tanaka-fuentes-kickoff Photo by Boxing Beat, Zanfer Promotions –

By Joe Koizumi

Unbeaten ex-WBO 105-pound champ Kosei Tanaka (7-0, 4 KOs), Japan, will face Mexican Moises Fuentes (24-2-1, 13 KOs) in quest of the vacant WBO 108-pound championship recently renounced by excellent Filipino Donnie Nietes at Gifu Memorial Hall, Gifu city, on New Year’s Eve. It was announced by Hatanaka Promotions presided by Kiyoshi Hatanaka, ex-WBC super-bantam champ who dethroned Pedro Decima and yielded his belt to Daniel Zaragoza, both in 1991.

Tanaka, now still 21, had acquired the WBO mini-flyweight belt by defeating Mexican Julian Yedras in his only fifth pro bout in May of the previous year. After successfully keeping his title by a come-from-behind knockout of Filipino Vic Saludar in his initial defense, the fast-growing youngster relinquished his belt to move up to the 108-pound category. In his tune-up go Tanaka impressively halted world-rated Filipino Rene Patillano in a light-fly bout this May. 

Should he gain his second world belt in his eighth pro bout, Tanaka will tie the Japanese record of the quickest acquisition of the second world throne previously registered by the current WBO 115-pound ruler Naoya Inoue at the expense of Argentine great Omar Narvaez in the end of 2014. The world mark was registered by Vasyl Lomachenko who did it in his seventh pro bout this June.

Moises Fuentes, 31, had won the WBO 105-pound belt in 2011 and kept it twice to his credit. In 2013, while being the mini-fly champ, the Mexican had an ambitious crack at the WBO 108-pound belt against Filipino champ Donnie Nietes only to draw in a grueling bout in 2013. Fuentes fought a rematch with Fuentes, pitifully losing by a ninth round TKO. The Mexican, however, recently scored five victories including ones over such ex-champs as Oswaldo Novoa and Francisco Rodriguez Jr. to his credit.

Despite Fuentes being a prefight favorite due to his superior ring experience, Tanaka has his youth and physical power that have contributed to his quick advancement. It will be an interesting and competitive confrontation.



Date: Thursday, December 31, 2015


Location:   Aichi Perfectural Gym, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Promoter:    Hatanaka Promotions / Kiyoshi Hatanaka

Supervisor:  Istvan Kovacs

Referee:  Mike Ortega

Judges:  Lynne Carter (44-50); Levi Martinez (45-49); Zoltan Enyedi (44-50)

Results:   The Champion Kosei Tanaka retained the WBO Mini-Flyweight Title against Vic Saludar by KO in the sixth round.



By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat

19-year-old unbeaten Japanese, Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2 KOs), 105, very impressively acquired the vacant WBO 105-pound belt as he kept outspeeding and outpunching Mexican Julian Yedras (24-2, 13 KOs), 105, to win a unanimous decision over twelve fast rounds on Saturday in Komaki, Japan.

The official tallies read: Salven Lagumbay (Philippines) and Sawang Thaweekoon (Thailand) both 117-111, and Luis Ruiz (Puerto Rico) 115-113, all in favor of Tanaka, who thus won the world throne in his fifth pro bout. The referee was Samuel Viruet (US) who also moved so well as the busy-moving contestants. Tanaka, whose amateur mark was 46-5, 18 stoppages, displayed fast jabs, quick combinations and effective left hooks, and maintained the initiative despite the game Mexican’s occasional retaliation. Tanaka proved a real thing with such a fine performance as he looked like a young and small Sugar Ray Leonard. 

Tanaka, an sophomore of Chukyo University, appeared sophomoric, utilizing various skills against the more experienced but one-dimensional Mexican such as shifty footwork, sharp flicker-jabbing, looping or short left hooking, well-timed countering and occasional infighting. Tanaka, much more skillful than Yedras, was an enfant terrible. The reporter hesitates to abuse a word of “genius” since, if doing so, there are so many geniuses here in Japan as three-class world champ Hiroki Ioka, two-time titlist Naoya Inoue, etc. But Tanaka is more than a vastly talented youngster by winning the crowd’s applause not only with his coronation but with his spectacular performance.

