By Joe Koizumi
It is a unique world title twinbill as one fight is held in Tokyo and another in Kobe and they will be shown by a same network Nippon TV on Thursday. The first to be shown will be the WBC featherweight title bout, where Oscar Larios (65-6-1, 41 KOs), a Mexican warrior, will put his belt on the line against Japanese southpaw prospect Takahiro Aoh (16-1-1, 8 KOs) at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. The second on air will be the WBC bantamweight title go, in which Hozumi Hasegawa (25-2, 9 KOs), a Japanese southpaw champ, will risk his throne against official challenger Vusi Malinga (18-2-1, 11 KOs) at the World Memorial Hall in Kobe. Hasegawa is making his eighth defense since he dethroned Veeraphol Nakhornluang-Promotion in 2005.
Last time Hasegawa and Aoh participated in world title bouts on the same promotion in Tokyo on October 16, but this time they will participate in different bills since Hasegawa is popular in his native Kobe, while Aoh in Tokyo. As soon as the Larios-Aoh bout is over, the television camera will be switched to the Hasegawa-Malinga title go.
Today there happened a press conference in Tokyo and Kobe, and the WBC officials were announced as follows:
For the WBC feather title bout: Referee Kenny Bayless (US); judges Gale Van Hoy (US), Massimo Barrovecchio (Italy) and Anek Hongtongkam (Thailand)—the dream team of the WBC—and supervisor Frank Quill (Australia). Their previous encounter ended in a controversial split duke in favor of Larios, though Aoh scored a bad knockdown of the champ in the fourth and looked a winner rather than a loser. So, it will be a crucial “grudge fight.”
For the WBC bantam title bout: Referee Laurence Cole (US); judges Marty Denkin (US), Miguel Moran (Mexico) and Jaebong Kim (Korea); and supervisor Chulkee Kim (Korea).
This reporter will write a preview on the highly expected doubleheader after the weigh-in ceremonies at the different places. I wish I would have another body to cover both.