A few days ago we reported the rumour that for whatever reason Dias was out of a possible Ao bout and instead the Japanese fighter would be facing Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17). It appears that rumour has suddenly become more than just a rumour after Diaz suffered an injury to his shoulder that could keep him out of the ring for up to 6 months. Effectively this has left Beltran filling in for Diaz.
At the moment the full details of he bout are still not out in the open but it does seem likely that the WBO will have their title on the line for the bout. If they do this will give Beltran a 3rd shot at the title in less than 2 years, having previously drawn with Ricky Burn and being clearly beaten by Terence Crawford, who recently vacated the title.
From what we understand the winner would then have to defend the belt against unbeaten British fighter Terry Flanagan later in the year, though we'd not be shocked to see Diaz getting a shot at the winner of Ao/Beltran.
If the title is on the line it would give Ao a chance to become the second Japanese born fighter to become a 3-weight world champion* following in the footsteps of Koki Kameda and the third active Teiken fighter to become a 3-weight world champion, following Roman Gonzalez and Jorge Linares.
*By the time of the fight Kazuto Ioka may have actually become the second 3-weight Japanese world champion depending on the outcome of his April 22nd bout with Juan Carlos Reveco.
Rumour-Takahiro Ao to fight Raymundo Beltran?
Takahiro Ao Vs Juan Diaz on May 1st?