We, in Japan, now see nine world champions excluding Japan-based foreign titleholders such as Jorge Linares, but, only in terms of hand speed, Tanaka might be one of the best as he displayed lightening combinations to the game but slower Mexican, who said after the fight, “Tanaka was very fast and was too elusive with his lateral movement for me to catch up with. The chico (young kid) was splendid on speed, power and heart. I’m happy to have fought such a good boxer.” It is truly rare to hear such a straightforward admiration on a winner from a loser.

Tanaka, from the outset, showed his superior speed as he threw whiplash jabs and left-right combinations to the still cautious Mexican hombre. His mobility was reminiscent of Muhammad Ali in his rematch with Ken Norton. The second round witnessed the Japanese boy penetrate Yedras’ tight guard with a solid left-right combo to have him reeling to the ropes.

It was Tanaka that swept the first three rounds with a fine display of remarkable hand speed with good precision and power. Some 4,500 supporters in attendance at Park Arena Komaki were worried about his proper distribution of stamina, as he appeared to have started fireworks by consuming too much energy at the earlier stage.

As expected from his too hot opening attack, Tanaka’s vaunted footwork temporarily stopped midway in round four, when the shorter Mexican came forward and came close to him with a flurry of punches even on the block of the Japanese youngster, who recklessly responded to his rallies in the close range. It’s Yedras’ round.

Tanaka, however, won back the fifth session as he very furiously retaliated with a two-fisted attack, but seemingly spent too much energy—as if it had been a six-round competition—just to win a point even though his countering right uppercut had the knees almost buckled. The kid often caught the onrushing Mexican puncher with looping left hooks to the temple that apparently hurt Yedras, who nonetheless kept stalking the footworker.

Tanaka, in round six, recklessly mixed it up in the close quarter and Yedras maintained the pressure with incessant short punches to the face and to the midsection, while the youngster attempted to swap punches toe-to-toe with him without using his feet. Yedras was apparently in command. The crowd was afraid that the tide had turned then and there, and Yedras would take back the initiative from then onward.

It was, however, in the seventh that Tanaka showed his best as he courageously attacked the Mexican willing mixer with much faster combinations upstairs and downstairs. His jabs and one-two-left hook combinations were all effective enough to hurt the Mexican, who still refused to go down and tried to fight back with his best effort. It was a very furious round, which might be a good candidate of Round of the Year.

When Yedras returned to his corner, we saw he had the right cheek badly swollen with a lump due to his absorption of punishment. But he looked still mentally strong and willing to fight on.

The eighth was also hard-fought by the aggressive contestants, who exchanged hot rallies. Tanaka, with better precision, had the upper hand and almost stunned Yedras with a strong left-right combination. The Mexican warrior, however, landed a vicious right counter that shook up the Japanese prospect. Two judges favored Tanaka, while one gave a point to Yedras.

After the eighth round was over, the Tanaka adherents realized that there would be still no less than four more rounds though he had already consumed too much stamina due to his feverishly high pace. The worriers might be expecting Tanaka would be slowing down and Yedras would catch him with solid body shots as his Mexican cornermen incessantly kept yelling, “Abajo (downstairs)!”.

This reporter hereby becomes a Peeping Tom onto the interim scoresheet, though the open scoring system wasn’t applied to this bout. That’s 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 in favor of Tanaka.

Amazingly did Tanaka turn loose in the ninth and keep punching almost entirely for three minutes. Where’s his energy from? From his youth? Yedras, of course, fought back hard but Tanaka’s faster combinations and hit-and-run tactics kept him from catching the busy and elusive target. Tanaka seemingly welcomed a second wind, as he accelerated freely punching and moving without feeling any fatigue.

