The four-weight title dream still lives for Japanese warrior Kosei Tanaka. Despite being beaten, this for the first time, by Kazuto Ioka on New Year’s Eve 2020, the former minimumweight, light-flyweight and flyweight champ still believes he can win a fourth belt, at junior-bantamweight. 26 year old Tanaka will return to the ring against Sho Ishida this Saturday night in Japan. Speaking with RingTV.com, Tanaka, 15-1(9) said he has been working on “new skills,” mostly his defence and the gauging of distance, and that he will show these new skills against the tough, 29-2(150 and never stopped Ishida.
Tanaka was soundly beaten by the superb Ioka, being stopped in the eighth round, and the thrill-a-minute warrior admits the loss “closed all the doors in front of me.” Now, Tanaka wants to reopen these doors with an impressive return performance.
“I lost to Kazuto Ioka while putting everything I had been doing into the fight,” Tanaka told Ring. “Honestly, I lost my confidence and naturally felt I had to change my boxing. Working closely with new trainer Daisuke Murata, who replaced my father, gives me new advice. It means a lot if I beat the taller and bigger Ishida by showcasing my new skills, such as ring generalship based on tactical manoeuvrers, without relying too much on my offence and speed. My ultimate goal is to be a four-division champion by earning a junior-bantamweight belt. I know all the junior-bantamweight titleholders are not easy to cope with, I am still willing to fight any of them whenever I get a chance.”
It goes without saying how Saturday’s fight is a must-win fight for Tanaka. From a fan’s perspective, here’s hoping Tanaka does get the win and that he looks good in doing so. Tanaka is a great action fighter and he has given us a number of absolutely thrilling slugfests. One loss does not end a career and Tanaka is coming back after almost a full year out of action. Tanaka could have taken a far easier comeback foe, yet this is not his style – “there is no point in tune-up fights, I do not need it at all,” Tanaka said.
Ishida will be ready to give his all. Ishida is also coming off a layoff, of 13 months, but he did win his last fight. Ishida is the bigger man and he is a proven tough guy. Tanaka might need his best stuff to get the win on Saturday.