-dogs against Takayama.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)