Earlier today In Japan, unbeaten warrior Kosei Tanaka stopped a game Jonathan Gonzalez In round-seven to retain his WBO flyweight crown. Tanaka, who improved to 14-0 with 8 KO’s, also furthered his claim to being both the best at the weight as well as the most consistently exciting.
Time and again now, Tanaka has given us tremendous action in his fights, and todays battke was no exception. Getting up from a knockdown only served to make Tanaka’s latest fight all the more thrilling.
Southpaw Gonzalez of Puerto Rico had some success in the early and middle rounds courtesy of his speed and his movement. Tanaka was clearly troubled but his challenger’s stance and foot-speed. Then, in the third, Tanaka got home with a hard body shot, dropping Gonzalez for what turned out to be the first of four occasions. Gonzalez got up but he had been winded quite badly
The challenger was under pressure in the fourth, yet he came back and briefly decked the defending champ with a counter left hand that caught Tanaka behind the ear. The crowd was into the action in one massive way.
It was arguably Gonzalez’ fight in toibfs four and five, Tanaka appearing to be feeling the pace and breathing quite heavily. But Tanaka just kept coming, walking his man down. Then, in the seventh, the Japanese star broke through big time and closed the show in style. Three times Tanaka sent Gonzalez to the canvas, only for the gutsy challenger yo climb back up each time; stunning the large pro-Tanaka crowd.
But Tanaka would not be denied and after the third knockdown the referee had seen enough. The official to be was 2:59 of round seven.
Again Tanaka sent his army of passionate fans home more than happy. What next for Tanaka, a great action fighter who deserves to be a big star outside of his home country? There is talk of a move up in weight. Might Tanaka become a four-weight world champion?
As good as he is, as tough and relentless as he is, Tanaka seems to have a superb chance.