• Kyodo


WBO minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka will return to the ring and make his first world title defense against a Mexican challenger in March, his Shinsei Gym said Wednesday.

Yamanaka, who dethroned fellow Japanese Tatsuya Fukuhara by a unanimous decision in August last year, will take on fourth-ranked Moises Calleros in a match on March 18. The venue has not been announced yet.

The 22-year-old Yamanaka has been sidelined with a left orbital blowout fracture he sustained in his fight with Fukuhara. He underwent surgery on his eye socket in September.

“I don’t feel like a champion yet,” said Yamanaka in a press conference at a Kobe hotel.

“I want to get a convincing win so I can be proud of myself,” he added.

Yamanaka has 15 wins, including four by knockout, and two losses, while the 28-year-old Calleros is 28-7-1 with 16 KOs.

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