Last week we reported a rumour that Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) was set to defend his WBO Minimumweight title on December 31st against fellow Japanese fighter Go Odaira (12-4-3, 1). Today we can confirm that at least half of that has been confirmed.
On Tuesday Tanaka's promotional outfit, Hatanaka Boxing Gym, confirmed the schedule they have set for a number of their fighters, including Tanaka.
The details regarding Tanaka's bout are scarce though Hatanaka have stated that Tanaka will fight on December 31st at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya. From what we understand the bout will be the first world title bout at the venue since 2000, when Leo Gamez beat Hideki Todaka to retain the WBA Super Flyweight title. We also know that it will come on a Hatanaka promoted "Soul Fighting" card, so it will not be part of either the Ioka or the Watanabe gym shows, both penciled for the same day.
In theory it means that we are set for at least 3 shows on New Years Eve. Whilst that sounds brilliant it could real issues with TV and one would suspect that Tanaka's fight will only be aired on CBC, unless TBS pay for the show as well as the Ioka card, which really would be an amazing move to please boxing fans.
What we don't know yet is who Tanaka will be up against. Odaira certainly seems to be in the running but is unlikely to be the only name linked to Tanaka between now and an official announcement, and given the timing of the bout, it may well be that Tanaka's team have left the door open to a potential unification bout with the winner of the upcoming IBF title fight between Katsunari Takayama (29-7-0-1, 11) and Ryuji Hara (19-1, 11).
We're hoping to hear in the coming weeks in regards to who Tanaka will be facing but we're very glad to have some details confirmed already given that it seemed everything had gone eerily quiet in regards to his first world title defense.
Rumour-Kosei Tanaka to fight Go Odaira on December 31st
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