Unbeaten two-division world champ Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs), the enfant terrible in Japan, will make a mandatory shot at the WBO Flyweight belt against compatriot Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10 KOs) in Nagoya, Japan, on September 24. It was announced by his promoter/manager Kiyoshi Hatanaka, ex-WBC 122-pound titlist, on Tuesday. Kimura, fresh from his second defense over Froilan Saludar via sixth round knockout in China last Friday, didn’t appear in the press conference, but will make his own in Tokyo later.

Should Tanaka win the third world belt in his twelfth bout, it will tie the record of Vasyl Lomachenko. But Hi-Tech suffered the one and only setback to Orlando Salido in his second pro outing, while Tanaka may achieve the establishment with an unblemished mark.

Tanaka, a Chukyo university student, acquired his first 105-pound belt when he, in his fifth bout, unanimously outscored Julian Yedras in May 2015. The fast-developing Kosei gained his second 108-pound throne by halting Moises Fuentes in his eighth game on New Year’s Eve in 2016. Having outgrown the junior flyweight category, he now aims at his third belt in the 112-pound category.

Tanaka said, “Kimura is a strong champion with physical strength and will power. But I’ll knock him out to win my third belt.” Kimura, in every fight, improved his strength, dethroning former Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou and dispatching Froilan Saludar. It will be such a competitive matchup that we cannot predict who the victor will be.

Report and photo by Joe Koizumi

NAGOYA – Two-division champion Kosei Tanaka announced Tuesday he will challenge Sho Kimura for the World Boxing Organization flyweight belt on Sept. 24.

Tanaka (11-0, seven knockouts), who has previously held the WBO Mini Flyweight and Jr. Flyweights belts, will aim to add a third title at Kimura’s expense when the two meet at Nagoya’s Takeda Teva Ocean Arena.

“If I have a chance to win a title in a third division, I want to achieve it,” the 23-year-old Tanaka told a news conference at his gym.

The 29-year-old Kimura (17-1, 10 Os) retained his belt by beating Froilan Saludar of the Philippines by sixth-round knockout on Friday in Qingdao, China. It was his second defense of the title he won from China’s Zou Shiming last July.

Tanaka most recently defeated Filipino Ronnie Baldonado by TKO in a non-title fight in Nagoya on March 31.

In related news, Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs) is preparing to challenge the United Kingdom’s Isaac Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) for the WBO super bantamweight title.

The 37-year-old Otake, 37, the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion, is scheduled to meet the 23-year-old Dogboe in Glendale, Arizona, on Aug. 25.

“If I lose, I will retire, so I’m definitely bringing home the title,” Otake said.


Whoever comes out of the upcoming Sho Kimura-Froilan Saludar WBO flyweight title fight next week already has a date with a formidable former champion awaiting them.

Kimura and Saludar, who will meet July 27 in Qingdao, China, will be fighting for one of the 112-pound world title belts, but also for the obligation to stand opposite former two-division champion and mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka on September 24 in Nagoya, Japan.

Kenneth Rontal, promoter of the Philippines-based Saludar, tells THE RING Saludar is motivated by the mandatory obligation, as it would give him an opportunity to pay Tanaka back for his brother Vic Saludar’s 2015 sixth-round knockout defeat to the unbeaten Japanese fighter.

“Froilan is very eager for the September fight to avenge his brother’s loss,” said Rontal.

Kimura (16-1-2, 9 knockouts) is making his second defense of the belt he won a year earlier with an upset of Zou Shiming, while Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19 KOs), who like Kimura is 29, has won five straight and will fight for a world title for the first time.

Saludar is hoping to have the same fate as Vic Saludar earlier this month, when he defeated Ryuya Yamanaka to win the WBO strawweight title in Japan.

Head trainer Michael Palacios likes the style clash, feeling it’s in his fighter’s favor.

“Froilan is a boxer-counterpuncher, and Kimura is a fighter-brawler who loves to move forward. It will be easy to target for Saludar who is called the Sniper,” said Palacios.

Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs) had previously held the WBO strawweight and junior flyweight titles, and defeated Ronnie Baldonado by ninth round technical knockout in March in his flyweight debut.

The Saludar camp concluded sparring on Wednesday in General Santos City, Philippines and will leave Friday for Manila to train two days at the Penalosa Boxing Gym in Cubao (which is in the shadows of the Araneta Coliseum, site of the Thrilla in Manila) before heading to China on Monday.

Vic Saludar won’t be making the trip with them as he’s currently resting with his family.

“Two brothers, both challengers to capture world title (in the) same month, same year. It will be great for the Philippines and also for the team and our family,” said Palacios.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at ryansongalia@gmail.com.



By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Sumio Yamada

Unbeaten WBO junior flyweight champ Kosei Tanaka (9-0, 5 KOs), 107.75, Japan, impressively kept his belt as he dropped previously unblemished KO artist, mandatory challenger Angel Acosta (16-1, 16 KOs), 108, Puerto Rico, in the fifth session, controlled the action with better precision and pounded out a unanimous decision (117-110 twice, 116-111) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Nagoya, Japan.

It’s a very hot non-stop punching fight by the hard-hitting youngsters. (More to come)

tanaka-acosta-sumio03.jpg-nggid0559065-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio01.jpg-nggid0559063-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio02.jpg-nggid0559064-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010tanaka-acosta-sumio16.jpg-nggid0559049-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio19.jpg-nggid0559043-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio20.jpg-nggid0559044-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio15.jpg-nggid0559048-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio18.jpg-nggid0559051-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio16.jpg-nggid0559049-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio17.jpg-nggid0559050-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio12.jpg-nggid0559053-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio13.jpg-nggid0559054-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio14.jpg-nggid0559055-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio08.jpg-nggid0559056-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio09.jpg-nggid0559057-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio04.jpg-nggid0559059-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio05.jpg-nggid0559060-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio06.jpg-nggid0559061-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio07.jpg-nggid0559062-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio10.jpg-nggid0559058-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio21.jpg-nggid0559045-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio22.jpg-nggid0559046-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010 tanaka-acosta-sumio23.jpg-nggid0559047-ngg0dyn-180x120x100-00f0w010c011r110f110r010t010



Date:  Saturday, May 20, 2017

WBO Junior Flyweight  Title Bout

Location: Takeda Teva Ocean Arena, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Promoter:   Hatanaka Promotions / Kiyoshi Hatanaka

Supervisor:   Leon Panoncillo

Referee:   Manuel Oliver Palomo

Judges:   Jerry Jakubco (117-110); Javier Alvarez (117-110); Giustino Di Giovanni (116-111)   

Results:    The WBO Junior Flyweight Title was retained by the Champion Kosei Tanaka against Angel Acosta by Unanimous Decision.


acosta-uutoni Photo: Hector Santos Guia/ Miguel Cotto Promotions, LLC

In a WBO jr flyweight world title eliminator, unbeaten rising star Angel “Tito” Acosta (16-0, 16 KOs) scored a tenth round TKO over WBO #1 ranked Jafet “The Lion” Uutoni (11-1, 4 KOs) on Saturday night at the Coliseo Roger Mendoza in promoter Miguel Cotto’s hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico. The bout was waved off at 1:01 of round ten. Acosta becomes the mandatory challenger and will now challenge WBO 108lb world champion Kosei Tanaka within the next 90 days.

“I felt great tonight, I am very happy with my performance. Was a really tough fight and I like the way I went thru 10 rounds,” said Acosta. “He was really tough, I never expect him to be like that, he caught me with some good shots but didn’t hurt me.”




All the way from Windhoeck in Namibia, WBO #1 ranked mini flyweight Jafet “The Lion” Uutoni (11-1, 4 KOs) has landed in Puerto Rico for his world title eliminator against unbeaten rising star Angel “Tito” Acosta (15-0, 15 KOs) on Saturday night at the Coliseo Roger Mendoza in promoter Miguel Cotto’s hometown of Caguas.

