Shinsuke Yamanaka now gunning for history
For much of this decade, Shinsuke Yamanaka has been the class of the bantamweight division and on Tuesday the Japanese superstar bids to prove his worth once again when he takes on unbeaten mandatory challenger Luis Nery at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto.
Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19 knockouts) is the second-longest reigning world champion in boxing – behind unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin – having held the WBC belt since November 2011.
The veteran southpaw, who turns 35 in October, is now zoning in on three significant records:
- Most successful defenses by a Japanese fighter – Yamanaka has made 12. If he beats Nery, he will equal the long-standing record of Yoko Gushiken that has stood since 1981.
- Longest reigning bantamweight in history – That record is currently held by Orlando Canizales who held the WBA strap for 6-and-a-half-years. Yamanaka is just nine-months away.
- Most bantamweight title defenses – Canizales has (16), Manuel Ortiz (15), Veeraphol Saprahom (14). Victory over Nery will see him pass former victim, Anselmo Moreno’s mark of (12).
Here’s a look at Yamanaka’s 12 world title defenses:
April 6, 2012 – Vic Darchinyan UD 12 – Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo: In a meeting of southpaw punchers, Yamanaka got off to a good start and outpointed the former two-weight world titlist. Scores were 117-111, 116-112 (twice).
November 3, 2012 – Tomas Rojas KO 7 – Xebio Arena, Sendai, Miyagi: Yamanaka dominated the former WBC 115-pound belt holder; emphatically knocking him out in at 0:36 of the seventh round.
April 8, 2013 – Malcolm Tunacao TKO 12 – Kokugikan, Tokyo: Tunacao was an ex-WBC 112-pound titleholder but Yamanaka dropped him twice in the third round before adding the exclamation point of a final round knockout.
August 12, 2013 – Jose Nieves KO 1 – Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo: The heavy-handed southpaw took out the over-matched Puerto Rican in the opening round with minimal fuss.
November 10, 2013 – Alberto Guevara KO 9 – Kokugikan, Tokyo: Yamanaka had his way with his Mexican challenger, dropping him twice in the eighth round and knocking him out one round later.
April 23, 2014 – Stephane Jamoye TKO 9 – Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka, Osaka: Yamanaka delighted his fans, dropping Jamoye five times on his way to a comprehensive ninth-round beat down.
October 22, 2014 – Suriyan Sor Rungvisai UD 12 – Yoyogi #2 Gymnasium, Tokyo: Yamanaka dropped his mandatory challenger three times but was unable to stop him. Scores were 114-110, 116-108 and 115-109.
April 16, 2015 – Diego Ricardo Santillan TKO 7 – Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka, Osaka: Yamanaka won every round, dropping the previously unbeaten Argentinean challenger to record a seventh-round stoppage.
September 22, 2015 – Anselmo Moreno SD 12 – Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo: Moreno gave Yamanaka his sternest test to date. In a closely contested bout the pair were separated by the narrowest of margins. The scores were 115-113 (twice) to Yamanaka and 115-113 to Moreno.
March 4, 2016 – Liborio Solis UD 12 – Shimazu Arena, Kyoto, Kyoto: Yamanaka got off to a good start, dropping the former IBF and WBA junior bantamweight titleholder twice in the second. Yamanaka touched down himself in the third but floored Solis again in the ninth. All three judges scored the bout 117-107.
September 16, 2016 – Anselmo Moreno TKO 7 – EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka: Both men fought much more aggressively than in their cagey first meeting. Moreno was down in the first, the sixth and twice in the seventh. Yamanaka tasted the canvas in the fourth but ultimately prevailed in one of the finest fights of the year.
March 2, 2017 – Carlos Carlson TKO 7 – Kokugikan, Tokyo: The fearsome “God’s Left” was at his brilliant best, easing past his Mexican opponent in seven one-sided rounds.
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