Earlier today young fighter Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) was was the recipient of an "Excellence" award from the local boxing subcommittee in Chita, Aichi. The fighter, who posed proudly with his award, is of course one of the fastest rising and most promising prospects in world boxing and he, once again, stated that his next goal is a world title fight in either March or April. If Tanaka can succeed in his goal and win a world title in his 5th bout he would set a Japanese national record, beating the 6 fight record of the sensation Naoya Inoue.
Tanaka's manager, Kiyoshi Hatanaka, also stated his intentions were to allow Tanaka to follow that goal. Mr Hatanaka said he will support Tanaka in making a world title bout with that being his firm commitment and that Tanaka had the full support of all the staff at the Hatanaka gym.
Again none of that was really news though it does seem clear that the team are well in talks to secure a world title bout and we suspect it will be formally in early February, dependent on the upcoming WBC title fight between Wanheng Menayothin (36-0, 12) and Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5) which is set for February 5th. If the winner of that WBC bout is unable to fight Tanaka then the suggestion is the Japanese youngster will get a shot at the WBO title which may be vacated by Katsunari Takayama (28-7-0-1, 11).
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
Former world title challenger Ardin Diale (26-9-3, 13) will be viewed as a massive favourite for his fight on Saturday however he will have a notable disadvantage, 6lbs of weight. Diale, who scaled 115lbs on Friday at his weigh in, saw upcoming rival Rommy Wassar (11-17-7, 5), of Indonesia, hit the scales at 121lbs, the weight of a fully fledged Super Bantamweight, not a Super Flyweight, as he was contracted to.
Despite Wassar missing weight the fight will go on as planned with Wassar being forced to wear 10oz gloves as punishment for being over the contracted limited.
On paper this is a stay busy fight for the talented Diale, who is ranked #2 by the OPBF at Flyweight, however the weight difference could give Diale some problems hurting Wassar, which could actually help Diale get some good rounds against a man who has been stopped 4 times in his last 8 bouts.
We'll be honest we're unsure who's really blame for this one. Wassar is obviously a guilty party having agreed to the limit of 115lbs however the match makers need to take some responsibility given that Wassar has been fighting significantly higher than Super Flyweight in recent bouts, including stoppage losses to Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat, Tiger Tor Buamas and Ryosuke Iwasa. One needs to wonder if they full appreciated that Wassar wasn't a Super Flyweight.
The talented Diale is fighting for the 4th time since his amazing war with Koki Eto from last year. Impressively he has stopped his last 3 opponents in a combined 16 rounds and will be hoping another win here will move him back towards an OPBF title fight. Interestingly Diale is ranked #2 behind Takuma Inoue and with talk of Eto vacating we may end up seeing Diale fight Inoue for the vacant title later this year.
We've known for a while that Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) would be defending his WBO Light Flyweight title at the Mall of Asia Arena on March 28th. Sadly at the time we had no idea who his opponent would be with hints it could be an all-Asian affair against a Japanese or Thai foe.
Today we now know who Nietes will be fighting after several to Spanish sources, including ESPN Desportes, reported on Nietes upcoming foe, naming him as as big punching Mexican Luis Ceja (26-5-3, 21), the older brother of promising Bantamweight contender Julio Ceja who is said to be eyeing up a fighter with Shinsuke Yamanaka.
Ceja, dubbed "Gallo", is a 24 year old who has proven to be a big puncher though has shown some signs of limited ability having lost 4 of his last 8. That's sounds bad however losses have come to some very capable fighters including the excellent Ganigan Lopez and the testing Saul Juarez, who Filipino fans may remember fought Milan Melindo last year.
At the time of writing Ceja is ranked #12 by the WBO and although he is without a huge win he does hold some pretty notable victories including stoppages against Ronald Ramos, Ulises Lara, and Alejandro Morales, all capable fringe contenders. It's that power which will give him half a chance against Nietes who will need to make sure he isn't over-looking Ceja just in case he does get cracked by a bomb. We already know that if Nietes wins his follow up opponent, expected in the summer, would be a highly anticipated clash with another Mexican, Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11), that is if Rodriguez comes through his bout on Saturday against Jomar Fajardo (14-5-2, 7), unscathed.
We want to send a huge thanks to JuliusJulianis for bringing this to our attention.
(Image, of Nietes, courtesy of boxrec.com)
Sadly news from Thailand can come at short notice and this can, occasionally, make us look a bit silly. Thankfully we've managed to catch a late story tonight regarding a card which will take place tomorrow, January 31st, in Thailand and feature several noteworthy names.
In the main event we will see Samartlek Kokietgym (17-5, 5), best known for his loss last September to Naoya Inoue, battle against a Filipino foe. According to the brilliant Ian Melodillar we've been told that Samartlek's opponent will be the unbeaten Richie Behec (2-0-1, 1) who is surprisingly 2-0 against Thai's in Thailand.
Samartlek isn't the only recognisable fighter on this card and, if you look across at the picture, you may also recognise former multi-time world title challenger Sod Kokietgym (63-3-1, 28) who is fighting for the first time since his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in Macau last July. He will be battling against an opponent from France according to our source.
Sadly we're unsure who the other 2 fights involve through the 4 bout card will be aired on Thai digital TV channel 17 and takes a 2 hour slot between 16:00 and 18:00 local time.
(Image courtesy of our great friends over at http://www.thairec.com)
[Updated to include Behec's]
Late yesterday the WBO publicly shared a letter they set to both ALA Promotions and Promociones Zanfer in regards to a WBO Light Flyweight mandatory world title bout between current champion Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) and mandatory challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2-1, 11).
According to the letter, dated January 29th 2015, the two teams have 30 days to negotiate an agreement to fight otherwise purse bids will be ordered in the following 10 days. In theory that would mean purse bid would be called in the second week of March if the teams can not agree a deal.
As per the rules of the WBO the minimum bid for a Light Flyweight world title bout is $80,000, a fee both teams would likely be happy to exceed to get home advantage for the bout.
We suspect, given the time frame, the WBO are expecting this fight to be set no later than summer. That gives both men time to fight an interim fighter beforehand. For Rodriguez we know his next bout is this coming weekend when he battles against another Filipino, Jomar Fajardo (14-5-2, 7). This is a very promising rematch following a brilliant battle between the two men last year in what was supposed to be a warm up for a Nietes Vs Rodriguez bout.
As for Nietes no opponent for his next fight has been named however we do know he will be in action on March 28th at the Mall of Asia Arena on a card shared with Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21). That will be a voluntary defense of his title and we suspect it will come against a relatively limited foe as every gears up for the Rodriguez bout.
(Image courtesy of http://www.wboboxing.com)
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