Jafet Uutoni: “Boxing is boxing all over the world, I’m ready to make a big fight and get the win. I had a long career as an amateur and as a professional. I have 12 fights, but I am more than prepared to be world champion and Acosta is in my way. On Saturday the road will be clear for my big opportunity against the champion Kosei Tanaka.”

The winner of the Acosta vs. Uutoni bout will become the mandatory challenger during the next 90 days to face the WBO Mini flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka who will attend the event.


Amateur Career

Preceded by:
Katsunari Takayama
WBO Minimumweight Champion
2015 May 30 – 2016 April
Succeeded by:
Katsunari Takayama
Preceded by:
Donnie Nietes
WBO Light Flyweight Champion
2016 Dec 31 –
Succeeded by:
Kosei Tanaka
Nickname(s) Chukyo no Kaibutu (中京の怪物?) “Monster of Chukyo”
Rated at
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Nationality Japanese
Born June 15, 1995 (age 21)
Tajimi, Gifu, Japan
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 8
Wins 8
Wins by KO 5
Losses 0

Date:   Saturday, December 31, 2016


Location: Memorial Hall, Gifu, Japan

Promoter:  Hatanaka Promotions / Kiyoshi Hatanaka

Supervisor: Jack Daniel Leigh

Referee: Raul Caiz Jr.

Judges: Deon Dwarte, Daniel Vicente Sandoval and Dr. Louis Moret

Results:   The WBO Junior Flyweight Championship Title was won by Kosei Tanaka against Moises Fuentes by KO in the fifth round.

TV:  CBC Television


By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Sumio Yamada

Unbeaten Japanese speedster Kosei Tanaka acquired his second world belt of the WBO 108-pound championship when he whipped Mexican veteran Moises Fuentes from the outset and caught him with a flurry of punches to badly drop him and score a fine TKO victory at 2:52 of the fifth round on Saturday in Gifu, Japan.

Tanaka, an enfant terrible at 21, seized his second belt in the eighth pro bout, and tied the Japanese record of Naoya Inoue.

Promoter: Hatanaka Promotions.

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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.



Kosei-Tanaka-vs-Saludar-jiji-press-getty Credit:  Photo by JIJI PRESS – Getty Images –

WBO strawweight titleholder Kosei Tanaka overcame a fifth-round knockdown to stop Filipino challenger Vic Saludar in round six at the Aichi Prefectural Gym in Nagoya, Japan, on New Year’s Eve.

The 25-year-old Saludar (11-2, 9 knockouts) was ahead by the tallies of 50-44 on two scorecards and 49-45 on the third, according to a copy of the cards posted on the Facebook page of Saludar’s promotional company, ALA Promotions.

That was all erased when Tanaka, THE RING’s No. 4 fighter at 105 pounds and an economics student at Chukyo University, dropped Saludar for the 10 count in round six with a left hook to the body. The time of stoppage was 2:15.

The win was the first defense of the WBO title which Tanaka (6-0, 3 KOs) won in May with a unanimous decision over Julian Yedras. Tanaka, 20, told RING earlier this week that he intended to move up in weight in the future.


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.


354869390 (Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp) –

The first world title fight to take place tomorrow comes from Aichi and will be aired on CBC and TBS.

That bout is the WBO Minimumweight title bout between unbeaten champion Kosei Tanaka(5-0, 2) and hard punching Filipino challenger Vic Saludar (11-1, 9).

On the scales both were very similar weighing in around 104¾lbs, well inside the divisional limit, and both looked in fantastic shape.

For Tanaka the weight is lighter than he was last time out, in his title winning performance against Julian Yedras, but was the same as he was against Ryuji Hara in his OPBF title win last year. For Saludar the weight is his lightest so far, and shows how much he has prepared for this one, the biggest of his professional career by far.


Screen Shot 2015-12-30 Kosei Tanaka(Screen shot)

When Kosei Tanaka won the vacant WBO strawweight title in May outpointing Julian Yedras. The victory made him the youngest major world titleholder in boxing. Tanaka turned 20 two weeks after beating his Mexican rival by unanimous decision.

