Kosei Tanaka Talks Future and Victory Over Jonathan Gonzalez
On August 24, Kosei Tanaka successfully defended the WBO Flyweight title for the second time. He achieved a seventh-round TKO victory over mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez in his hometown of Nagoya, Japan. The following day, the WBO champ sat down with local media to discuss the fight, as well as his future.
While ultimately winning by stoppage, for large parts of the bout, Tanaka experienced a fair amount of difficulty. He displayed less energy and vigor in comparison to past performances. Also, at times, he struggled dealing with the style of his southpaw opponent.
Accompanied by promoter Kiyoshi Tanaka, Kosei expressed that while happy with the victory, he was disappointed with his performance. Sporting a black left eye, the defending champion said he was frustrated and criticized constantly during the bout. Tanaka admitted he was fighting more for the KO and, subsequently, didn’t fully execute the game plan.
EARLY SIGNS OF TROUBLE
Rumors were rampant heading into the fight Tanaka was struggling to make weight, something the champ conceded to during the August 25 Nagoya presser. In fact, during pre-fight medical checkups, he showed signs of dehydration.
The reason for Tanaka’s issues getting down to the 112 pound flyweight limit? According to the fighter, he was under the weather leading up to the bout. “I was feverish for a week after August” said the champ. He said this affected his preparation and as a result, he was sluggish throughout and lacked his usual speed, but gutted it out.
As for the future, Tanaka and his promoter said he plans to stay at flyweight for the time being. The team plans to have another fight towards the end of the year with a stated goal to engage in a unification bout.
Tanaka fighting at flyweight for the immediate future came as a bit of a surprise for multiple reasons. Not only because of the difficulties making the 112-pound division weight limit for the victory over Gonzalez, but there has been long running rumors of Tanaka moving up for a big-money domestic showdown with new WBO super-flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka.
Ioka – Tanaka would greatly excite hardcore boxing fans who pay attention to the smaller-weight divisions. Unless Team Tanaka has a change of heart however, it looks like we will have to wait to see what would be one of the better fights that could be made right now, and a super-fight in Japan.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.