Back in July we reported that a Thai sources had informed us that a rumour was doing the rounds in Thailand that WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (13-0, 6) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] could have been defending his title in Japan on October 23rd against Ryuji Hara (20-2, 11) [原隆二]. The same sources has now informed us that Hara's team have changed direction with their man.
The source now reports that Hara will not be pursuing the October date with Knockout but will instead wait to see the outcome of tomorrow's WBO world title bout, between Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] and Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) [加納陸], with a possible match up against the winner of that bout.
For many it's a disappointing turn from Hara, if the source is true, but maybe a wise one given Knockout's ability and Hara's own fragility.
For Hara it could potentially lead to a rematch with Takayama, who stopped him last year. That rematch would see Hara take on a faded Takayama who has been cut multiple times and looks to be a fighter coming to the end of his career. Alternatively it could see Hara facing teenage sensation Kano, if Kano can over-come the veteran former champion. Sadly however it leaves Knockout's team looking elsewhere for their first defense, and there is slim pickings out there in terms of notable and financially rewarding names at 105lbs.
Of course the story could just be a ploy from either man's team looking for an edge before finalising some agreement. It could be that Hara's team are hoping to see Knockout lower his financial expectations for the bout or that Knockout's team are now hoping to get a quick decision made so have leaked a story to the press, suggesting the bout is looking unlikely. Either way it would be a shame if we had to wait until December to see either man back in the ring.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!