Kosei Tanaka Elevated to World “Super Champion”
The World Boxing Organization has announced that they will elevate WBO World Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9KOs) to the status of “Super Champion” per a request from Tanaka’s promoter, Kiyoshi Hatanaka of the Hatanaka Gym.
Fans may wonder, how does a fighter move up to become a world “Super Champion”. Well according to Section 14 of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contest, a fighter must meet certain requirements set by the organization. Some include ten cumulative successful title defenses, amateur pedigree, quality of opposition and other criteria.
OPPORTUNITIES ON THE HORIZON
Now a Super Champion, it opens the doors for all kinds of avenues for the 3-time, 3-division world champion. Truth be told, that was probably the major incentive behind this petition in the first place.
Tanaka’s last fight was a dominant 3rd round stoppage victory over Wulan Tuolehazi on December 31, 2019. The 24-year-old from Nagoya, Japan stated two goals for 2020. First is to become a unified world champion at 112-pounds. Afterwards, move to 115-pounds and win a title at super flyweight.
The decision by the WBO allows Tanaka to attain both goals. “How,” may you ask. Here’s what this could potentially lead towards.
As super champion, he could petition to delay a defense against the mandatory challenger. Notably, his last mandatory defense was in August 2019, and his next mandatory defense would have been in May 2020. A delay could mean a potential unification bout against the likes of either WBC Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez or IBF Champion Moruti Mthalane.
Team Tanaka could now write a second petition to the sanctioning body requesting to be named a mandatory challenger for a WBO world title in a division directly above or below where he currently competes. It has been long rumored Tanaka will move up in weight to face the current WBO Super Flyweight champion in a domestic mega-fight.
This is a calculated and shrewd business decision. When it comes to this sport, a fighter wants to be in a position where they can win titles, get the biggest and best fights possible, and more than anything, make as much money as they can.
One of the best attributes a boxer can have is options both in and at the negotiating table. And outside his countryman Naoya Inoue, there may not be a fighter around in the lower weight divisions with more options than Mr. Tanaka, the fighter known as “Dream Boy”.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.