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Shun Kubo to challenge Chinese champion Xu Can for WBA featherweight title in May

Kyodo

Shun Kubo will challenge for a world title in a second weight class when he moves up to face WBA featherweight world champion Xu Can of China next month, his gym said Friday.

The clash between Kubo, the former WBA super bantamweight champion, and Xu, who became the country’s first WBA champion in January, will take place May 26 in the latter’s hometown of Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province.

The 25-year-old Xu, who will make his first title defense, is 16-2 (two knockouts).

Kubo, 29, is currently 10th in the WBA featherweight rankings and has a record of 13-1 (nine KOs).

He won the organization’s super bantamweight title in April 2017 but lost it in a fight with Daniel Roman that September.

Undefeated light flyweight champ Carlos Canizales of Venezuela (21-0-1, 17 KOs) will defend his WBA title against Sho Kimura (18-2-2, 11 KOs) in the other title bout on the card.

In related news, it was announced that Kazuto Ioka will fight Aston Palicte of the Philippines for the vacant World Boxing Organization super flyweight title on June 19.

The 30-year-old Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs) is attempting to become the first Japanese man to win world titles in four divisions.

The bout at Makuhari Messe will be his first since an unsuccessful bout at the same belt against Filipino Donnie Nietes last December.

Nietes declined a mandatory defense against No. 1 contender Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs), thus vacating the belt and giving Ioka another shot.

“It’s rare to get another chance at the title right away. I absolutely have to make it count,” Ioka said. “Without a win, I can’t aspire to go down this road any further.”

Ioka and his team will fly to the United States on Saturday to hold a training camp.

“I want to become the first Japanese four-division champion and do it on home soil,” said Ioka, who retired in 2017 before returning to the ring with a victory over McWilliams Arroyo of Puerto Rico last September.

The 28-year-old Palicte, who will be fighting in Japan for the first time, earned No. 1 contender status after knocking out previously unbeaten Puerto Rican opponent Jose Martinez in January.

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