After two successful defenses of his WBO light flyweight title, Japan’s Kosei Tanaka makes his flyweight debut on March 31st, facing unbeaten Filipino Ronnie Baldonado in the former’s native Nagoya. The fight will reportedly set up a domestic clash with champ Sho Kimura later this year.
Date: March 31, 2018
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Tanaka (10-0, 6 KO), a two-division champion at the age of 22, suffered eye injuries against Rangsan Chayanram in September, leaving him on the mend until now. He has elected to move up rather than stay at 108 to fight Ryoichi Taguchi due to the increasing difficulty involved in making the weight.
He’s a growing boy.
Baldonado (10-0-1, 7 KO) is 21 and unproven, a decent test for Tanaka to find his footing at 112. Not sure if he’s enough to prepare Tanaka for Kimura, but I suppose he’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it.
Anyone believe Tanaka can claim a third world title before he turns 24?
NAGOYA – Former World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka said Tuesday he will fight Filipino Ronnie Baldonado in a non-title bout on March 31 in Nagoya.
Tanaka, who relinquished his WBO crown last December in order to move up a weight class, will be making his first appearance at flyweight against Baldonado.
The match will also be his first since fracturing both eye sockets in a ninth-round technical knockout victory over Thailand’s Rangsan Chayanram last September in Osaka.
The injuries derailed plans for a domestic blockbuster bout between Tanaka and WBA light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi at the end of last year.
Tanaka, 22, said he had been sparring without any problems stemming from the injuries and was looking forward to competing at a heavier weight.
“I will perform better (at flyweight) than at light flyweight,” he said. “I chose to go up a class because it was difficult to keep weight off.”
Tanaka has a 10-0 record with six knockouts, while Baldonado is 10-0-1 (seven KOs)