Friday, August 24, 2012
Three title bouts set for Japan
By Dan Rafael
The fight schedule slowed over the summer but heats back up in the fall -- and not only here and in Europe, but also in Japan.
On Friday, three world title bouts were announced:
• Japan's Takahiro Ao (23-2-1, 10 KOs), who won a junior lightweight belt in 2010 by outpointing Vitali Tajbert, will make his fourth title defense against Gamaliel Diaz (36-9-2, 17 KOs) of Mexico on Oct. 27 in Tokyo. Diaz, who handed Robert Guerrero his only defeat in a 2005 featherweight bout (and got knocked out in the immediate rematch in 2006), has lost his two previous world title bouts. He got knocked out by Jorge Linares in the eighth round of a featherweight title bout in 2007 and was stopped in the 11th round of a junior lightweight interim title bout by Humberto Soto in 2008.
Ao said he is hopeful that after a win against Diaz he will be able to meet countryman Takashi Uchiyama in a 130-pound title unification bout.
• Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (16-0-2, 11 KOs) of Japan will make his second defense against former junior bantamweight titleholder Tomas Rojas (39-13-1, 26 KOs) of Mexico in Sendai, Japan, on Nov. 3.
On the same card, flyweight titleholder Toshiyuki Igarashi (16-1-1, 10 KOs) of Japan will make his first defense against Nestor Narvaes (19-0-2, 9 KOs) of Argentina.