The World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced the officials assigned for this Friday, July 13th bout between Mini Flyweight World Champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5 KOs), from Japan, and Vic Saludar (17- 3, 10 KOs), from the Philippines, in a scheduled 12-round match.

The duel will be held at the Central Gym in the city of Kobe, Japan, as the main event of a fight card presented by Shinsei Promotions.

Californian Raúl Caíz, Jr will be the third man in the ring.

Daniel Sandoval, from California, Carlos Ortíz, from New York and Pinit Prayadsab, from Thailand, were appointed judges of the fight.

The supervisor of the fight will be Leon Panoncillo, Jr, Vice President of the Asia Pacific region for the WBO.

For Yamanaka, it will be the second defense of the title he won at the Shiroyama Sky Dome in Japan, on August 27, 2017, by defeating his countryman Tatsuya Fukuhara, via unanimous decision. He then defended the title against Mexican Moisés Calleros, who fell by 8th round technical knockout. For his part, Saludar, ranked third in the WBO at 105 pounds, has held the Asia Pacific and Oriental titles.

Japan’s Ryuya Yamanaka will make the second defense of his WBO Mini-Flyweight title against dangerous Filipino puncher Vic Saludar, at the Central Gym, in his hometown of Kobe, Japan, on Friday.

Yamanaka, who is ranked No. 4 by The Ring at 105 pounds, won the title last August, edging compatriot Tatsuya Fukuhara, in a hard-fought battle. He retained his belt for the first time, surprisingly stopping the man Fukuhara had bested, battle-tested Moises Calleros, forcing the Mexican to retire in his corner, at the conclusion of eight rounds, last March.

It was an impressive win for Yamanaka (16-2, 5 knockouts), who is more known as a boxer than a puncher. He feels that, although the result looks good, he has room for improvement.

“I had prepared and trained very well with my trainer Mr. Masato Yamashita for the last bout with Calleros,” Yamanaka told The Ring through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “I think that such preparation and training resulted in my victory. I have not been satisfied with the result, and therefore, I will continue doing my best to grow stronger.”

The most noticeable thing the 23-year-old has improved in his game, since winning the title, is his greater physicality, as illustrated by the Calleros victory.

“I think that I have improved my offensive strength and increased varieties of my offensive ability,” he said.

Those fights, as well as excellent preparation under the tutelage of Yamashita, have helped Yamanaka prepare for this potentially tricky, upcoming defense, though he remains confident of victory.

“Saludar is very powerful and skillful boxer,” he explained. “It seems that he has weakness; however I will come up with my answer to it during the bout with him.

“This bout will become my toughest one I have ever had; however, who will get the last laugh is, of course, me.”

Yamashita runs the Shinsei Gym in Kobe and produced the exceptional former three-division titlist Hozumi Hasegawa. He also works with Shun Kubo, who held the WBA junior featherweight title as recently as last year, promising prospects Yuki Yamauchi, who will make his debut on the undercard, and Tetsura Ohashi.

Yamashita has high hopes for his newest protege.

“I hope that he will be able to become an esteemed world champion, in light of his behavior, and also private life,” said the trainer. “I would like him to win world championships in three weight classes. He is still young.

“He will fight at strawweight this year and later go up to junior flyweight. I think he will be able to fight up to flyweight.”

By Anson Wainwright

In another historic first for Philippine boxing, two brothers will fight for world title belts on the same month against Japanese champions.

Vic Saludar (17-3,10KO’s) will challenge WBO minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka ( 16-2,5KO’s) on July 13 in Kobe, Japan. Then on July 27, Froilan Saludar (28-2-1,19KO’s) will go for the WBO flyweight title against reigning champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2,9KO’s) in Xiamen, China.

Yamanaka won the title last year by unanimous decision against countryman Tatsuya Fukuhara. This will be the second defense for Yamanaka, having stopped Mexican Moises Calleros in eight rounds last March.

Vic Saludar challenged Japanese Kosei Tanaka for the WBO world minimumweight title on New Year’s Eve 2015 and was leading on the scorecards and even knocked down the Japanese in round five before he succumbed to a hard body shot in the subsequent round. Vic has since gone 6W-1L since the Tanaka fight and is currently ranked number three in the June 2018 ratings of the WBO.

Froilan Saludar has scored five straight wins by KO/TKO since the loss to Japanese Takuma Inoue in a non-title bout two years ago. The June 2018 rankings of the WBO has him at number four.

Kimura is well known in China, having dethroned Chinese boxing hero Zou Shiming last year by 11th round TKO. He defended his title once against countryman Toshiyuki Igarashi last December by 9th round TKO.

This historic Japan vs Philippines match-up in July has been given the green light by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

The Saludar brothers are managed by Kathy Rosillo and promoted by Kenneth Rontal. They are training in Gen.Santos City with coaches Michael John Palacio, Boy Donaire and Ariel Saludar. The China bout is promoted by Top King Promotions’ Wang Fei and Liu Gang.

