Earlier this month we reported that WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ] would be defending her title in December against a then un-named opponent. At the time we had the when, December 14th, and the where, Kagoshima, but not the who.
Today that changed with sources informing us that Tsunami's opponent for the bout would be 2-time world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5) from the Philippines.
The 35 year old Pagaduan has twice failed in world title challenges in Japan, losing widely to the then WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama in 2014 and suffering a technical draw against Kumiko Seeser Ikehara in a WBO female Minimumweight title bout in 2015. Those two set backs aside she's 12-0 though has been picking up wins against mostly abject opposition.
Although her competition hasn't been great Pagaduan does enter this bout unbeaten in 7, and riding a 5 fight winning run, which has included wins over domestic foes Aisah Alico and Charimae Salvador.
For Tsunami this will be her second defense of the title, as she looks to build on a July 2018 win over Gretchen Abaniel. The Japanese veteran was last seen in the ring fighting to a split decision draw in a 10 round thriller against Naoko Fujioka this past July in a bout for Fujioka's WBA female Flyweight title, though will be moving back down in weight for this bout at 108lbs.
As well as the world title fight the show will also see 30 year old Japanese stalwart Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也] take on Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (6-3, 6) and 2018 Rookie of the Year Sora Takeda (5-1, 1) [竹田宙] will be up against unbeaten Thai teenager Phanuwit Siriwong (7-0, 6)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fans saw domestic Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] record his first defense, as he clearly over-came Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也], and avenged one of his defeats.
The two had fought a couple of years ago, with Haruguchi taking a very controversial win over Tanaka. Since that loss Tanaka has rebuilt brilliantly and earlier this year we saw him win the Japanese title with a stoppage win against Shin Ono, in what was a career best win.
Today's performance saw Tanaka again show what he could do, Tanaka settled quickly, using his skills to get in and attack the body of Haruguchi. Haruguchi showed no fear, and seemed to have Tanaka cornered at one point in round 2, but the skills and experience of the champion showed as he escaped, neutralising the threat at the time. Not only did Tanaka's experience help him neutralise the challenger but he would counter him with ease, landing clean hurtful shots and he dropped his man in round 4, securing a big 10-8 round.
Although Haruguchi went down he would get back to his, though struggle to make any inroads into the fight. After 5 rounds he was a long way behind, 49-45, twice and 50-44. Tanaka knew there was still a threat so continued to tag the challenger, landing more body shots and counters, breaking the spirit of Haruguchi.
Going into the final few rounds the bout was a foregone conclusion and Tanaka began to cool the jets, letting Haruguchi take a few consolation rounds and close the scorecards up, though their no threat to the actual result.
After 10 rounds the scores were 96-93 and 97-92, twice.
Rumours have been circulating from Thailand that Tanaka may be next in line for WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], with that bout being rumoured as a potential October fight, though their was no clear indication after the fight that that was next.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] make his first, and battle against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也]. This bout will not only see Tanaka looking to only defend his belt but also avenge one of his more recent losses, a very controversial loss to Haruguchi in Kagoshima
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 105lbs weight limit for the contest.
Tanaka came in on the limit, weighing 105lbs for the bout, and sounded confident of picking up the win thanks to good sparring. He won the title earlier this year, stopping Shin Ono, and looked really good in that career defining win.
Haruguchi on the other hand was comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 104.3lbs, despite being the much taller and bigger looking man. He spoke about about the sparring he's had and seems driven to become the first Japanese champion from the Hashiguchi Boxing Gym.
Related - Tanaka to make first defense, battles Haruguchi
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in March Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (16-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] beat Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-4-1, 18) [小原 佳太] to book himself an IBF world title fight. Despite the win for the Uzbek it now seems like Obara will actually be back in the ring before Abdukakhorov.
Earlier today Obara revealed that he would be returning to the ring on June 13th at the Korakuen Hall, as part of a Diamond Glove card, which will also feature his Misako stable mate Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] defending the Japanese Minimumweight title against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也].
At the moment Obara's opponent hasn't been announced, though the Obara bout is expected to be the show's main event. Strangely it has been stated that Obara's bout will headline above the Japanese title bout, despite their being no title on the line in his contest.
At the age of 32 Obara cannot afford nay more setbacks if he's to earn himself one more notable bout. The loss to Abdukakhorov was a big one, but he does still have a fan friendly style and can make for fun fights, potentially getting one final shot at the big time if he can run off a few wins. This bout in June is expected to be an easy one, though he can't have many easy ones if he's to try and charge back up the rankings for another world title eliminator.
At the moment there's not been much else announced about the card, though we are expecting at least 1 other notable name to be featured on the show as Misako look to build on a pretty good start to 2019.
Yesterday we saw the announcement of two Japanese title bouts which are now both set to take place in the summer, in fact they are set to take place within in the space of 2 weeks of each other, in June.
The first of those will take place on June 1st and will see Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] make his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The talented Nakatani will be up against #3 ranked JBC contender Wolf Nakano (6-7-4, 2) [中野玄悠]. On paper this is a mismatch, and should serve as little more than getting the first defense on the board for Nakatani, who is likely to move on to bigger and better things in the near future.
The Nakatani Vs Nakano bout will be on a Dynamic Glove card and we've been informed that the chief support bout will be a rematch between Charles Bellamy (28-3-2, 18) and Yuto Shimizu (12-4-2, 5) [清水優人], who had a great bout earlier this year.
The other title bout will take place on June 13th and will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] make his first defense, as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也], in what looks like a pretty competitive bout on paper. Tanaka won the title in January, stopping Shin Ono and looked better than ever, but Haruguchi is better than his record suggests and should put up a decent effort.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!