A recent poster on the official blog of Hideyuki Ohashi, the chairman of Ohashi Gym, may have made a subtle hint that the unbeaten Ryuji Hara (17-0, 10) is just 1 win away from a world title fight.
The blog entry makes a passing reference to Hara's upcoming fight, a contest against Indonesian Faris Nenggo (8-4-3, 2) on June 23rd, and describes it as a "world title prelude" a term often used to describe a warm up bout for a world title contest.
Hara, who has claimed the Japanese and OPBF Minimumweight titles so far in his career, is currently ranked in the top 10 by all 4 title bodies at 105lbs. This certainly makes him a credible challenger to any of the 4 champions in the Minimumweight division, though admittedly none of the current champions are what we would describe as an easy target. Then again when did Ohashi fighters ever do things the easy way?
Although this speculation there is a real possibility that Hara could be challenger for a world title later this year. We would suspect that September, the proposed month for the next big Ohashi show, would be too soon for Hara though an October, November or December date would all be possible if Ohashi could make a deal with one of the champions.
At the moment we wouldn't expect Hara to be matched with IBF champion Katsunari Takayama (27-6-0-1, 10), who we believe has his own plans for the end of the year with WBO champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (14-2, 10) as long as Rodriguez is success in his upcoming defence. What seems more likely is that Hara would be matched with either WBA champion Hekkie Budler (25-1, 8) or WBC champion Oswaldo Novoa (13-4-1, 8), both of whom would be very tough opponents for Hara.
We'd expect more details to come to light after Hara's bout with Nenggo but there is a real possibility that the 23 year old could be taking the big step up very soon.
(Image courtesy of the official blog of Hideyuki Ohashi)
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