Then we realized that Tanaka, a 19-year-young kid, wasn’t a Bernard Hopkins or a Japanese baseball player working in the US, Ichiro Suzuki, both of whom are 41 years of age. Kosei’s storage of abundant stamina was so astounding that the partisan crowd then expected Tanaka would maintain such a high pace and win the game.

Then tenth was spectacular enough since Tanaka’s footwork prevailed as fast as in the first three rounds and he served as a Sugar Ray Leonard in playing tag in a game of children. Busily jabbing and circling around the flat-footed Mexican, who was still aggressive and willing to mix it up, Tanaka finely displayed hit-and-run tactics to impress the crowd.

The eleventh witnessed Tanaka become a typical speedster, throwing flashy hand punches very fast but without putting his weight behind punches. He looked to have dominated this round only with his hand speed, and two judges gave this round to Tanaka, while another to Yedras who threw power punches even with low precision.

“With three more minutes you’ll be champion,” cried his chief second and father Hitoshi to encourage his son. Tanaka furiously commenced the final session with all his energy, as Yedras did. It’s a total war with the game warriors. It’s Tanaka that whipped Yedras from all angles so furiously as if he would finish him to bring home the bacon. But his too furious last surge had Tanaka slowing down in the last thirty seconds, when Yedras was courageous enough to fight back with his heart. When the final bell sounded, people really appreciated the good game from the bottom of heart.

After the official verdict announced his coronation Tanaka jubilantly said in the ring, “I’ve arrived at this place I had been aiming at for a long time since my childhood. I really thank for your people’s continually warm supports.”

Kosei Tanaka had a unique career. His father Hitoshi used to be a black belt of judo and Japanese national arm wrestling champion. He made his son learn karate at the age of three with his elder brother by two years, Ryosei, a student of Komazawa University, who is still amateur and national titlist for four years in a row. Kosei, when twelve, started learning how to box from his father, who has kept coaching his son since. Tanaka family was like Danny Garcia’s though Hitoshi isn’t as eloquent as Danny’s dad Angel.

To make a long story short, Kosei acquired national high school championship four times and turned professional under the tutelage of Kiyoshi Hatanaka, the first world champ ever produced in Nagoya area.

Tanaka, in November 2013, successfully made a pro debut by defeating WBO#6 Oscar Reknafa by a lopsided 6-round decision in Nagoya. Nicknamed “Knockout Dream Boy”, Kosei won a unanimous nod over WBA#13 Ronelle Ferreras in March 2014. His third bout saw a first-round knockout over OPBF#3 ranked Philippine champ Crison Omayao in July 2014. Tanaka, as the mandatory challenger, had an ambitious shot at WBO#2 OPBF 105-pound titlist and impressively dethroned him via tenth round TKO in October of the previous year. Literally that’s all as for his pre-history of coronation.

Chukyo University has produced many excellent young athletes such as Koji Murofuse (Olympic gold medalist in the shot put), Mao Asada (Olympic silver medalist in the figure skating), etc. Kosei Tanaka is one of those who have raised the Alma Mater’s reputation. Kosei is a little different from other boxers dependent on blood and guts since he often describes himself as a thinking boxer.

His manager/promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka’s overall record was 25-2-1, 15 KOs, as he only suffered a couple of setbacks at the hand of as many Mexicans—Gilberto Roman and Daniel Zaragoza—each with a world championship at stake in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Tanaka avenged his manager’s setbacks to the Mexicans with his impressive victory.

Leon Panoncillo, the WBO supervisor, said, “Tanaka is the pride of our organization. He’s much better than we had expected. We hope he will grow up to be multiple-class champion since he is really talented. I love his tremendous hand speed in combination punching and his strong heart as well.”

The third man Samuel Viruet expressed his impression on the newly crowned champ, saying, “Tanaka boxed like a Bruce Lee, feinting, jabbing and shuffling. It’s fun watching him fight like that as the third man.”

This reporter hereby has to amend the list of “World Champions in Fewest Fights” that was previously compiled by historian Bob Yalen and yours truly by adding the Knockout Dream Boy.


Tanaka always writes an autograph of “KOsei” which means, in Japanese, “Do Knockout!” This is just for your reference.

