Earlier today the Watanabe Gym held a press conference to finally announce their New Year's Eve show, and despite the somewhat late nature of the announce it seems that the Tokyo based gym have exceeded expectations.
The promotional stable announced that their show for December 31st would be a double header. One of those has long been known about, and will be a mandatory defense of the IBF Minimumweight title by youngter Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0, 6) [京口 紘人], who makes his first defense as he takes on Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago (30-2-1-1, 17).
This bout has been known about prety much since Kyoguchi won the the title, and is a genuinely brilliant match up that should see both men bring their A-game and fans get a really exciting action battle between two top fighters.
Whilst Kyoguchi Vs Buitrago is a great bout, it's likelyto actually be over-shadowed by the other bout announced today. That will see WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] unify against IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-2, 13) in what will be a very rare unification bout at 108lbs. Both of these fighters are fantastic fighters, with styles that can be very exciting with the right opponents, and both always seem to bring their best when they face better opponents.
For Melindo the bout will serve as his second, defending the title he won from popular Japanese warrior Akira Yaegashi,whilst Taguchi looks to continue his reign and record his 7th defense, It's also worth noting that Taguchi had been in previous talks to face WBO champion Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6) [田中恒成], with that bout now expected to take place in 2018, due to injuries suffered by Tanaka last time out.
The announcement this morning not only announced the two bouts but also confirmed a previous story. The card will be aired on TBS, and not TV Tokyo, with the Watanabe/TV Tokyo deal looking like it is now over, and whilst it gives Kyoguchi and Taguchi a much bigger platform going forward it is a shame that TV Tokyo seems to have pulled out of boxing, and that we'll only be getting one December 31st card going forward.
(Image courtesy of http://www.sponichi.co.jp)
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