Next weekend we'll see WBC Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (13-3, 12) [佐藤政道] make his first defense, as he faces the man he beat for the title, Kenshiro Teraji (18-1, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]. Today, ahead of that bout, Yabuki took part in a media work out and press conference in Japan.
During the press conference Yabuki revealed he did his final sparring for the bout yesterday, doing a full 12 round spar to prepare for the bout, much like he did for the first bout with Kenshiro, last year. He also explained that this is the most confident he has ever been as a professional fighter and it did seem like confidence oozed out of him through the press conference.
Regarding his tactics for the bout, he stated "I know what to do because I've fought once. I'll do what the other person dislikes." He also spoke about the advantages that Kenshiro has, explaining that Kenshiro has good sense of distance and jab, is tough and has impressive stamina.
Sadly as far as the work out went, it was a pretty short one, with shadow boxing being the most notable part of it. It was difficult to get too much of a read on him, though he seemed thoroughly relaxed and self assured through out the event.
Notably it was also revealed that Yabuki was 50.2KG's, or 110.67lbs, and Kenshiro was 50.1KG's, or 100.45lbs, with both just a bit over the divisional limit for the bout, with a week to lose the weight. Given those weights neither man should have any issue at all making 108lbs next weekend.
In just over a week's time we'll see WBC Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (13-3, 12) [佐藤政道] take on former champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-1, 10) [寺地 拳四朗], with Teraji getting a chance to reclaim the title he lost to Yabuki last year.
Today, ahead of that bout, Kenshiro took part in a public work out for the bout and spoke like a man who was confident to bounce back from his sole loss, and get revenge for the huge upset that ended his lengthy title reign.
Before taking part in the work part of the event there was a press conference with the Japanese media. During that press Kenshiro explained that "Because I'm a challenger, it's a little different from usual, but I just want to win firmly. I want to show a match that says", notably this will be his first bout as a challenger since first winning the WBC title back in 2017.
It was also revealed that to prepare for the bout he has done 150 rounds of sparring.
As for how his camp and preparations have been, his trainer explained "We thought too much about the opponent last time. This time, I brushed up on Kenshiro's boxing."
The confidence exuded through the press conference, with Kenshiro's father and promoter Hisashi, stating that he was convinced of his son winning and reclaiming the title that he had defended 8 times prior to last year's upset loss.
As for the actual work out, Kenshiro did a round of shadow boxing, a round on the punch mitts and a round on the heavy bag. Through out the session he looked razor sharp, showing a great jab through out.
Next week WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) will be facing off with mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆], with that bout taking place in Tokyo. Today, ahead of that bout, Mendez took part in a media work out and both showed what sort of shape he was in physically and mentally.
Before the actual work out there was a press conference which saw Mendez explain that his training had gone well and that he was in the best condition, and ready to return to Puerto Rico with a win.
In regards to the bout, Mendez explained that he was very wary of Taniguchi, describing him as "very talented" and "very good" as well as being "strong". Despite his complimentary words regarding his challenger Mendez did seem very confident and was enthusiastic about the fight, and about taking home his title.
As for the actual work out he didn't do too much, but he did skip rope and looked in great shape. It was clear he's not been wasting his time in Japan, and has been training since arriving at the end of November.
Notably at the press conference Mendez was asked about his eating habits since being in Japan and explained that he's been eating meat and that Japanese meat is first class, showing he's been enjoying the local cuisine of the country as well as the training facilities he's been allowed to use for the bout.
Next week we'll see WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) defending against mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] in a very interesting looking match up as part of the card headlined by Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥].
Today, ahead of that fight, Taniguchi took part in a public work out and spoke to the media.
Taniguchi revealed that after his loss to Vic Saludar, in his only previous world title bout, he began to dig deep and he has worked hard on the mental side of things, improving his mentality in regards to boxing. At the moment he revealed he is around 3.6KG's above the Minimumweight limit, though that won't be an issue to love before the fight next week. What is pretty notable however is that this will be the first time in more than 5 years that he'll have faced a southpaw. That is one thing he has focused on hard in training, and he explained that went from being confused by them to sounding confident about how to cope with lefties.
As for the work out, he did some shadow boxing, worked the mitts with Hiroki Atsushi from the Watanabe Gym, and showed some crisp combinations on the heavy bag. He looked super sharp, powerful and really determined for what is a massive fight for his career.
Although he didn't give away his entire gameplan, he did state he was going to be aggressive and fight like a challenger.
Later this month we'll see WBC Light Flyweight title champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] defending his title against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也]. Today, ahead of that bout, Hisada took part in an interview and media work out.
At the press conference Hisada spoke about his age. If he wins he would become the oldest man in Japan to win a world title, breaking a record set by Hozumi Hasegawa's in his final bout. Despite the fact he would create a record Hisada himself downplayed that explaining "I'm not aiming for a record. I can challenge even at the age of 36 and just prove that I can fight on the front lines of the world. I'm concentrating only on winning."
Originally this bout was supposed to take place last year, in December, before Teraji was suspended by the JBC due to an issue where he got drunk and damaged someone's car. In regards to that Hisada stated "The match in December was delayed, but I believed that there was a match and continued to practice. I think it was a plus because I was able to spar with various players because the match was extended,". Among those he sparred with as a result were Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] and Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]. He has reportedly been able to spar more than 240 rounds for this bout as well as getting advice from the aforementioned Hasegawa.
As for the work out it's self, that was a short one. Hisada did a round of shadow boxing and then a round on the mitts. It was also revealed that he would continue sparring until 10 days before the bout, as he continues to put finishing touches to his gameplan.
In regards to the gameplan, Hisada seems to be working on a plan where he can work both up close, as we've seen from him in the past, and at range, something that he clearly seems to have been working on here to help neutralise the skills of of Kenshiro.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be streamed live on Boxing Real on YouTube, and will be available for free.
(Image credit - Harada Gym)
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