Tanaka became the fourth of the youngest world champions out of Japan, as shown by an attached list.


Tanaka is also the fifth world titlist ever produced from Nagoya area in Japan.


In the end, this record-keeper hereby lists up our current world champions in Japan.


There are more episodes on Kosei Tanaka’s coronation, but should this reporter write them all, this writing wouldn’t finish within days. We just say we have had another good champion here in Japan.

Promoter: Hatanaka Promotions.
WBO supervisor: Leon Panoncillo (US).


Date:   Saturday, May 30, 2015


Location: Park Arena, Komaki, Alchi, Japan

Promoter: Hatanaka Promotions / Kiyoshi Hatanaka

Supervisor:   Leon Panoncillo

Referee:  Samuel Viruet

Judges:  Salven Lugumbay (117-111); Luis Ruiz (115-113);  Sawaeng Thaweekoon (117-111)

Results:   The Japanese, Kosei Tanaka acquired the vacant WBO Mini Flyweight Championship Title (105-pound) as he kept outspeeding and outpunching Mexican Julian Yedras, to win a unanimous decision over twelve fast rounds in Komaki, Japan.



Kosei Tanaka ante Julian Yedras por el vacante campeonato mundial mínimo de la OMB el 30 de mayo en Aichi, Japón.
El joven invicto japonés #2 clasificado mundial mínimo de la OMB (Organización Mundial de Boxeo) y campeón regional de la OPBF (Federación de Boxeo de Oriente y de Pacífico), el nagoyaense llamado genio del boxeo Kosei Tanaka (4-0/2KOs), de 19 años de edad y de Hatanaka Boxing Gym, se enfrentará al mexicano #1 clasificado mundial de la OMB, el campechano Julián “Niño Artillero” Yedras (24-1/13KOs), de 26 años de edad y desde Ciudad de Carmen, Campeche, el próximo 30 de mayo en Park Arena de la ciudad de Komaki de la provincia de Aichi situada unos 350 kilómetros al suroeste de Tokio por el título universal paja de la OMB que fue dejado vacante por el japonés Katsunari Takayama.
Kosei Tanaka es estudiante de la Universidad Chukyo desde abril de 2014. Se llevará a cabo un campeonato mundial de boxeo en la provincia de Aichi tras un largo intervalo de diez años desde aquel choque por el título supermosca de la AMB efectuado en 2005 en Nagoya, la capital de la provincia de Aichi, en donde el mexicano Martín Castillo retuvo su cetro al vencer al japonés Hideyasu Ishihara por decisión.
Esta pelea por la corona mundial de Kosei Tanaka llama poderosa la atención del periodismo japonés, ya que este joven púgil apodado “Duende de la región de Chukyo” se encuentra a punto de establecer a fuerza de su barreta una nueva marca del boxeo japonés de la historia respecto de llegar más rápido a ser campeón mundial con menos número de peleas en su quinta contienda profesional rompiendo el record de Naoya “Monstruo” Inoue, quien se proclamó rey minimosca del CMB en su sexta pelea profesional al imponerse por KOT en el sexto round al mexicano Adrián “Confesor” Hernández en abril de 2014 en Tokio. Para su debido gobierno, según los datos de la Comisión de Boxeo de Japón, el pugilismo nipón ha dado un total de 76 monarcas universales a partir del peso mosca Yoshio Shirai en 1952 hasta el minimosca (AMB) Ryoichi Taguchi en diciembre de 2014.
Ante esta su primera oportunidad mundial, Kosei Tanaka se encuentra con la moral muy en alto para hacer historia del boxeo japonés y subraya que va a lanzarse al combate contra el mexicano Julián Yedras con inflexibilidad de espíritu combativo tanto física como moralmente en aras de poder anotarse una valiosa victoria a costillas del duro peleador campechano, contra quien tiene mucho cuidado por su poder pugilístico y por su resistencia contra golpes.
