Shigeoka brothers Yudai and Ginjiro to fight for strawweight world titles on same night in Tokyo
On Saturday, the Shigeoka brothers, Yudai and younger sibling Ginjiro, will bid to become world champions when they fight for strawweight world titles on the same card at the Ota-City gym in Tokyo, Japan.
Ginjiro (9-0, 7 knockouts), The Ring’s No. 4 ranked strawweight, will challenge IBF titleholder Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15 KOs), The Ring’s No. 6 rated 105-pound fighter.
The two initially met on January 6 at the same venue, where a head-clash left the defending champion unable to continue in the third round rendering the bout a no-contest. The cut wasn’t fully healed for a projected spring rematch, and then Shigeoka suffered a foot injury curtailing their August fight.
“I am grateful that we will have a rematch,” Shigeoka told The Ring through translator Daisuke Shindo. “I am going to win 100 percent, and I will adapt to any situation and show the difference with my ability. I think he’s a skilled boxer. He has a typical Mexican boxing style, and also I think he’s an experienced boxer.
Since they met earlier this year the 23-year-old Japanese standout has become more battle-hardened at championship level. He had to overcome a difficult start where he had to get off the canvas to stop teak-tough former IBF titlist Mark Rene Cuarto (KO 9) in April.
“Going down for my first time ever was also a good experience,” he said. “I thought I should have been more calm in the beginning.
“It was important that I was able to dominate him with my jab. It was a pretty good experience for me to have fought nine-rounds against a strong boxer at the international level.”
Shigeoka could well have fought for a world title earlier but has had to remain patient and bide his time for a world title fight.
“Although I wasn’t able to fight due to the coronavirus pandemic, I didn’t give up on my dream and continued training every day,” he said. “Becoming a world champion is one of my big goals, and I think that’s the real starting point.
“My brother and I want to conquer the minimum weight division by winning two titles each. I don’t feel like losing to anyone. After my brother moves up to 108 lbs, I will defeat all the champions to unify all of four titles.”
Shigeoka was a standout amateur before turning pro in September 2018. He notably stopped former world title challenger Rey Loreto (KO 5) in his fifth bout. His career stalled when he didn’t fight for 18-months due to the pandemic. The diminutive southpaw was doing a number on Valladares before the fight came to a premature conclusion. He impressively defeated Cuarto (TKO 9) in his most recent bout.
Valladares won his first 11 fights before he was out-hustled by journeyman Genaro Rios (MD 8). He rebounded to score a pair of impressive wins over former WBO strawweight titlist Merlito Sabillo (TKO 7) and snapped Christian Araneta’s unbeaten record (RTD 4). The Mexican’s fight with then-IBF beltholder Pedro Taduran was shaping up nicely when the he was cut, and the contest ended in a technical draw. The 29-year-old lost his way, losing back-to-back fights before righting the ship and edging past Cuarto (SD 12) to claim the IBF title.
Meanwhile Yudai (7-0, 5 KOs), The Ring’s No. 5 ranked strawweight, will face Petchmanee CP Freshmart (40-1, 24 KOs), The Ring’s No. 2 rated strawweight.
Freshmart won several regional belts before claiming the WBC title by unseating long-reigning countryman Wanheng Menayothin in November 2020. The 32-year-old Thai has successfully defended his title four times, notably besting Menayothin (UD 12) in a rematch and Norihito Tanaka (UD 12/ TKO 8).
Yudai won five national titles and had dreams of representing Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, when his weight class was expunged, similarly to Collazo, he elected to turn professional in October 2019. Although not quite as highly regarded as his younger brother (Ginjiro), he is still an excellent fighter with a bright future. He notably edged the more experienced Tsubasa Koura (MD 12) in 2021 and stopped former world champion Wilfredo Mendez (KO 7) in his most recent bout.
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