One of the biggest all-Japanese boxing fights of 2018 is happening in September.
Sho Kimura, the WBO’s flyweight world champion, will defend his title against two-division champion and top contender Kosei Tanaka. The fight will take place on September 24 at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya, Japan.
This will be the third title defense for Kimura after winning the WBO title in 2017 with an upset victory over Zou Shiming. Since then, Kimura has retained his title with knockout wins over Toshiyuki Igarashi and Froilan Saludar.
The fight is a historic one for Tanaka, who won world titles at minimumweight and at light flyweight. Tanaka will be fighting in his 12th professional fight and if he beats Kimura and wins the WBO title, he will have won a title in three weight classes. Despite only fighting less than a dozen pro fights, Tanaka already owns victories over notable names such as current light flyweight champion Angel Acosta, current minimumweight champion Vic Saludar, Moises Fuentes and Ryuji Hara.
With 12 fights under Tanaka’s belt, that would be tied for the least amount of fights to win a world title in three different weight classes. The other boxer who has achieved that feat in that amount of fights was Vasiliy Lomachenko, who won the WBA lightweight title back in May. The third quickest boxer would then be Naoya Inoue, who accomplished the feat earlier this year with a WBA "regular" bantamweight title win over Jamie McDonnell in Inoue’s 16th fight.