By Joe Koizumi
WBC bantamweight champ Hozumi Hasegawa (27-2, 11 KOs), making his commemorative tenth defense, will put his belt on the line against Puerto Rican Eric Morel (41-2, 21 KOs), ex-WBA flyweight titlist, in Kobe, Japan, on December 18. It was announced by his promoter/manager/trainer Masato Yamashita at a press conference yesterday. The 29-year-old Japanese southpaw seems to have abruptly become a hard-puncher, as he lately registered four pulverizing defenses in a row: Cristian Faccio (TKO2), Alejandro Valdez (TKO2), Vusi Malinga (TKO1) and Nestor Rocha (TKO1). Morel, however, will not be an easy challenger, as he, ranked atop by the WBO, is an excellent boxer-puncher with speed, skills and power, plus experience. After his comeback Morel, 34, decked six victories straight with three within the distance to his credit. Even if the Pueruto Rican veteran isn’t so easy, we, Japanese aficionados, look forward to watching Hasegawa’s fifth consecutive defense by KO, though we wish to see him fight a little longer than one or two rounds. Former WBC feather champ Takahiro Aoh (17-2-1, 8 KOs), a fast-moving and quick-punching southpaw, will appear on the undercard in his first appearance since his forfeiture of the belt to Elio Rojas on points this July.