The third of the under-card bouts on the Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] Vs Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一] card saw Yushi Tanaka (21-2-4, 14) [田中裕士] battle against Yougu Yu (5-1-3, 2).
On paper this looked like another straight forward win for Tanaka, a 2-time Japanese Bantamweight title challenger. In the end however Yu came to fight, and gave Tanaka huge issues, rocking him at the end of round 2 and taking the fight to him at the start of round 3. Although Tanaka began boxing smartly after the round start to round 3 it wasn't long until Yu's aggression really paid off and he would drop Tanaka in round 4, taking advantage of Tanaka's defensive issues.
Despite being dropped, and rocked in the first half of the fight, Tanaka did manage to show the more rounded skill set and in the second half of the fight that proved vital as he jabbed, moved and avoided taking too many of Yu's over-hand rights. On the other hand the odd right hand from Tanaka managed to land clean, though never seriously shook Yu, who actually finished the bout very strongly with a huge attack in the final seconds.
With neither man stopping the other within 8 rounds we went to the score cards and surprisingly the bout was scored a draw, with scores of 76-76, twice, and 76-75 to Tanaka, resulting in a majority draw. A major set back to Tanaka's hope of getting another title fight.
Back in early January Hatanaka held a press conference to announce that 3-weight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] would be defending the WBO Flyweight title against Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. At the time no real details of the under-card were available, though that changed today.
We now know that youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人], who was featured on the poster, will be defending the WBC Youth Flyweight title against Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). The Thai is 6-0 at home but he lost in his only other visit to Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017. If we're being honest this should be a straight forward defense for the exciting Hatanaka.
Also confirmed for the card is 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士], who will be facing a Chinese visitor in an 8 round bout. Although the name wasn't confirmed we believe it will be Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2). We were also informed that the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) [水野拓哉] will be going up against Thai journeyman Chatpayak Sithkopon (22-25, 20), aka Artid Bamrungauea, and that former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋宏心] will be facing off with Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), in a very exciting step up in class.
On September 24th we'll see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] defend his belt against mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成] in a mouth watering match up on CBC. It's now been revealed that that won't be the only title bout on the card.
The other title bout, was was revealed recently, will see unbeaten puncher Kento Hatanaka (6-0, 6) [畑中 建人] take on Indonesian foe Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
The match up isn't the most attractive on paper, but it is a chance for the 20 year old "Prince" Hatanaka to become a "King" and claim his first professional title, with more likely to come in the near future, as he steps up his competition and begins to chase national and regional honours.
The exciting Hatanaka, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, has often been in a supporting role for Tanaka, as he is again here, and it looks likely that a win here could be the final time he acts as a supporting before branching out to become a championship fighter in his own right. It's also a safe looking first title bout, taking on a man who will be fighting on foreign soil for the first time.
Not too much is known about the Indonesian foe though he made his debut in April 2017, when he lost a 6 round decision to Hisar Mawan. He would fight all 3 of his bouts last year, and has been inactive since a December loss to Yohanis Tatul. He's not expected to put up much of a threat to Hatanaka, but he's yet to be stopped, and iut's unlikely that the Japanese fighter will want to see his perfect KO record end here.
It's also been confirmed that former Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士] will be on the card, against Rusli Yanto (2-1), and the highly regarded Koshin Takeshima (1-0, 1) [竹嶋 宏心] will be battling against Kiki Marciano (1-2).
Lat week there was a press conference held to announce that former WBO Minimumweight and Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6) [田中恒成] would be facing Filipino fighter Ronnie Baldonado (10-0-1, 7) on March 31st. At the time we knew that not only was Tanaka returning on the show, fighting for the first time since suffering two eye injuries in September, but also Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中 裕士] and Kento Hatanaka (4-0, 4) [畑中 建人].
Over the last day or so we've seen more details from the card being released, along with the show's poster.
We now know that Hatanaka will battle against former Japanese title challenger Kenta Matsui (8-7, 1) [松井謙太], who will be fighting for the first time since his December loss to the then Japanese Minimumweight champion Reiya Konishi. This is a big step up in class for the 19 year old, who hasn't really been challenged since his debut back in November 2016, fighting only a combined 10 rounds. Although a step up he should still be favoured to beat Matsui, despite Matsui's 2016 win over Rikito Hatrtori and 2017 upset win over Genki Hanai.
As for Yushi Tanaka his opponent has been named as Jinya Ito (6-3-1, 1) [伊藤仁也]. Tanaka has twice fought for Japanese titles, losing to both Kentaro Masuda and Ryo Akaho, but came up short in both of those title bouts. Since losing to Akaho last year Tanaka has notched up two wins and is one his way to getting another title fight. As for Ito he has scored back to back wins, but has gone 2-3 in his last 5 and certainly looks a less than challenging opponent for Tanaka.
It should be noted that former Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (30-7-1, 18) [林翔太] is featured on the poster. He won't actually be in action as his appearance on the card will be a retirement ceremony, as he walks away from active fighting following recent losses to to Kosuke Saka and Mark Magsayo.
Last week we reported that former WBO Minimumweight and Light Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6) [田中恒成] would be returning to the ring on March 31st to battle against unbeaten Filipino fighter Ronnie Baldonado (10-0-1, 7). Today that bout was announced, with Tanaka holding a press conference in Nagoya, along with his team from the Hatanaka gym.
The bout will take place at Flyweight and will be Tanaka's first Flyweight bout, and his first bout since last September when he suffered two eye injuries against Palangpol CP Freshmart. Although those injuries were from being hit in the face Tanaka had put them, at least in part, down to weight loss and the ill effects of weight loss on his performance.
The former world champion has scouted his foe and is full aware that Baldonado is an energetic puncher, who will be looking to stop Tanaka. The Japanese vighter stated their was some unease at facing such a fighter, given the injuries, but he seems to be aware that that unease should improve his over-all performance and concentration.
Reports from this morning's press conference is that the contest will be aired on CBC, live from 4PM local time, and the card will feature Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中 裕士] and Kento Hatanaka (4-0, 4) [畑中 建人], though neither of those bouts are expected to get live television coverage.
(Image courtesy of boxmo.jp)
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