On New Year's Eve we saw WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) [田口良一] narrowly retain his title with a split decision draw against the unbeaten Carlos Canizales (16-0-1, 13). The performance wasn't one of Taguchi's best and Canizales performed out of his skin, and came close to an Upset of the Year contender.
Today Taguchi took part in a press conference to talk about the contest and his future.
The fighter admitted that the bout with Canizales was tougher than expected though he seemed to feel the experience was a good thing and that he will be takign positive from the fight, even if the performance it's self was great.
The attention is now turning towards unification and Taguchi echoed comments made by the newly crowned WBO champion, Kosei Tanaka (8-0, 5) [田中恒成] , in that he wants all Japan unification bouts. That would mean a bout with either Tanaka or IBF champion Akira Yaegashi (25-5, 13) [八重樫 東]. He was however less committed to a unification than Tanaka who seems to be actively chasing such a bout, whilst Taguchi is more "open" to them. The openess was seemingly echoed by gym chairman Hitoshi Watanabe who seemed to suggest that TV issues and and mandatory title fights may delay any possible unification contest.
As the only male world champion at the Watanabe gym Taguchi is now standing as the key pillar of the gym and it seems to be a role that he's taking very seriously whilst the gym cultivates it's next generation of fighters, like Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4) [谷口将隆] and Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) [京口紘人]. Whilst the gym is in a relative low point there is enough potential there to be genuinely excited and the gym can still attract notable fighters to transfer there,especially given their TV link with TV Tokyo and their relationship with other promoters. They will however hope that Taguchi's world title reign continues beyond 2017 whilst the youngsters continue to develop and prepare for major bouts in 2018.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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