The likable veteran was in his second reign as champion, and had recorded 2 defenses in his current reign, but has chosen to hand the title back to chase either the OPBF title or the WBO Asia Pacific title and raise his world as he looks to move towards a potential world title fight.
Masuda is curently on a 5 fight winning streak, a streak that began following his blow out loss to Shohei Omori in 2015. That winning run has seen Masuda defeat the likes of Hideo Sakamoto, Yushi Tanaka and Yu Kawaguchi. Whilst none of those fighters are names outside of Japan it seems that Masuda is looking to extend his profile and will be looking to beat some top talent from Thailand or the Philippines whilst claiming his next title.
The vacancy for the Japanese title will be filled later this year as part of the Champion Carnival and will see two top ranking Japanese domestic fighters face off for the belt. The announcement on who that will be is yet to be made, though will be expected in the coming weeks.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)