Although former 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (25-3-1, 12) was announced for the upcoming Osaka Castle Hall show a while back his opponent hadn't been named at the time.
The announcement, a few moments ago, has been that Ao will be facing Mexico's Marco Lopez (23-3, 14) who is best known for his loss, by stoppage, last year to Kevin Mitchell in Britain. Mitchell, a world ranked fighter himself, stopped Lopez in 5 rounds and will have set down a marker for Ao who may well end up fighting Mitchell down the line if he wins this bout as expected.
The same show, on April 23rd, features 2 world title bouts. The bigger of those sees Shinsuke Yamanka defending his WBC Bantamweight title against Stephane Jamoye whilst the other title bout sees Hozumi Hasegawa attempting to claim the IBF Super Bantamweight title from Kiko Martinez. For Hasegawa his fight is an attempt to become the second ever 3-weight world champion from Japan
Whilst Hasegawa looks to cement his name in the record books Yamanaka will be seeking his 6th defense of his title and if he is successful we understand he is likely to pursue a bout with Leo Santa Cruz at Super Bantamweight.
For Ao a win is the next step toward him getting a Lightweight world title fight. He'd be the under-dog against any of the active champions though would certainly love the opportunity to become a 3-weight world champion himself.
As far as the under-card goes there are no details yet on the rest of the show though we hope to report them as soon as we can. With over 3,000 tickets already sold however it's hard to imagine a strong under card will be needed to make the show a sell out with fans across Japan really excited about the two world title bouts.
(Photo courtesy of Teiken Promotions)
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