Fresh off his "Fight of the Year" battle against Sho Kimura, WBO flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka could be making his first title defense in early 2019.
According to a report from Asian Boxing, Tanaka will likely not defend his title on the annual end of year boxing show in Japan, but he has plans to have a big first defense. Tanaka plans to fight former world champion Ryoichi Taguchi, potentially in spring 2019.
The fight had been in the works for some time. The two were originally supposed to fight in late 2017, but Tanaka was unable to compete due to injuries. That fight would have been for Taguchi's WBA light flyweight title, but since that fight was not made, Taguchi had to look elsewhere for a fight. The then-WBA champion fought IBF champion Milan Melindo in a unification bout, with Taguchi picking up the win.
Taguchi would go on to lose the unified WBA and IBF light flyweight titles to Hekkie Budler earlier this year, ending a five-year undefeated streak. After the loss, Taguchi decided to move up in weight to try and win a 112-pound world title, but has not fought since then. The report did state that Taguchi could fight by the end of the year in a tune-up fight to get acclimated to competing at 112 pounds.
Tanaka, a three-division world champion, also moved up in weight earlier this year to win a flyweight world title. Tanaka captured the WBO title when he defeated Kimura by majority decision.