Last week Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6) recorded his second defense of the WBA International Flyweight title, stopping Satoshi Tanaka. As we write this the awkward Chinese fighter is ranked highly by both the WBA and WBO and has scored several notable wins whilst extending a winning run to 8 straight victories. His competition might not be the top names in the Flyweight division but wins over OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel and the very promising Ryota Yamauchi, do show he has real momentum behind him. With that in mind he makes a perfect candidate for our latest "Five For...".
1-Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8)
The Chinese fighter is clearly someone who will be looking to get a world title fight sooner, rather than later, and with a number of recent wins over Japanese fighters it makes sense for him to chase a Japanese world champion Kosei Tanaka. For Wulan the bout would be a massive step up in class, but it would give the 26 year old, yes we were surprised Wulan was so young as well, a chance to make his mark before he ends up picking up a loss. Tanaka didn't look great last time but would be expected to beat Tuolehazi, whilst Tuolehazi really couldn't have much more momentum coming it. This makes sense, and should see Wulan's team striking whilst the iron is hot!
2-Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20)
As well as Japanese fighters we've seen Wulan have success against Filipino fighters, and Giemel Magramo is arguably the best Filipino fighting at 112lbs. And Magramo has history with China, stopping Wenfeng Ge earlier this year. Both of these men are looking to get a world title bout and this would work as a fantastic eliminator between two men who are heading onwards and upwards. Technically it would be hard to favour Wulan, but we've said that in the past only to see him shock us and pick up the win against fighters we fancied beating him. Magramo would be the toughest test so far for Wulan, but Wulan would also be one of the biggest tests for Magramo so far. A fantastic match up.
3-Ronnie Baldonado (15-2-1, 9)
Another Filipino option for Wulan would be 23 year old Ronnie Baldonado, who is hovering in the world rankings. Baldonado has fought in China twice before, stopping the once touted Iwan Zoda in Beijing and stopping Yi Ming Ma, both in 2017 and has also shared the ring with Kosei Tanaka, giving Baldonado a direct comparison to the WBO champion in terms of result. Baldonado is, so far at least, not a proven world class combatant, but is a very tough and rugged guy who should expected Wulan well in a fairly competitive bout. This would be a good warm up before a potential world title eliminator, if Wulan's team feel he needs another bout at that type of level.
4-Mirco Martin (14-0-1, 6)
It may take real money to get Germany's Mirco Martin out of his based in Europe but that money may be worth it to get a win over the #2 WBO ranked fighter. Sadly fighting in Germany is a no-no against Martin who has quickly gained a reputation for getting some awfully suspect scorecards in his favour. The very limited 27 year old has received a "bit of luck" against Robert Onggocan, Atsushi Kakutani and Ernesto Irias, and it seems clear that whilst he's fighting at home he'll be protected by officials. On the other hand even the German officials will get fed up with him eventually. If Wulan's team couldn't get Mirco out of his homeland we wouldn't expect this bout, but if they can make him travel then this would be a relatively easy win for the Chinese contender.
5-Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16)
Sometimes the best way to prepare for a world title fight is to face someone in a similar situation and if Wulan's team could get a match with 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda that would certainly be a great idea. Kuroda looked brave in defeat earlier this year against Moruti Mthalane and although he came up very short against the South African he proved he could still go at world level. Wulan would have the edge in youth but Kuroda's experience could be the difference if the Chinese fighter isn't smart. Although suspect Wulan's team to be able to get home advantage there would also be the possibility of getting this on a neutral venue due to the Nitta gym's relationship in places like Vietnam. We feel this is a really interesting bout, and one we'd love to see.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).