• Kyodo

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Former World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka said Tuesday he will fight Filipino Ronnie Baldonado in a non-title bout on March 31 in Nagoya.

Tanaka, who relinquished his WBO crown last December in order to move up a weight class, will be making his first appearance at flyweight against Baldonado.

The match will also be his first since fracturing both eye sockets in a ninth-round technical knockout victory over Thailand’s Rangsan Chayanram last September in Osaka.

The injuries derailed plans for a domestic blockbuster bout between Tanaka and WBA light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi at the end of last year.

Tanaka, 22, said he had been sparring without any problems stemming from the injuries and was looking forward to competing at a heavier weight.

“I will perform better (at flyweight) than at light flyweight,” he said. “I chose to go up a class because it was difficult to keep weight off.”

Tanaka has a 10-0 record with six knockouts, while Baldonado is 10-0-1 (seven KOs).

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