By Joe Koizumi
Spring has come in Japan. We enjoy watching beautiful cherry blossoms under which people love drinking and chatting on holidays. From the fistic point of view, however, this April must be the hottest month in history with great many title bouts to be scheduled with world, OPBF and national titles on the line.
Today (April 7), WBA bantam titlist Koki Kameda will defend his belt against Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym of Thailand in Osaka. Tomorrow (April 8), we will witness a WBC world title tripleheader in which bantam Shinsuke Yamanaka, in the main event, will put his belt on the line against ex-WBC fly and ex-OPBF bantam ruler Malcolm Tunacao; ex-Olympian and southpaw champ Toshiyuki Igarashi will defend his throne against ex-WBA 105-pound champ, compatriot Akira Igarashi; newly crowned 130-pounder ruler Gamaliel Diaz of Mexico will face hard-punching southpaw Takashi Miura in Tokyo.
On April 10, WBA female super-fly champ Naoko Yamaguchi will meet Italian Loredana Piazza with her belt at stake in Tokyo. On April 21, Japanese 140-pound champ Shinya Iwabuchi who lately renounced his national belt will have a mandatory shot at the OPBF throne against Minuk Kim in Tokyo.
The month of May also seems hot enough, as we will see a couple of world title twinbills in Tokyo and Osaka. On May 6, WBA 130-pound kingpin, unbeaten Takashi Uchiyama will defend his belt against Venezuelan Jaider Parra (the younger brother of Lorenzo Parra) and new WBA 115-pound titlist Kohei Kono will risk his belt against interim champ Liborio Solis from Venezuela in Tokyo. It will feature a couple of confrontations of Japanese and Venezuelans. On May 8, in Osaka, WBA 108-pound champ, unbeaten Kazuto Ioka will put his belt at stake against Thailander Wisanu Kokietgym, and his stablemate and newly crowned WBA 105-pound champ Ryo Miyazaki will face Mexican Carlos Velarde with his belt on the line.
Also, on April 14, in Jakarta of Indonesia, Japan’s Satoshi Hosono will have an ambitious shot against unbeaten national hero, WBA 126-pound super-champ Chris John. On May 3, in Thailand, WBC 115-pound titleholder Yota Sato will defend his belt against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai because of the option agreement.
Plus, we look forward to watching four national title bouts and two OPBF title goes in April. With strong wind blowing cherry blossoms fall in the air, which is a very picturesque scene. But our fistic scene will be extremely hot with such a tight schedule. We, fight scribes here, will have to work our computer at full capacity.