Earlier today Japanese news websites reported that a deal is close to be signed and sealed for a WBO Super Flyweight title bout between current champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] and fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
Originally the hope from Tanaka's team had been to have a single bout at Super Flyweight to accommodate the move up from Flyweight. That is something we have seen from him in the past when he's moved up in weight. Today however it was revealed that the plan had changed, with Tanaka's promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka explaining that it was now going to be impossible for Tanaka to fight twice this year. That scuppered their plans to fight in a tune up as well as the world title bout.
The focus, of course, is the world title contest, so as a result that has taken priority and Hatanaka revealed that the plan is now to challenge for the belt when Tanaka returns.
Originally they actually had a date set for Tanaka's tune up. That was going to be May 17th in Nagoya, a date that has now passed.
A deal is close to be reached between Tanaka's team and that of Ioka, with the only thing yet to be agreed being the when and where. However the "When" is likely to be the very end of the year, with both men having a track record of fighting on December 31st. That would mean both men would be away from the ring for a year, a massive disappointment but something that would give their bout an even bigger "big fight feel".
Tanaka himself has been quoted in the Japanese press as wanting to have an audience for the bout, "Boxing must be seen by fans. I want people to get excited. I'm an audience. I can't do my best by myself,""Boxing must be seen by fans. I want people to get excited. I'm an audience. I can't do my best by myself," and it seems likely that that will be a factor in the when and where for this highly anticipated clash.
Yesterday WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成] made his third defense as he stopped Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-4-1, 6) [乌兰] in one of the most impressive performances of Tanaka's career so far. It was as close to punch perfect as it could have been, and whilst the challenger wasn't really up to much Tanaka did what a fighter is supposed to do in a mismatch. Take his opponent out, and not take anything in return.
Today Tanaka attended a press conference and spoke about the fight, and his future.
The talented 3-weight world champion spoke about there being good things and bad things to take from the win yesterday. He was happy about the cheering groups that were there for him, and his body shots and uppercuts, but seemed unhappy about his success with the jab.
Tanaka's promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, himself a former world champion, spoke about the future and explained that the hope was either to unify at Flyweight or win a Super Flyweight title. None of which was a particular surprise.
Before the press conference came to an end Tanaka revealed that he wanted to fight with strong opponents in 2020. It's likely he'll have to make a mandatory defense at some point in the year, but if he can land a unification bout then that would be a great highlight for the year. Another potential highlight would a much talked about potential show down with WBO Super Flyweight world champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who also picked up a win yesterday to defend his title.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Monday Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] claimed the WBO Flyweight title to become a 3-weight champion in just 12 fights. On Tuesday morning he took part in a press conference to talk about the fight and his future.
The youngster repeated the previous comments he had made about wanting to move up in weight in the future and claim more titles in the years to come. Though he did state that the plan is to defend the Flyweight title, at least for the time being.
When it came to his immediate future Tanaka revealed that as he fought on Monday he wasn't thinking too much about the immediate future, but did admit that he wants to fight with former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. It's worth noting that Tanaka had planned to fight Taguchi at the end of last year before needing to cancel those plans due to suffering fractured orbitals in what was supposed to be a straight forward title defense against Palangpol CP Freshmart.
Tanaka's promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka revealed that the hope was for Tanaka to return on New Year's Eve, though that does appear to depend on whether or not Tanaka will be medically cleared to fight before the year is over.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans will get the chance to see a WBO world title fight as Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] defends his belt against mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成]. It's worth nothing however the the show will actually feature two title bouts, with Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) [畑中 建人] facing Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
Today "Prince" Hatanaka and Rumahpasal took part in their weigh in, and despite not being given the weigh in specifics we have been told that both fighters have made the 112lb limit.
This bout will be Rumahpasal's first outside of Indonesia and will also be the first title bout for both men, with Hatanaka expected to go on to have an exceptional career in the years' to come, following his father and promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka, a former world champion.
Sadly this bout doesn't appear to be part of the live stream we've secured for the Asianboxing homepage, though the feed will carry the main event between Kimura and Tanaka.
(Image courtesy of Kento Hatanaka's twitter)
On September 15th we'll see one of the biggest fights of 2018, as Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 38) takes on Mexican star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (49-1-2, 24) in a highly anticipated rematch for the WBA "Super" and WBC Middleweight titles. The bout comes on the back of a very controversial 2017 split decision draw and has seen both men throwing barbs at each other, with growing regularity and a serious amount of animosity.
For fans in the US and the UK the bout will be on PPV, with HBO PPV carrying the bout Stateside and BT Sports hosting the bout on their PPV service in the UK. For Japanese fans however things will be cheaper with the bout being carried live on subscription service WOWOW, with WOWOW Prime airing the broadcast as part of their "Excite Match" series of shows.
The broadcast for the fight will begin at 11AM local time with a delay broadcast planned for the following Monday.
WOWOW have also revealed their broadcast team for the bout, which includes former world champions Toshiaki Nishioka and Tsuyoshi Hamada along with current WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata, who has made it clear he would like to face the winner at the Tokyo Dome later this year.
In the build up to the fight there will be two more special broadcasts, the first taking place at 11am on Monday 10th September with a second being shown an hour before the live broadcast. Both of these will be on WOWOW Live. Both of those shows will feature the legendary Yoko Gushiken talking about the bout, with fellow former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka also being advertised as a guest on the Monday show.
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