It's hard to believe that the last bout for a top world title was 4 months ago. That saw the WBA Minimumweight Super champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] successfully retaining his title as he out pointed Japanese challenger Norihito Tanaka (19-8, 10) [田中教仁] in Thailand. Since then the world has changed massively and it's hard to even remember what March was like.
Today news broke from Thailand that Knockout will now likely be defending his WBA title again in September, though few other details have been made clear.
It's unclear, given he's the super champion and their is no regular champion, whether Knockout will need to defend in a mandatory, for example against #1 ranked Jose Argumedo (23-4-1, 14), or WBA "Gold" champion Leyman Benavides (17-6-1, 3), or will be able to select a voluntary defense, whilst the world comes to terms with the new normal and the WBA get around to crowning a "regular" champion.
There has been talk in Japan of the returning Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] wanting to face Knockout in Osaka later in the year. Whilst it's unclear if that will be possible, given Takayama has himself not fought as a professional in years, though is currently ranked by the WBA at Light Flyweight.
*Note we are aware of Joshua Franco's win over Andrew Moloney, but that was for the WBA's second title with Roman Gonzalez being their super champion. Blame the WBA for their mess.
Earlier today Japanese site Sports Hochi reported that there is talk of former multi-time Japanese world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] facing a world champion on his return to the ring later in the year.
The site has reported that an offer has been sent to Takayama and promoter Nobuhiro Ishida for Takayama to face WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], with the bout expected to be taking place in Osaka, if negotiations can be completed.
Originally the plan for Takayama's return was to be a move up in weight, to fight at Light Flyweight, though he had been open to fighting for the WBA Minimumweight title, as he had only held the "interim" title earlier in his career. He has long wanted to win all 4 belts in the division, hence his willingness to fight at Minmumweight to face Knockout.
Of course things are certainly not a done here by any stretch, and negotiations are far from complete, and the bout is far from being signed and sealed. It would take for the JBC to allow Takayama to be licensed and for international fighters to be able to travel before the fight could take place.
At the moment the 37 year old Takayama hasn't fought as a professional since August 2016, and to take on a champion in his ring return would be an incredibly big ask.
Whilst much of the focus on the Sports Hochi story is around Takayama the bout would also be a notable one for the 29 year old Thai, who has lacked big name wins and a win over Takayama, even a faded Takayama, in Japan would be among his most noteworthy.
Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) held a meeting in regards to the ongoing global issue, and more specifically how boxing in Japan will deal with it.
The event saw the postponement of boxing, which was previously May 15th, being extended to May 31st, meaning there will be no boxing in Japan until June, at the earliest. Of course this will be reviewed and could be extended again if things develop, as some are expecting.
The event also saw the Junior Champion's League being cancelled, rather than postponed again.
Another key part of the meeting was in regards to the retirement age of fighters, who are directly affected by the on going postponement of events. Typically a fighter can't take part in their pro-test beyond the age of 34, and are to retire at the age of 37, barring very specific rules for established and title level fighters. These rules will be bent in some ways to accommodate fighters. For example if an application is made for a pro-test of someone who turns 35 before boxing resumes they will be allowed to be licensed. This rules directly affects Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] who will not be required to fight by May 12th to get a license.
Earlier today Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] held a press conference, streamed over Zoom, to talk about his future and to spread awareness of the on going situation.
Takayama thanked the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and Japanese Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) after their announcement explaining that fighters who would be expected to retire, and refused licenses, on age grounds will have flexibility due to the on going situation and suspension of boxing in Japan. Essentially this means that Takayama no longer needs to fit in a fight before his 37th birthday, on May 12th.
Takayama, who is now a Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club fighter, took part in a 1 round spar Takamori Kiyama (2-1, 2) [木山鷹守] as well as the press conference which saw him admit he wanted to return to the pro ranks from the end of 2019. He started back in the gym in February and appears to be in good shape and hungry for success, again, in the professional ranks.
Rather interestingly, given he hasn't fought as a professional in over 3 years, Takayama has got a #10 ranking by the WBA at Minimumweight, meaning he is, in theory, able to challenge WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] when he returns to the ring.
Over the last few weeks we reported that Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] had announced he was returning to the professional ranks, and had signed with the Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club to restart his career. We also reported that he would need to fight by May 12th to comply with Japanese licensing rules, regarding mandatory retirement at the age of 37, unless a fighter has fought in the last 3 years.
Today it's been revealed that Takayama has asked the JBC to change that rule, with a petition beginning to get the rule changed.
In normal times Takayama would have fit in a fight before his birthday, and did have one scheduled for May 10th. These aren't normal times though and his May 10th bout has now been postponed due to the massive global situation.
At the moment it's unclear if Takayama will be listened to by the JBC and the JPBA, but fingers crossed that they do listen to the former champion and do accept that his case, especially given the global situation, is different and that they should maybe "bend" the rules rather than flat out change them here.
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