Takuma Inoue and Mark John Yap to fight for WBC’s No. 1 bantamweight ranking
Unbeaten bantamweight up-and-comer Takuma Inoue will face Mark John Yap for the top spot in the WBC’s 118-pound rankings on September 11 in in Tokyo, it was announced by Inoue’s promoter Hideyuki Ohashi on Thursday.
The winner of Inoue-Yap will be installed as the sanctioning body’s No. 1 contender after the current Nos. 1 and 2 contenders – Nordine Ouabaali and Petch Sor Chitpattana (AKA Tassana Sanpattan) fight for the currently vacant WBC title.
Inoue (11-0, 3 KOs), THE RING’s 2015 Prospect of the Year and the younger brother of pound-for-pound rated Naoya Naoya, is the WBC’s No. 9-rated contender. Yap (29-12, 14 KOs), a Japan-based Filipino residing in Osaka, is the OPBF titleholder and the WBC’s No. 3-rated contender.
Takuma, who is only 22, is a talented speedster who has been expertly developed by his father/trainer Shingo. He has defeated solid opponents including Nestor Narvaez (on the same show as Naoya’s WBO 115-pound title winning annihilation of Nestor’s brother Omar Narvaez), Froilan Saludar, Rene Duckel, and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. (a talented Thailander in Takuma’s second pro bout).
Yap has won 10 consecutive bouts including an upset of Takahiro Yamamoto for the OPBF title in 2016. The 29-year-old veteran has scored three defenses of the regional title.
IBF 122-pound titleholder Ryosuke Iwasa (25-2, 16 KOs), THE RING’s No. 7-rated junior featherweight, will put his belt on the line against mandatory challenger TJ Doheny (19-0, 14 KOs), of Australia, at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, on August 16.
Iwasa, handled by former world champ Celes Kobayashi, annexed the IBF belt by halting compatriot Yukinori Oguni last September and made a successful defense over Filipino Ernesto Saulong by a lopsided decision this March.
Doheny defeated veteran Mike Tawatchai by a split nod in Thailand last December and zoomed up to the mandatory position.
Junior featherweight prospect Juiki Tatsuyoshi, the son of former WBC bantamweight ruler Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, will participate in his first 10-rounder against Indonesian champ Noldi Manakane (33-24-2, 11 KOs) in Osaka on July 27.
Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5 KOs), 21, only fought once (in December) in 2017 due to an injury, but made a successful comeback in April. He is currently coached by ex-WBA bantamweight titleholder Takuya Muguruma