Kosei Tanaka nació en la ciudad de Tajimi de la provincia de Gifu y ahora vive en Nagoya. Cuando era chico, Kosei Tanaka se dedicó a aprender Karate y desde el sexto año de la escuela primaria comenzó a practicar el boxeo. Fue campeón japonés amateur de escuela preparatoria con un historial de 46-5/18KOs. Desde que se puso a practicar el boxeo hasta hoy en día, su entrenador es su padre Hitoshi.
En noviembre de 2013, se dio el salto al profesionalismo en una pelea a 6 rounds por trasmisión de TV. Su contrincante fue nada menos que el #6 clasificado mundial indonesio Oscar Recnafa, a quien derroto por amplia decisión (60-53, 60-54, 59-54) en el lujoso International Conference Hall de la ciudad de Nagoya. Entonces, Kosei Tanaka era todavía alumno de escuela preparatoria. Fue inaudito en la historia del boxeo japonés que un alumno de escuela preparatoria hubiera debutado en el boxeo profesional con un rival del clasificado mundial. Así fue como se hizo su debut en el boxeo profesional en forma descomunal.
Su segunda pelea profesional fue en marzo de 2014, también en el lujoso International Conference Hall de Nagoya, y se impuso por decisión unánime en 8 rounds al entonces ‪#‎12AMB‬ clasificado mundial filipino Ronelle Ferreras.
En julio de 2014 en International Conference Hall de Nagoya, Kosei Tanaka sostuvo su tercera pelea profesional y consiguió una victoria relampagueante por KO en el mismísimo primer round sobre el campeón filipino Crison Omayao, quien sufría anteriormente en Japón una derrota por KO en el cuarto round frente al japonés Naoya Inoue, actual campeón supermosca de la OMB con sobrenombre de “Monstruo” o “Genio de Boxeo”.
En el pasado octubre, el inmaculado provinciano Kosei Tanaka tuvo acción para mantener una batalla singular entre dos invictos en el Korakuen Hall de Tokio, en donde se anotó un valioso triunfo por KOT en el décimo round sobre el hasta entonces imbatido japonés alto clasificado mundial Ryuji Hara para coronarse nuevo campeón regional de la OPBF (Federación de Boxeo de Oriente y de Pacifico). Esta victoria fue decisiva para Kosei Tanaka para obtener un chance mundialista contra el mexicano Julián Yedras. Su furiosa pelea contra Ryuji Hara de coraje a coraje fue elegida merecidamente por la Comisión de Boxeo de Japón como Mejor Pelea del Año de 2014 en Japón a nivel de campeonato regional.
Kosei Tanaka es Novato del Año de 2014 en Japón según la sanción de la Comisión de Boxeo de Japón gracias a su impresionante actividad en el boxeo japonés.
Su manager-promotor es ex campeón mundial supergallo del CMB Kiyoshi Hatanaka, de 47 años de edad y el presidente de Hatanaka Boxing Gym de Nagoya.
Kiyoshi Hatanaka admira las cualidades pugilísticas de Kosei Tanaka en velocidad, estamina y técnicas. Kiyoshi Hatanaka no puede menos de maravillarse de la posibilidad de Kosei Tanaka en lo futuro para hacer gran cosa en la historia del boxeo japonés con su plena concentración de toda alma.
Kiyoshi Hatanaka es el primer campeón mundial que ha dado Nagoya. Después de Kiyoshi Hatanaka, aparecieron el peso gallo Yasuei Yakushiji, el supermosca Satoshi Iida y el supermosca y gallo interino Hideki Todaka. Kiyoshi Hatanaka opina de Kosei Tanaka que de sobra se encuentra decir que su representado goza de más excelente don pugilístico que todos los campeones mundiales surgidos de Nagoya hasta hoy.
Si Kosei Tanaka vence a Julián Yedras el próximo mayo, va a ser el quinto campeón mundial surgido de la ciudad de Nagoya cuya ciudad hermana es la Ciudad de México desde 1978. Los Ángeles de California es también ciudad hermana de Nagoya desde 1959.

Via: Hisao Adachi/NotiFight.com