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Ryoichi Taguchi vs. Carlos Canizales is set for New Year’s Eve

Ryoichi Taguchi. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

As has become custom, the year-end schedule in Japan is once again stacked. This year, in the Land of the Rising Sun, there will be seven world title fights.

In one of those bouts, Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11 knockouts) puts his WBA junior flyweight crown on the line against No. 3-ranked contender Carlos Canizales (16-0, 13 KOs).

The defending champion is keen to test his mettle against his younger Venezuelan-born opponent on the undercard of the eagerly awaited Jezreel Corrales-Takashi Uchiyama junior lightweight title rematch at his home away from home, Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan.

“I am very much looking forward to fighting with (Canizales) since he is a hard puncher with no losses in his professional record,” Taguchi told through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “His advantage is his hard punches and strong physical ability. He is also in good momentum in his professional boxing career right now.

“On the other hand, his disadvantage is lack of experience as compared with other boxers I have faced before.”

Taguchi, who boasts four-inch height and reach advantages over his challenger, hopes to make a fifth successful defense of his belt, having won it on New Years Eve two years ago.

Since his coronation, the 30-year-old’s popularity has grown.

“It seems that the number of people who have noticed me is bigger and bigger,” he said. “I am very delighted at this situation.”

While fighters in the west enjoy the Christmas holiday season, in Japan, it is seen as an honor to fight on such a prestigious date.

“It is regarded as a high status for a Japanese boxer to fight for a world title in the New Year’s Eve,” said Taguchi. “I am very delighted to fight on the last day of this year again.”

Although several defenses away, Taguchi holds the same title as Yoko Gushiken did. Gushiken holds the hallowed record for most consecutive world title defenses by a Japanese fighter at 13.

Taguchi downplayed chasing the record.

“Frankly speaking, I feel there is a long way left to follow the record accomplished by Mr. Gushiken,” said the modest titlist. “Maybe I might feel the possibility to follow the record if I am able to defend my title for about 10 times. Currently, all I have to do is to win one by one.”

His promoter Hitoshi Watanabe, however, was keen to talk up his fighter as both person as well as a fighter and, while Taguchi isn’t looking toward breaking Gushiken’s record just yet, it hasn’t escaped Watanabe’s thoughts.

“He is very handsome and gentle; however, he is also very strong-minded,” explained Watanabe. “He did not suffer weight reduction prior to his past bouts and he is tall and has a long reach. After all, he has an ideal figure as a boxer. In addition, he has talented capability, ability to do his best and has as strong a mentality as Takashi Uchiyama has.

“I would like him to fight a unification match in the future. Furthermore, I would like him to have a big dream to overtake the record of consecutive defenses owned by Mr. Gushiken.”



Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.




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