The champion, who isn't scheduled for a ring return as of yet, will leave for Okinawa on January 10th and will be looking to prepare for to close in on the Japanese record of world title defense. The current record, of 13 defenses set by Yoko Gushiken, seems to be his target for this year but he admits that he is taking each bout on it's own merits.
Yamanaka was the biggest name in Japanese boxing not to be involved in the end of year action in the ring, though he did work for TV over both the 30th and 31st of December and continued to build his profile whilst heading towards his next defense.
At the moment there doesn't seem to be a clear challenger for his next defense but the fighter did seem to suggest that he wanted big names this year and it would seem like either unification bouts or fights against top opponents are due. Hopefully, after the training camp in Okinawa we will hear more about Yamanaka's next bout, which is likely to be in March or April.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)