Feature Story

World Title twinbill in Japan

By Joe Koizumi

Akihiko Honda’s Teiken Promotions Inc. announced a sensational world title twinbill on Monday. WBC bantamweight champ Hozumi Hasegawa (28-2, 12 KOs), making his eleventh defense, will put his belt on the line against WBO ruler Fernando Montiel (40-2-2, 30 KOs), Mexico, in Tokyo, Japan, on April 30. WBC super-bantam champ Toshiaki Nishioka (35-4-3, 22 KOs) will defend his throne against unbeaten Filipino challenger Balweg Bangoyan (15-0, 7 KOs) over twelve rounds. Also, ex-WBC feather titlist Takahiro Aoh (18-2-1, 8 KOs) will engage in a tune-up go against Whyber Garcia (22-7, 15 KOs), Panama, prior to his WBC 130-pound title shot.

Hasegawa said, “I’m excited to face highly-reputed Montiel to prove my strength. It must be the most important fight in my career.” Nishioka said, “I welcome the fast-rising unbeaten challenger, whom I’ll fight with great care and concentration.”

Aoh, a 25-year-old southpaw prospect, is promised a crack at the winner of the forthcoming WBC 130-pound title bout of Vitali Tajbert and Mauro Gutierrez in May. Aoh said, “I look forward to winning the second world belt after showing a good victory in this tune-up bout.”

Hasegawa will not take the WBO belt even upon his triumph, since the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) hasn’t affiliated with the WBO but only with the WBC and the WBA—for the sake of quality control of world championships. That’s the JBC’s strict policy against the proliferation. The JBC approved this so-called unification bout under this condition.

Hasegawa, 29, has scored five consecutive stoppages in defending his WBC crown all within four rounds, and hopes to continue his KO streak even against Montiel who is well-known for his aggressiveness and ring-craft.

Nishioka, 33, became sensational when he dispatched highly-regarded Jhonny Gonzalez with a single southpaw left in Mexico last May, and has kept his WBC 122-pound belt three times all within the distance. The Japanese lefty wishes to deck his fourth defense with an impressive knockout.

The world title twinbill will be held at the Budokan (Martial Arts Hall) the capacity of which is 15,000.

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