By Joe Koizumi
Newly crowned WBO minimumweight champ Ryuya Yamanaka (15-2, 4 KOs; not former WBC bantam ruler Shinsuke Yamanaka), Japan, will defend his belt against #4 Moises Calleros (28-7-1, 16 KOs), a Mexican puncher, in Kobe, Japan, on March 18. It was announced by Masato Yamashita of Shinsei Promotions last week.
Calleros failed to win the vacant WBO belt, losing a split verdict to Japanese southpaw Tetsuya Fukuhara in Japan last February. It was Yamanaka that fully utilized his footwork and outpunch Fukuhara in his first defense to earn a unanimous nod and capture the WBO championship.
The champ said, “I wish to show my successful defense before my supporters by demonstrating my improvement.” But Calleros is such a busy-punching tough hombre that it will be a highly competitive fight at the Portopia Hotel. Ryuya is the third world champ ever produced by Shinsei Promotions, following the footsteps of three-division titlist Hozumi Hasegawa and ex-WBA 122-pound ruler Shun Kubo.