Over the past day or two we've seen a lot talk about the next defence of WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 15) although nothing has been set in stone we've seen some interesting options seemingly laid up on the table.
Firstly a defence against Mexico's Julio Ceja (26-1, 24) seemed to have attracted some attention. Ceja, ranked #4 by the WBC right now, directly behind recent challenger Stephane Jamoye, is a big punching fighter who fights this Saturday against Ranel Suco (15-7-2, 6) of the Philippines. The idea seems to be that Ceja is fighting in what is effectively a stay busy fight before making a serious challenge towards Yamanaka.
Another option, and one Yamanaka himself has publicly hinted at, is for him to fight in a unification contest. On paper this is the most interesting option but it's also the least likely, at least at the moment, with all the champions seemingly having their own plans for the short term future.
A third option, and arguably the most likely, is that Yamanaka will be fighting outside of Japan. At the moment this option would see him likely fighting in Singapore in September sharing a show with fellow Japanese fighter Ryota Murata (3-0, 3). This would likely be used as another "test run" to see what it's like training outside of Japan and fighting outside of his homeland, something he hasn't done as a professional. We know Yamanaka wants to fight in Las Vegas and venturing out of Japan for a fight would be a good first step towards a fight in the US.
The Singapore option would be a bout promoted by US promoter Top Rank who has shown some interest in having Yamanaka on his shows in the past and would also a nice pay day with a casino in Singapore likely to pick up the tab for the fight.
Whatever the option that Yamanaka takes we don't expect to see him back in the ring until August or September, giving him plenty of time to prepare for whatever the future brings and plenty of time to spend with his family.
(Image courtesy of http://shinsukeyamanaka.main.jp)
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