WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka and WBC light flyweight champion Yu Kimura both passed their weigh-ins on Thursday before Friday’s WBC world title doubleheader in Kyoto.
Yamanaka, who cleared the 53.5-kg limit by 100 grams, will be the favorite when he defends his title for the 10th time against third-ranked Liborio Solis.
The 33-year-old Yamanaka has a 24-0-2 record (17 knockouts) and has the edge in both speed and power, although he is up against a Venezuelan WBA super flyweight titleholder who has previously beaten Japanese opponents.
Solis defeated Kohei Kono and Daiki Kameda in 2013. The Venezuelan has a variety of punches that arrive from all angles, including an uppercut, and will require special attention. Yamanaka will seek to find a rhythm with his right jabs so he can set up his straight “divine” left.
“I want to win the milestone 10th title by knockout,” Yamanaka said.
Solis has a 23-3 record (10 knockouts) with one draw.
Kimura, who passed the 48.9-kg limit by 200 grams, will be up against Mexican Ganigan Lopez as he bids for his first title defense at Shimazu Arena Kyoto.
Kimura has an 18-2-1 record (three KOs). All eyes will be on how his highly rated defensive style can cope with the Mexican’s direct approach in what is expected to be a close, tactical battle.
Odaira loses title bid
Nakhon Ratchasima Thailand
Challenger Go Odaira failed in his bid to dethrone Thai champion Wanheng Meenayothin on Thursday, losing by knockout in their WBC minimumweight title match.
Wanheng, 30, sent seventh-ranked Odaira down in the fifth round, successfully defending his title for a fourth time to extend his unbeaten record to 41 bouts, including 16 knockouts.
“I gave it everything I had and there are no regrets,” said Odaira, who after a lively start lost his rhythm as he hit the canvas in the third round and was unable to show his strengths after being put up against the ropes.
“He (Wanheng) was strong and a good fighter,” said Odaira.
The 31-year-old Odaira, who was making his second crack at a world title and first since losing to countryman Katsunari Takayama on New Year’s Eve in 2014, dropped to 12-5-3 (one KO).
Japanese boxers have never won in 21 world title bouts (20 losses, one draw) in Thailand that have been approved by the Japan Boxing Federation.
“This time it was just a case of me being weak,” Odaira said. “If (Japanese) fighters in the future fighting in Thailand can acclimatize themselves to the heat, then history can be changed.