Ian, who is one of the most reliable source for Filipino news, suggests that bout may be announced in the coming days.
Given how Fuji TV, who will be airing the Murata bout, works closely with Kenshiro the bout does make a lot of sense being on the card, making it a double header and possibly helping Kenshiro get a US audience through the ESPN service, who work with Murata through Top Rank.
Interestingly by fighting his mandatory challenger in July this would get one obstacle out of the way for the highly anticipated, and much talked about, unification bout between Kenshiro and WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人], which is said to be getting eyed for December.
For Taconing this will be a third world title shot, after having lost a controversial decision to Kompayak Porpramook in 2012 and a clear loss to Ganigan Lopez in 2016, with both of those bouts being for the WBC title that Kenshiro now holds. At the age of 32 this could be his final chance.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get a stacked card with several really good match ups. Among those is a brilliant fight between the highly touted Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] and the returning Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], who has been out of the ring following an issue with weight last year.
The bout is set to be an 8 round Featherweight and today the two men took part in their weigh in, with both men making weight for the bout.
On the scales Hiroto came in at 125.25lbs, comfortably under the Featherweight limit. Despite making weight he looked a little bit fleshy, and it was clear that he isn't a natural Featherweight having often fought as a Super Bantamweight.
Maruta came just slightly under the divisional limit, and unlike Hiroto he looked good at the weight, in fact if anything he looked like he was still filling out his frame and it's clear the youngster has the frame to fight at Super Featherweight in the years to come.
It's worth noting that Hiroto sounded more confident than he looked, suggesting that he has worked hard to bounce back from more than a year from the ring. Maruta however looked and sounded confident, stating that "I am confident, of course. I will firmly win tomorrow and want to challenge the main winner." That suggests he will be challenging the winner of the Japanese Featherweight title bout, on the same show, between Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], and that will be an excellent bout when it takes place!
Related - Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp
Tomorrow fight fans will kick off a new era in Japanese history, with the Heisei era ending and the Reiwa era set to begin. This is huge news, and although it's not directly boxing related it is a significantly day for Japan and of course for Japanese fans.
The change in period is due to the emperor stepping down and being replaced by his son.
Despite the huge significance of the day boxing continues, and their will be a huge card at Korakuen Hall.
The headline bout of tomorrows show will be a Japanese Featherweight title bout, as hard hitting champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] takes on mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], in a very highly anticipated match up.
Today those two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the Japanese Featherweight limit on their first attempt.
The champion, who has been out of the ring since August when he stopped Tatsuya Otsubo in his first defense, came in pretty much on the limit of 126lbs whilst Abe was 125.6lbs, making the weight with ease. Both men looked in great condition at the weigh in. Minamoto looked more ripped but Abe looked in good shape himself.
It was originally planned for this bout to take place in January, though had to be delayed due to a really bad ankle injury that Minamoto suffered. The champion slipped in November, whilst doing dashes on some steps, and reportedly broke his ankle, though is now 100% recovered. Abe did fight in January, defeating Daisuke Sugita, and certainly made it clear that he wanted to tick over rather than just sit and wait.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be made available on Boxing Raise. Originally it had been planned to be aired live, though as we write this we have heard that the plan may have changed, though either way it will be added to their video on demand section in the coming days.
Related - Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
(Image courtesy of www.sanspo.com/)
Earlier today the WBO released a letter stating that WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] and 28 year old Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) had 30 days to agree a deal to fight in a mandatory defense, or a purse bid would be called. If the bout did go to purse bids the minimum bid would be $80,000.
The letter, which can be read below, was sent to both teams today.
Despite the 30 day limit it's assumed that the teams are close to agreeing a deal in the coming weeks anyway, with the bout being pencilled in for August in Japan. Although no dates have been stated by anyone it is likely to be around the 11th or 12th, coinciding with a Japanese national holiday thus allowing the best TV figures for the bout.
For Tanaka the bout will serve as his second defense, following his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year, and could help set up the highly anticipated unification bout with WBC champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗]. As for Gonzalez the bout will be his first world title bout, and follows 4 straight wins following his 2016 Joebert Alvarez, including wins over former Naoya Inoue victim Ricardo Rodriguez and Julian Yedras.
Regis Prograis and Nonito Donaire both produced masterclass performances to reach the finals of the World Boxing Super Series where the Ali Trophy awaits the winners.
Prograis, the unbeaten southpaw boxer from New Orleans and super- lightweight bracket No. 1 top seed picked up the first big title, the WBA belt, when he scored a six round stoppage over Kiryl Relikh of Belarus in their WBSS semi-final Saturday at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.
“I told y’all beforehand, I’m the real deal. These boys can’t f*ck with me,” Prograis said after picking up the WBA World title. “I f*cking just dominated the whole time."
Filipino-American Nonito Donaire, the four-division champion and reigning two-time bantamweight titlist also impressed when he scored a one-punch 6th round knockout of American Stephon Young in their bantamweight tournament semi-final; a devastating left hook put Young down and out.
“Stephon is a slick fighter so it was tough to come up with a particular game plan,” said Donaire who originally was going to face South Africa's Zolani Tete, who had to pull out of the fight due to a shoulder injury.
“There was one thing I saw which was the straight, he kept throwing it, so I kept timing the hook, and one way or another I paid for it with scratches on my right eye and hand, but it paid due because I was able to figure out the timing and distance in the fight. I take the damage to earn the victory.”
“It was a matter of time until I figured out that distance, so I kept pressuring him, and I kept taking him down until the right moment I could counter with a left hook, and that’s what happened.”
Donaire will face either Naoya Inoue or Emmanuel Rodriguez while Regis Prograis can look forward to fighting Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk. On 18 May, they will know.
Tickets for the Monster WBSS Semi-Finals night, Ivan Baranchyk vs Josh Taylor and Naoya Inoue vs Emmanuel Rodriguez on 18 May at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland are on sale now from TheSSEHydro.com
WBSS Season 2 Semi-Finals:
27 April - Cajundome, Lafayette, LA, USA
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