By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda
WBC bantam champ Hozumi Hasegawa (28-2, 12 KOs), making his eleventh defense, will risk his belt against WBO ruler Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel (40-2-2, 30 KOs), a skillful Mexican hard-puncher, tomorrow (Friday) in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese southpaw, 28, tipped the beam at 117.75, a quarter pound lighter than the 118-pound limit, which Montiel, 31, scaled in at.
In another WBC super-bantam title go, defending champ Toshiaki Nishioka (35-4-3, 22 KOs), Japan, will also put his throne on the line against unbeaten Filipino challenger Balweg Bangoyan (15-0, 7 KOs) over twelve frames. Both weighed in at the 122-pound class limit.
The WBC officials are as follows:
Hasegawa-Montiel: referee Laurence Cole (US); judges Duane Ford (US), Daniel Van de Wiele (Belgium), and Steve Morrow (US); supervisor Mauricio Sulaiman (Mexico)
Nishioka-Bangoyan: referee Gelacio Perez (Mexico); Malcolm Bulner (Australia), Noppharat Sricharoen (Thailand) and Dong-Ahn Park (Korea); supervisor Juan Sanchez (US). The ring announcer is Jimmy Lennon for both title bouts.
This reporter received an interview of TV Azteca after the weigh-in ceremony and expressed a humble opinion on the Hasegawa-Montiel encounter, predicting a 50-50 confrontation. Vamos a ver la pelea estelar (Let’s watch the spectacular fight).