It was announced by Watanabe Promotions that handles the defending champ Kono, who recently sustained a rib injury to have the mandatory title bout postponed for months. But Kono has completely recovered and is strenuously training to defend his championship against the drudge rival.
Since Kameda Gym’s activity in Japan has been restrained by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) due to its antagonism against the JBC, the Japanese boys will have to exchange gloves abroad with Kameda under the wing of Al Haymon. The anticipated Kono-Kameda contest will be staged by Warriors Promotions. While Kono was making a press conference with his impresario Watanabe last Monday, Kameda abruptly appeared to urge the champ’s fighting spirit verbally and quickly left the gym with the stunned press people left. It will be a sensational confrontation for Japanese fight fans.
Veteran Japanese campaigner, fast-punching Katsunari Takayama (29-7, 11 KOs) will put his IBF minimumweight belt on the line against compatriot and ex-national ruler Ryuji Hara (19-1, 11 KOs) in Osaka, Japan, on September 27. It will be the first title contest in the world title doubleheader—beneath the WBA flyweight title contest of defending champ Kazuto Ioka against Roberto Domingo Sosa of Argentina.
Hara, seven years his junior at 25, once acquired four national high school championships, but refused to turn professional and entered a school to cultivate jockeys. Hara, however, returned to boxing and entered Ohashi Gym to seize the Japanese and OPBF minimum belts. It was up-and-coming Kosei Tanaka that dethroned the OPBF titlist Hara via tenth round stoppage in October of the previous year. But the crestfallen Hara made a fine comeback by dispatching Petchnamchai Sor. Sakulwong in only two sessions, and now was rendered an opportunity to square off against Takayama in quest of the IBF lightest belt. It will be an interesting encounter of the small speedsters.
Having defeated Mariana “Barbie” Juarez by a split decision in Mexico, Japan’s Naoko Fujioka (13-1, 6 KOs) will face Korean Hee-Jung Yuh (15-2, 6 KOs) for the vacant WBO female bantamweight championship in Tokyo, Japan, on October 19. Fujioka, five years her senior at 40, is still fresh and strong, and still holds the WBA 115-pound belt to her credit. After winning the vacant WBO throne, Fujioka will decide which belt to renounce. Fujioka said, “I’ll fight in the 108-118 pound categories, and wish to acquire four or five belts in the future.” Naoko is going to be a female Hopkins.