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Boxing | International

Kosei Tanaka © Getty Images

Tanaka defends WBO flyweight belt against Taguchi

In an all-Japanese clash WBO flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka defends his belt against former WBA and IBF light-flyweight champion, No 4 ranked Ryochi Taguchi on Friday at the Memorial Centre in Gifu, Japan.

The highly regarded 23-year-old Tanaka (12-0; 7) has previous held the WBO minimumweight and light-flyweight belts and won his third world title on September 24, 2018 with a majority points decision over Sho Kimura (17-1-2) for the WBO flyweight belt.

Before he joined the professional ranks in November 2013 Tanaka was an outstanding amateur winning a number of championships.

In only his fourth fight he won the OPBF minimumweight title and in May 2015 won the vacant WBO minimumweight belt with a unanimous points decision over Julian Yedras and then made a successful defence against Vic Saludar (11-1) before moving up to the light-flyweight class.

On December 31, 2016 he claimed the vacant WBO light-flyweight belt with a fifth-round technical-knockout win over former world champion Moise Fuentes.

After making two successful defences he moved up to light-flyweight and scored a victory over Ronnie Baldonado (10-01) before winning his third world title with the victory over Kimura.

Taguchi, 32, has been fighting as a pro for nearly 12 years and has compiled a record of 27-3-2; 12.

On December 31, 2014 Taguchi outboxed Alberto Rossel to win the WBA light-flyweight belt and in his first defence won on an eighth-round technical knockout over former WBA minimumweight champion Ekkawit Songnui (48-6).

He lost the IBF and WBA light-flyweight belts to South Africa’s Hekkie Budler in May 2018. He had captured the IBF light-flyweight belt in December 2017 with a win over Milan Melindo.

Taguchi is a skilled fighter and more experienced than the champion but does he have enough to take the title?

The other main organisation champions are WBA, Artem Dalakian (Ukraine), WBC,

Charlie Edwards (England) and IBF Moruti Mthalane (South Africa).


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