By Joe Koizumi
Split-site triple world title promotions are ready in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan, just two days prior to the highly anticipated events. WBC featherweight champ Takahiro Aoh (17-1-1, 8 KOs), a Japanese southpaw, will risk his belt against perennial top contender Elio Rojas (20-1, 13 KOs) in Tokyo. In Kobe, there will be a couple of world title bouts. WBC bantamweight ruler Hozumi Hasegawa (26-2, 10 KOs), a Japanese lefty making his ninth defense, will put his throne on the line against Nestor Rocha (21-1, 7 KOs), a game and fresh Mexican-American. Unbeaten Nicaraguan KO artist Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (23-0, 20 KOs) will defend his WBA minimum crown against ex-WBA/WBC titlist Katsunari Takayama (23-3, 9 KOs), a Japanese footworker, over twelve. All the three competitive bouts will be shown by the same network named Nippon TV in Japan.
Click the photo to go to the next photo
Yesterday (Saturday) we saw medical examinations of the contestants, all of whom were declared fit and ready by JBC’s ring doctors. Today, press conferences took place in Tokyo and Kobe, respectively.
In Tokyo, the WBC 126-pound champ Aoh smilingly said, “He (Rojas) looks naughty, having been a bad boy in his boyhood.” The formidable challenger Rojas, whose amateur mark was reportedly 205-3 (including his victory over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2001), denied the champ’s impression, saying “No, I have been a good boy. When young, I was studying hard.”
In Kobe, the WBC bantam kingpin Hasegawa said, “I am ready and I’ve been in good condition. However the fight should go, I’ll keep my belt with my best effort.” Rocha, pointing to his championship belt, said, “What I want is there. I hope to bring it back, since I am also in tip-top shape after my strenuous training for months.”
The 22-year-old sensational Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez said, “I wish to dedicate this victory to our national hero and three-class champ Alexis Arguello.” Takayama, 26, replied to our reporters questions, “I’m more experienced than Gonzalez. I’ll show that by capturing the belt from him.”
The officials were introduced to our press people therein, as follows:
WBC feather title bout: referee Laurence Cole (US); judges: Duane Ford (US), Anek Hongtongkam (Thailand) and Gelasio Perez (Mexico); supervisor: Joe Dwyer (US).
WBC bantam title bout referee: Gary Ritter (US); judges: Stephen Blea (US), Alan Krebs (US) and Miguel Acuna (Mexico); supervisor: Frank Quill (Australia).
WBA minimum title bout referee: Silvestre Abainza (Philippines); judges: Levi Martinez (US), Sergio Caiz (US) and Pinit Prayadsab (Thailand); supervisor :Yansup Shim (Korea).
The Tokyo event is presented by Teiken Promotions, while the Kobe twinbill is promoted by Shinsei Promotions in association with Teiken. Japanese fight fans are looking forward to watching interesting and intense competitions soon.