Shinsuke Yamanaka readies for 10th defense of title
Long-reigning WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka will look to make the 10th defense of his crown when he faces former junior bantamweight titlist Liborio Solis on March 4 at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan.
Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17 knockouts) is widely regarded the best 118-pound fighter in the world. In the four-plus years he has reigned the 33-year-old fighter has regularly tested himself against the best available opposition and usually closes the show emphatically with a stoppage victory.
Although THE RING’s No. 9 pound-for-pound fighter is closing in on Yoko Gushiken’s record of 13 world-title defenses by a Japanese fighter and Orlando Canizales’ division record 16 defenses, his goal remains the same.
“Unification bouts,” Yamanaka told RingTV.com through Nobo Ikushima. “[I’d like to] fight in Las Vegas. [They] are the fights I would like to fight.”
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman fully supports the heavy-handed southpaw.
“Shinsuke Yamanaka is the current longest-reigning WBC champion in boxing,” Sulaiman said. “[He] has defeated all the best fighters in bantamweight and is running out of competition. A unification bout is something the WBC will certainly support and encourage in order to allow him to continue developing his career and get the due recognition around the world.”
As well as Yamanaka-Solis, the undercard will see Yu Kimura look to defend his WBC junior flyweight belt against Ganigan Lopez. A smattering of up-and-coming Japanese talent rounds out the card.
RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on facing Solis?
Shinsuke Yamanaka – Liborio Solis is a tough and dangerous Venezuelan fighter. From what we hear he has never been stopped in a fight. I know he’s experienced fighting in Japan and has won all of his fights here. (Note: Solis has fought twice in Japan, both world-title contests in 2013, beating Kohei Kono by majority decision and Daiki Kameda by split decision.)
RTV – What do you feel Solis brings to this fight in terms of strengths and weaknesses?
SY – Between combinations, his repetitive hooks and uppercuts have power and strength. I can see openings between those shots.
RTV – In your last fight you outpointed Anselmo Moreno. It was close, but you won a split decision. Tell us about that fight and the challenge that Moreno put up?
SY – The big thing in that fight was the distance. I was loading up too much in my right hand and was not able to throw my left smoothly on my combinations.
RTV – If all goes well and you win you’ll be mandated to face the winner of Moreno-Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Who do you think will win, having faced both? Also, what are your thoughts on a rematch with the winner later this year?
SY – I think the location of the fight, Thailand or Panama will affect the fight. (Note: Moreno-Suriyan is scheduled to take place April 30 in Panama.) But I think Moreno is favored. No matter which rematch, I believe I can have a better victory than before.
RTV – You have mentioned in the past about the possibility of moving up in weight?
SY – If an opportunity arises, it may be good for me to move up in weight.
RTV – You were born in Konan, Japan – can you tell us about your early years and also how you became interested and took up boxing?
SY – I played baseball in elementary and middle school. But I also had interest in boxing. I saw the shiny green WBC belt that Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (two-time bantamweight titleholder in the ’90s) had around his waist – it made me want that belt.
RTV – Tell us a little about your life away from boxing.
SY – I usually go home after training and enjoy spending time with my family.
RTV – Do you have a message for Solis ahead of your fight?
SY – Come to Japan in great shape. And let’s put on a great fight.
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