After seven months Tanaka (5-0, 2 knockouts) looks to make a first defense of his belt when he faces the WBO’s No. 4-ranked contender Vic Saludar (11-1, 9 KOs) on Thursday evening at the Aichi Prefectural Gym in Nagoya, Japan.

While the uber-talented youngster is still in college he isn’t looking past his heavy-handed Filipino challenger. Tanaka has many goals in the sport to achieve, including going up in weight.

“I have various kinds of goals in boxing,” Tanaka told RingTV.com through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “I am still young, and therefore, very ambitious in my own future. I do not have any actual clear goals to talk about other than becoming a globally popular boxer, many people will cheer for.”

His performances in the ring to date have certainly caught the attention of the Japanese boxing scene and if his stock continues to rise he will doubtlessly become more popular in the West much like his countryman Naoya Inoue.

Former WBC junior featherweight champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka is Tanaka’s promoter/manager and believes his client can go a long way in the sport.

“Kosei has good mind, good technique and good physical ability as a boxer and, furthermore, he is very clever though he is still young,” Hatanaka said. “I have managed a boxing gym in Nagoya – the third (largest) city in Japan – for a long time, however, I have never seen such an excellent talent as Kosei.

“Since he is still young, his body is growing every day. Therefore, it will be difficult for him to maintain his weight of 105 pounds. However, if he gains his experience as a professional boxer and he can keep up his own appropriate weight of the moment, he will be able to exercise his talent and strength frighteningly. Boxing’s ‘Dream Boy’ will give his best efforts every day to make his dream happen. I am convinced that his honor will spread all around the world in the near future.”

Here’s what Tanaka had to say when RingTV.com spoke to him ahead of his maiden title defense.

RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on facing Saludar?

Kosei Tanaka – This bout will seem to become a very thrilling one, where both fighters can use their own speed and power.

RTV – What do you feel he brings to this fight in terms of strengths and weaknesses?

KT – His strengths are sharp punches and one-two punches. However, his weakness is a lack of experience for a 12-round match.

RTV – You won the WBO title back in May, outpointing Julian Yedras. Tell us about that fight.

KT – He was a great boxer with a good chin and strong mind, and therefore, I was not able to knock him out. It was very tough during the fight.

RTV – What did it mean to you personally when they announced the decision and you knew you were the champion?

KT – At the moment, my own perspective in my head had changed. Furthermore, the victory made me raise my own sights for boxing.

RTV – Did it change anything in your life?

KT – The victory gave me a license to fight against various strong boxers all around the world from now on.

RTV – There will have been seven months between the Yedras fight and the Saludar fight. What have you done in that time and why were you out of action for so long?

KT – It was just a result of incidental encounter of various circumstances. I was able to use the seven-month period as a chance to set my new aim, to prepare restarting and to have my eyes on myself and boxing.

RTV – It has been rumoured that you would unify against the experienced IBF champion Katsunari Takayama, what is the latest with regards that fight? Is the two of you fighting on the same card a prelude to a fight next year?

KT – The plan for the unification bout with Takayama has collapsed, and therefore, at the present, I do not have any comment on the bout. It might depend on the circumstances in the future.

RTV – You’re only 20, and big for a strawweight, but how much longer do you feel you can fight at 105-pounds?

KT – I will check it again at my next bout; however, I have my sights set on going up to heavier (weight classes).

RTV – You’re from Tajimi, in Gifu, what was your youth like and how did you become interested in and take up boxing?

KT – I started karate when I was in Kindergarten. I loved practicing Karate every day and I was eager to become a better karate player than any of my friends. I commenced boxing when I was in junior high school in order to improve my karate skill. I then realized I was better at boxing than karate.

RTV – Away from boxing what would you tell us about your life? 

KT – I love to eat any food. I do not have any specific hobby other than boxing. I always concentrate my attention on boxing, and therefore, I am not good at studying at my university. I am still a student at Chukyo University in Nagoya. I study Economics.

