• Kyodo


Twenty-year-old WBO minimumweight champion Kosei Tanaka will make the first defense of his crown against fourth-ranked Filipino Vic Saludar on New Year’s Eve, Tanaka’s Hatanaka gym announced Tuesday.

“I’ve been increasing my power. I’d like to finish my final bout this year in a pleasing fashion,” said Tanaka, who will take on Saludar at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya.

Tanaka defeated Mexican Julian Yadras by unanimous decision in May in his fifth pro fight, setting a Japanese record for the fewest fights needed for a world title.

Tanaka is 5-0 with two knockouts since making his debut in Nov. 2013, while the 25-year-old Saludar is 11-1 with nine KOs.

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