It feels like we've been waiting quite a while for something big to be announced, even though we've only just began the new year. That wait however is over, and this morning we saw the official news break of a WBO Flyweight title bout thanks to a press conference in Nagaoya
The contest that was announced will pit unbeaten 3-weight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成], and current WBO Flyweight king, against former IBF and WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. The bout had had long been in the works in the past, but this time it's on!
Originally the two men had been wanting to fight when both held world titles at 108lbs, but injuries to Tanaka's eyes forced plans to change and he would move up in weight, with Taguchi beating Milan Melindo to unify WBA and IBF titles.
Last year Taguchi would the unified Light titles to Hekkie Budler whilst Tanaka would go on to claim the WBO Flyweight title, becoming a 3 weight world champion in just his 12th bout, beating Sho Kimura [木村翔] in what was the Fight of the Year for many. Following his Flyweight triumph Tanaka stated he wanted to face Taguchi, revealing as much in publicly in November, and the two teams have now come to agreement on date and venue.
Today the two men held a press conference to announce the bout, and revealed that it will take place at the Gifu Memorial Center on March 16th, making it the first announced world title fight in Japan this year, though rumours suggest we may have at least 1 world title fight in February that hasn't yet been publicly announced.
At the press conference both spoke excitedly about the match up, with Tanaka in particular explaining that he "was really happy" and that Taguchi was "definitely a strong fighter".
For Tanaka this will be his first defense of the WBO Flyweight title, and will see him looking to over-come a second successive Japanese opponent, after beating Kimura last time out for the belt. As for Taguchi this will be his first world title bout at Flyweight as he looks to become a 2-weight world champion, though it's a division that his body seems made for and moving up 4lbs should actually allow his body to fill out, potentially making him a better fighter.
From what we understand this bout won't just be aired on CBC, like Tanaka's last bout, but also in Tokyo on TBS, which was oped due to the profile of the two men, though reports suggest that the broadcast will have a 4PM start time, which is is incredible early.
At the time of writing the under-card hasn't been revealed but we do expect to see the exciting Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人] in action on the show.
It's fair to say that after a bit of an Hiatus in boxing, things are now starting to awaken and this is a sensational match up to be announced and one that we suspect fans of the lower weights are going to be looking forward to over the next 2 months!
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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