The 2 fights that Yamanaka appears to want for next year are both contests that should have the world of boxing salivating with excitement.
One of them is at Bantamweight with Yamanaka saying that he wants to be the #1 fighter at Bantamweight. Whilst some do view Yamanaka as the top dog at Bantamweight he does have a credible challenger in Panamanian Anselmo Moreno. Moreno, the WBA "super" champion, is a man known to Japanese fans due to Koki Kameda's clear duck of him. Koki, rather than fight Moreno, vacated the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title and decided to drop to Super Flyweight with everyone knowing why he made the move. For Yamanaka however the challenge of Moreno seems to be something he would love.
Although we'd love to see Iwasa/Yamanaka II we've got to admit that Moreno/Yamanaka is a bigger fight, potentially the biggest in the Bantamweight division right now. It'd be a WBA/WBC unification bout and it'd leave us with a clear #1 something that believe we should wish for in every division.
Whilst the Moreno bout looks like the logical one for the sake of the Bantamweight division it's not the only fight Yamanaka has said he'd like and in terms of money it's the less significant of the 2 bouts.
The other bout Yamanaka has said that he'd like is one that would see him traveling to the US to face highly rated Mexico Leo Santa Cruz. This bout would see Yamanaka not only needing to travel but also move up a weight as he'd likely be challenging for Santa Cruz's WBC Super Bantamweight title however in terms of money this is the bout that makes sense.
Santa Cruz has looked, at times, like one of the most exciting young fighters on the planet. At other times though he has looked limited and predictable, as he did recently against Cesar Seda. Seda, like Yamanaka, is a south paw and the stance did seem to give Santa Cruz some difficulties. Sure the styles between Yamanaka and Seda are different but from the struggles the Mexican had with Seda there is no doubt that Yamanaka could well shock Cruz and the US boxing scene.
Interestingly when it comes to Yamanaka and Santa Cruz the men do have a shared opponent, Alberto Guevara. Santa Cruz took a clear decision over Guevara though did struggle early on with Guevara's movement, Yamanaka however broke down Guevara and eventually stopped him, again after struggling early. This could perhaps help Yamanaka mentally if the fight is made.
We, like every fan out there, would love these bouts to be made, though if they aren't we wouldn't be disappointed if Yamanaka faced Iwasa, Tomoki Kameda, Liborio Solis, Hugo Ruiz, Pungluang Sor Singyu or Felipe Orucuta. So stacked is the Bantamweight division that Yamanaka does have a number of options if the biggest fights out there cannot be made.