RTV – In closing do you have a message for Saludar?

KT – Let’s have a great bout at the best physical conditions.



WORLD Boxing Organization Asia Pacific minimum weight champion Vic  Saludar,  who is ranked No. 4 in the world, gets the biggest chance of his career when he battles Japan’s world champion Kosei Tanaka, the 20-year-old youngster with a record of 5-0, with 2 knockouts on New Year’s Eve in Nagoya, Japan.

One of the newest additions to the famed ALA Gym in Cebu, Saludar said he has been “more focused in training now because I know this is the biggest fight of my career.”

The 25-year-old Saluiddar, who has a record of 11-1 with 9 knockouts to his name, said this is a big chance for him as his dream is to become a world champion, which is the reason he turned pro after a highly promising amateur career.

Should Saludar win, he will join Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, the WBO light flyweight champion as the second world title holder from the ALA Gym.

Asked about possible adjustments against the Japanese world champion, Saludar indicated the adjustments will be done inside the ring, which will depend on how Tanaka fights.

He revealed he had discussed strategy with his coach and the plan is to |always be in a position in  front of him, “so I would always be ready to strike anytime and to make fast adjustments.”

Saludar believes his advantage is that Tanaka is not a powerful puncher.

“I would focus on that weakness and will try to catch him if there’s an opening. At the same time, I have to be careful against his punches that sometimes come  quickly,” said Saludar.

Tanaka, in only his second fight as a pro, fought world-rated Filipino Ronelle Ferreras and won a comfortable victory. In that bout, Tanaka demonstrated his speed and skills, despite having to take some solid body shots on the way to an eight-round unanimous decision  on March 16, 2014.

Tanaka won the vacant world title with a stunning 12th-round unanimous decision over Mexico’s favored Julian Yedras on May 30 this year.



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.



Report and Photo by Joe Koizumi

Unbeaten 19-year-old Japanese prospect Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2 KOs) will attempt to make history by winning the vacant WBO 105-pound belt against more experienced Mexican Julian Yedras (24-1, 13 KOs) on Saturday in Nagoya, Japan. The current Japanese record to win a world throne in a shortest career is held by WBO junior bantam ruler Naoya Inoue who acquired it in his sixth pro outing last December.

Tanaka, formerly a national high school champion, acquired the OPBF minimum belt–in his fourth pro bout–by halting undefeated defending titlist Ryuji Hara, then ranked #2 by the WBO, last October. Tanaka, as an amateur, had a grudge rival named Takuma Inoue, the younger brother of the aforementioned Naoya, but Tanaka scored three victories to two for Takuma in their five amateur competitions. Takuma Inoue entered the world ratings thanks to his upset triumph over Thailand’s Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. by a lopsided decision in his second pro bout. Takuma, 19, will dispute the vacant OPBF super-fly belt against Filipino Mark Anthony Gerald on July 6. But this is a story on Tanaka, not Takuma.

It might seem crazy to wise experts that our prospects are trying to run a race to acquire a world belt as quickly as possible to demonstrate their vast talent. Are you Usain Bolt? But it is true that our mass media, in Japan, pays great attention to such a race of first come, first served.

It is ex-WBC super-bantam champ Kiyoshi Hatanaka that handles the Wonder Boy in Nagoya as his manager/promoter. He dethroned WBC ruler Pedro Decima but yielded it to Daniel Zaragoza, both in 1990. Hatanaka, the very first world champ ever produced in Nagoya, believes in his boy’s coronation on Saturday, saying, “Tanaka is going to score some remarkable achievements in the near future, and this is his first touchstone.”

Yedras, 27, has good credentials, and looks confident of his victory. The Mexican hombre once acquired the vacant WBC youth silver minimumweight belt by halting Ramon Pena in five rounds in 2011. He registered twenty-one consecutive victories from his debut and lost a decision to Carlos Bultrago in 2013, but scored three wins in a row since. Given Tanaka has talent, Yedras is blessed with experience. It will be a very sensational and competitive fight. Time will tell.


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