Masataka Taniguchi wins in Thailand, setting up Vic Saludar WBO strawweight challenge
Masataka Taniguchi handled his end of the deal Tuesday, defeating unbeaten Filipino Joel Lino by unanimous decision in Bangkok to set up a title shot against WBO strawweight titleholder Vic Saludar on New Year’s Eve.
Taniguchi (11-2, 7 knockouts) earned scores of 119-109 on two cards and 116-112 on the third over Lino (10-1-1, 3 KOs) to pick up the WBO Asia Pacific regional belt, which will get him placed in the sanctioning body’s top 15 ratings and make him eligible to face Saludar.
“I think it will be a good fight for Vic in his first title defense because it is another Japanese and Taniguchi really wants to have his chance for the title,” said Saludar’s promoter Kenneth Rontal, who says all that is left remaining is to sign the contracts.
Saludar (18-3, 10 KOs) will be making the first defense of the title he won in July by outpointing Ryuya Yamanaka. The 28-year-old from Polomolok, Philippines is rated no. 4 by THE RING and is already in General Santos City preparing for the fight.
The optional defense will presage his mandatory defense in 2019 against the winner of the Robert Paradero-Wilfredo Mendez elimination bout, which takes places December 7 in Puerto Rico.
Taniguchi of Kobe, Japan has won three straight, with his lone defeats coming by majority decisions to Reiya Konishi and Tsubasa Koura.
Saludar-Taniguchi will be on the card in Macau headlined by Donnie Nietes vs. Kazuto Ioka for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title.
“It is a huge honor to be in the same card with great champions like Nietes and Ioka. Because of this we will show everybody that Vic is another world champion to be anticipated coming from Philippines with pride,” said Rontal.