Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez gave Kosei Tanaka fits for a while in today’s WBO flyweight title fight in Nagoya, Japan, but the home fighter found the sweet spot and poured on the body work for a seventh round stoppage, retaining his 112-pound title.

Tanaka (14-0, 8 KO) had clear problems with the southpaw style and quick feet of Gonzalez (22-3-1, 13 KO) in the first couple of rounds, but dropped the visiting challenger with a body shot in the third. Gonzalez, though, was undeterred, and scored a questionable knockdown of his own, landing a cuffing left hand that landed on the back of Tanaka’s neck, which was ruled a knockdown.

Gonzalez kept boxing effectively and neutering much of Tanaka’s offense in the fifth round, but Tanaka started finding the body again a bit in the sixth, setting up a monster seventh round where he dropped Gonzalez three times, forcing a stoppage by referee Celestino Ruiz. It has to be said that Gonzalez got up every single time, despite obvious pain, and on the final two times he rose from the canvas, the Japanese fans reacted with genuine shock and admiration for his toughness.

Still, the fight being stopped when it was was fair enough — Gonzalez probably could have continued on, but Tanaka had flipped the switch and was mowing him down, living up to his status as the man widely considered the top 112-pound fighter in boxing today.

Via www.badlefthook.com
Photo by Andre Ueda

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.