Kosei Tanaka’s Path To Greatness
For WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka, 2019 has been a year where he has taken the next step in his career. He has progressed from a very good fighter to getting serious consideration for Pound 4 Pound recognition.
It was also in many ways a setup for what could be a big 2020 with an even further elevation. With a multitude of opportunities and options for big fights in and around his division, the question is, what direction will the 24-year old known as “Dream Boy” go?
MTHALANE AND MARTINEZ
Let’s first stick to his current division at 112lbs. With fellow world champions Moruti Mthalane (IBF), Julio Cesar Martinez (WBC) and Artem Dalakian (WBA), the flyweight division is very impressive.
There are two potential options available. A unification bout with Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) is very plausible. He is a known and respectable figure in Tanaka’s home country of Japan. The South African’s last two title defenses (in May and in December of 2019) took place in the land of the orient. And in spite of his age, the 37-year-old is still fighting at a high level. A showdown between the two would be a very good fight.
Then there is Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs), who had a breakthrough year in 2019. The 24-year-old has the look of a tiny, power-punching terror. He earned a stoppage win over Cristofer Rosales on December 20, 2019 to capture the vacant WBC world belt. Consequently, insiders are already making an argument that he, not Tanaka, is the best in the division.
Tanaka – Martinez would be a dynamite contest, a perfect clash of styles that would guarantee action. That would be a guaranteed Fight of the Year candidate.
In the super flyweight division, one main fight is currently in play. Namely, a showdown with countryman and current WBO World Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14 KOs).
Buzz within Japan boxing circles has been that the two would fight each other at some point. It would be considered a super-fight in that part of the world and both men would earn well over seven-figures. The young, up and coming Tanaka facing the 30-year-old vet is a natural match-up that could have a domino effect domestically and throughout the lower-weight divisions.
According to publication Asian Boxing, Tanaka recently disclosed that his goal in 2020 is to either unify at flyweight or move up and seek another world title at super flyweight.
Whatever path the 3-time, 3-division world champion takes next, Kosei Tanaka is on the precipice of becoming a special fighter. For folks in the know, they will be glued to see what further heights he can accomplish in what has already been a fantastic career.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.