Reports from Japan this past week have stated that the WBA have officially ordered Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) [田口良一], the WBA Light Flyweight champion, to defend his title in a mandatory defense against Colombian fighter Robert Barrera (18-1, 12). The news is disappointing for those wanting to see unification bouts at 108lbs, but it is still an intriguing match up, and makes for a tough defense on paper for the champion, who will be making his 6th defense.
Although the longest reigning active champion at Light Flyweight Taguchi's performances have been very up-and-down since winning the title at the end of 2014. He struggled past Luis de la Rosa and could only get a draw against Carlos Canizales last time out, but did dominate Juan Jose Landaeta and Kwanthai Sithmoreseng and easily over-came Ryo Miyzaki. At his best he does look a class act, but the inconsistencies are a problem, and he has been somewhat fortunate at times.
Barrera doesn't have much in terms of quality wins, but did give the aforementioned Canizales a very tough bout back in 2015, losing a split decision in Venezuela. On paper his best wins is a 9th round KO over Luis de la Rosa earlier this year, and that alone should suggest that he could be a handful for Taguchi.
At the moment there is no set date or venue for the bout, but speculation is that it will be held in Japan, potentially in August or September.
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