Earlier today Japanese promoter Hideyuki Ohashi announced that IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (24-5, 12) [八重樫 東] would be back in the ring on December 30th to face former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (33-5, 11)* [สามารถเล็ก ปูนอินทรียิม], in what will be Yaegashi's second defense of the title.
Originally the plan had been for Yaegashi to face the winner of last weekend's IBF "interim" title fight between Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (29-5-1, 15) [ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์]. Whilst Melindo did win that bout, claiming a very hard fought and competitive decision win over the Thai, he did suffer some facial damage that will take a while to heal and was unable to make the December 30th date.
Instead of face Melindo we'll instead see Yaegashi face Samartlek in December, as part of the FES show that Ohashi are putting on in association with Fuji TV. The winner of Yaegashi Vs Samartlek will then be mandated to face Melindo in 2017 as a mandatory defense of the title.
For those who have forgotten Samartlek is best known for surviving 11 rounds with Yaegashi's stablemate Naoya Inoue in a WBC Light Flyweight title bout back in 11 rounds. Since that loss Samartlek has won more than 10 bouts in a row, though those wins have all been against low level competition in Thailand. As for Yaegashi this will be his second defense of the IBF title following his win, earlier this year, over Martin Tecuapetla. That win resulted in an injury for Yaegashi who has been inactive since May.
*record taken from Japanese sources.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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