By Joe Koizumi
We attended a deluxe press conference at the Tokyo Dome Hotel on Tuesday to announce a world title twinbill to be promoted by Akihiko Honda’s Teiken Promotions on October 10. It will be not only a boxing event but also one of many entertainments celebrated by Japanese cable television WOWOW’s twelve-hour commemoration program named “WOW FES (WOWOW Festival), along with music concert, movie show, et al.
WBC super-bantam champ Toshiaki Nishioka (34-4-3, 21 KOs), Japan, will risk his 122-pound belt against ex-WBO ruler Ivan Hernandez (25-3-1, 15 KOs), Mexico, over twelve rounds. Also, unbeaten WBA super-feather titlist Jorge Linares (27-0, 18 KOs), a Japan-based Venezuelan called “El Nino de Oro (Golden Boy),” will put his 130-pound throne against another Mexican, unbeaten Juan Carlos Salgado (20-0-1, 14 KOs) over twelve.
Having annihilated Jhonny Gonzalez with a single southpaw left in Monterey, Mexico, last May, Nishioka has become one of the most highly evaluated champs here in Japan, where he is expected to make his third defense via KO route in a row from his first defense on. Nishioka, a slick-punching southpaw hard-puncher, 33, is still fresh from his finest defense abroad, and said he would concentrate on this defense despite a rumored encounter with Rafael Marquez in the US in the nearest future.
Linares, 24, also previously scored an impressive stoppage of Josafat Perez in keeping his WBA belt in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, this June. It was his initial defense since the vastly talented Venezuelan acquired his second world throne, following the WBC feather belt last year. Linares replied to our press people’s questions in Japanese, saying, “Salgado is a good and strong challenger, but I’ll train hard to keep my belt. I’d like to stay in this category for two more years before moving up to the lightweight division to win my third title.”
This promotion is called “Homecoming” as the heroes, Nishioka and Linares, returned to their home turf and, this time, will respond to the Mexicans’ challenge. The Mexican boxers, mentally strong and physically durable especially in their world title shots, will invade Tokyo to capture their prestigious belts.
To support the doubleheader will be the OPBF feather title bout between defending champ Satoshi “Bazooka” Hosono (15-0, 12 KOs) and ex-OPBF ruler and ex-WBA world challenger Hiroyuki Enoki (28-2-2, 20 KOs). Also, newly crowned Japanese 130-pound champ Takashi Miura (16-1-2, 14 KOs) will defend his national belt against Masayuki Koguchi (18-5-2, 6 KOs) who has become so popular by making it a rule to enter the ring with his various kinds of wig to have the audience burst into laughter.
Masahiko “Fighting” Harada, formerly two-time world champ and president of Japan Pro Boxing Association (JPBA), celebrated the big press conference before many journalists and TV people, and said, “October 10th was the day I wrested the world flyweight belt from Pone Kingpetch in 1962. I wish all the participants a good luck.” We look forward to watching the sensational event to be shown nationwide through WOWOW.