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Petchmanee CP Freshmart to defend strawweight title in Japan vs. Yudai Shigeoka

Petchmanee CP Freshmart. Photo courtesy of the WBC
Fighters Network

Reports out of Asia suggest that Thai strawweight Petchmanee CP Freshmart will put his WBC title on the line against Japan’s Yudai Shigeoka at the Yoyogi 2nd Gymnasium in Tokyo on April 16.

It will be only the fourth time Freshmart has fought outside Thailand in his career but the first time as a champion. 

Freshmart (39-1, 23 knockouts), The Ring’s No. 2-rated strawweight, won several regional belts before claiming the WBC title by unseating long-reigning countryman Wanheng Menayothin in November 2020The 32-year-old has successfully defended his belt three times by defeating Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (UD 12), Menayothin (UD 12) in a rematch and, most recently, Norihito Tanaka (UD 12).

Yudai Shigeoka

Shigeoka (6-0, 4 KOs) won five national titles and had dreams of representing Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, when his weight class was expunged, he elected to turn professional in October 2019.

Although not yet quite as highly regarded as his younger brother, Ginjiro, he is still an excellent fighter with a bright future. The 25-year-old southpaw had a career-best win when he edged the more experienced Tsubasa Koura (MD 12) in November 2021, then stopped compatriot Tatsuro Nakashima (TKO 3) last November to win the Japanese national title. He is primed for his first world title opportunity.

On the undercard, Ginjiro will face former strawweight titleholder Rene Mark Cuarto.

Shigeoka (8-0, 6 KOs), The Ring’s No. 8-rated strawweight, lost just once in his amateur career, but it wasn’t a conventional loss. The defeat came against Yudai in the final of the Kumamoto prefecture final. Both brothers, their father and their coach agreed that the bout should not take place, and it was decided that Ginjiro would not fight. As soon as the opening bell rang, his corner threw in the towel.

Shigeoka has impressed since turning pro in September 2018. The 23-year-old southpaw notably knocked out former world title challenger Rey Loreto (KO 5) in December 2019. He was seemingly on course to take the IBF belt from Daniel Valladares on January 6, but the contest was abruptly curtailed due to a clash of heads that rendered the defending champion unable to continue. The cut hadn’t sufficiently healed in time to allow for the rematch, and Ginjiro will instead face Cuarto in a meeting of top 10 strawweights.

Cuarto (20-3-2, 11 KOs), The Ring’s No. 7-rated strawweight, turned pro at 17. He suffered an early setback, which he later avenged, then lost to compatriot Samuel Salva (UD 12) in an IBF title eliminator. He eventually won the belt by edging past Pedro Taduran (UD 12) but lost it to Valladares (SD 12) in controversial fashion.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].

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