Earlier this week saw Japanese sources report that Yuki Nonaka (31-8-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] had vacated the Japanese Light Middleweight title, with the veteran announcing he was doing so with the intent of pursuing a world title fight.
Ranked by both the WBO and the IBF few can blame the 39 year old Osakan for vacating in pursuit for a big money match up, and there is a genuine chance he could either fight for one of those title later this year, or at the very least get an eliminator for one of those titles.
Originally Nonaka was ordered to defend the title against fellow veteran Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-2, 13) [斉藤 幸伸丸] as part of the 2017 Champion Carnival. Despite Nonaka vacating the belt Saito won't be missing out on a title fight. Instead of facing Nonaka he will instead be facing the unbeaten, and fast rising, Takeshi Inoue (8-0-1, 3) [井上 岳志], with that bout now set to take place on April 25th, at Dangan 180.
The Saito Vs Inoue bout is the only bout currently announced for the card, but will clearly be an interesting match up. For Saito it will be a 7th title bout, having gone 0-5-1 in his previous 6, whilst Inoue will be fighting in his first bout at title level. Although Saito is yet to win at title level he did push Takayuki Hosokawa to a draw last year in an OPBF title fight, whilst Saito's biggest bout to date saw him beating Akinori Watanabe earlier this year.
The winner may not be an instant big name, but for Saito a win would be the crowning glory of his long career whilst Inoue would announce himself as one to watch at 154lbs.
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