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

Photo by

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Sumio Yamada

WBO 105-pound champ Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5 KOs), 105, impressively kept his belt in his initial defense as he was awarded a TKO victory after the eighth round when Mexican Moises Calleros (28-8-1, 16 KOs), 105, quit on the stool because of his absorption of punishment in the eighth on Sunday in Kobe, Japan.

Yamanaka utilized his faster left hand to be leading on points: Gerard White (US), Jose Roberto Torres (Puerto Rico) both 80-72, and Salven Lagumbay (Philippines) 78-74, all for Yamanaka. The ref was Jose H. Rivera (Puerto Rico). Calleros showed his retaliation with body shots to the fleet-footed champ in the third and fourth, but Yamanaka took the pace and accelerated his furious attack to hurt the game Mexican with a flurry of punches in the fatal session.

Before this reporter writes a detailed fight report, I wish to describe Ryuya Yamanaka’s heart-warming life story to support his family. His mother Rie, 46, divorced with six children including the oldest son Ryuya when he was only thirteen. She devoted all herself to having them grow up within a very limited economy. Since she had to take care of small sons and daughters in the daytime, Rie worked at night–serving as a dishwasher, taxi car washer, night sweeper, etc.

Ryuya gave up going to high school and began to work at the age of sixteen to support his mother and family. The shaven skulled Ryuya happened to watch his future idol and club senior, then WBC bantamweight champ Hazumi Hasegawa successfully defend his belt by a spectacular knockout, and made up his mind to enter the same boxing club, Shinsei Gym. His younger brother Daiki, 19, also followed a same footstep and became a professional boxer in the minimum division, scoring a 5-2 ledger.

For what does he fight? Ryuya says, “I strongly wish to build a house and gift it to my mother and family.” They lived in a small apartment together since his childhood, and it is Ryuya’s strong motivation to keep defending his world belt to realize his dream to have his family live in a new house with his ring earnings.

Japan, generally speaking, has become rich and a great majority of the younger generation seldom know poverty and hunger. But Ryuya Yamanaka had a real hunger for fame and fortune for the sake of his family to have them enjoy a wealthy life. Let’s go back to review the title bout where Yamanaka displayed a remarkable improvement and unexpectedly halted the highly regarded Mexican hombre.

Ryuya Yamanaka, unlike great WBC 118-pound champ Shinsuke Yamanaka, hadn’t been highly evaluated by our fight scribes because of (1) a low KO ratio (15-2, only 4 KOs), (2) a previous first-round knockout loss by Kenta Shimizu in his fifth bout of the national four-round tourney and (3) his outboxing style (people here love aggressive punchers). He lost a split verdict to free-swinging Filipino Roque Lauro in 2014, which was his last setback with eight consecutive victories since. Ryuya displayed very sharp outboxing in acquiring the vacant OPBF 105-pound belt by outspeeding and outpunching top ranked OPBF contender Merlito Sabillo en route to a lopsided decision (119-110, 118-110, 117-111) in Kobe in November 2016.

Having moved up to be the WBO top challenger, Yamanaka went to the champion’s home turf—Ashikita gun (ward) in Kumamoto Prefecture—to have a mandatory shot against compatriot Tatsuya Fukuhara last August. An obvious underdog Ryuya amazingly caused an upset and wrested the WBO minimumweight belt by a unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113 twice) over twelve hard-fought rounds. Yamanaka outlegged the game southpaw infighter Fukuhara to win the belt.

Mexican Moises Calleros was the hombre that Fukuhara struggled to beat on a split decision (116-112 twice, 113-115) in the WBO title bout for the vacant championship in February 2017. Ryuya’s manager/promoter Masato Yamashita, in this voluntary defense, selected the tough and dangerous Calleros in his first defense.

From the outset, Ryuya displayed good jabs and fast footwork to take the initiative. Faster on hand and foot, Yamanaka was in command in the first two sessions. But Calleros positively attempted to mix it up in the middle or close range in the third and fourth sessions. Ryuya, however, regained his rhythm and footwork from the fifth onward, and worked the body with solid shots that apparently weakened the game Mexican. Jabbing with precision, Ryuya completely dominated the pace and hurt the onrushing Mexican with solid and accurate uppercuts to the face.

The fatal eighth witnessed Ryuya positively turn loose with sharp left-right combos and pin him to the ropes with a flurry of punches, and Calleros barely weathered the storm of Ryuya’s aggression. But it was surprising that Calleros quit going on after the eighth, which might show his damage caused by Yamanaka’s determined onslaught.

The victor jubilantly said in the ring, “I’m happy to win and defend my belt. Mother, I always thank for your support!” The crestfallen loser with a swollen face said, “Yamanaka was fast and skillful. His uppercut really hurt me.”

His manager Yamashita smilingly said, “I trained his left hand exclusively, and he improved his power of the left hand in jabbing and left-hooking. He is still twenty-two, and will become stronger with his discipline.”

The champ will enjoy a vacation to accompany his family to Nagashima Spa Land, a family resort place. The still-improving Ryuya may become an excellent champion with good footwork and sharp jabbing.

WBO supervisor: Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (Japan).
Promoter: Shinsei Promotions.

Yamanaka-Calleros Full Report