Kenshiro Teraji remains on course to defend his junior flyweight championship. has confirmed that Anthony Olascuaga has been tabbed to next challenge Teraji atop an April 8 ESPN+ show from Ariake Arena in Tokyo. Los Angeles’ Olascuaga was among the leading candidates to land the short-notice assignment after WBO junior flyweight titlist Jonathan ‘Bomba’ Gonzalez was diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia which forced him out of the planned three-belt unification bout.

Teraji will defend his lineal, WBA and WBC junior flyweight championship in their scheduled twelve-round contest. The previous pairing with Gonzalez would have marked his second straight unification bout.

Instead, he faces arguably a stiffer—even if less experienced—challenge.

To the credit of Teraji, Olascuaga (5-0, 3KOs) is the riskier of the two proposed replacement opponents. As previously reported by Boxing Scene, Gerardo Zapata (14-1, 5KOs)—a Nicaraguan junior flyweight based out of Miami— was also in the mix and was prepared to step down from a scheduled April 14 bout in Panama City, Panama to challenge for the world crown. Both boxers are promoted by Felix ‘Tutico’ Zabala’s All Star Boxing, Inc.

Those plans remain intact, as Teraji’s team agreed to next face the fast-rising Olascuaga, a Los Angeles native who is just 30 months into his pro career. The 24-year-old Los Angeleno has been moved ambitiously by his team and has so far risen to the occasion.

Olascuaga enters his first career title fight on the heels of back-to-back knockout wins in Niagara Falls, New York. His October 14 bout with Marco Sustaita was scheduled for ten rounds, though Olascuaga needed less than three minutes to post his latest victory.

It now leads to by far the biggest fight of his prodigious pro journey.

Kyoto’s Teraji (20-1, 12KOs), 31, can certainly relate to the rapid rise of his new challenger.

He claimed the WBC junior flyweight title in just his tenth pro fight after a majority decision win over Ganigan Lopez in May 2017. Eight successful defenses followed before a stunning tenth-round knockout defeat to Masamichi Yabuki in their September 2021 slugfest that gained recognition among the year’s best fights.

The bout was previously delayed by 12 days after Teraji tested positive for Covid and was forced to postpone the original fight date. He was at full strength for their rematch last March 19, which saw Teraji manhandle his countryman inside of three rounds to regain his title. The feat was followed by his best win to date, a stunningly one-sided seventh-round stoppage of unbeaten countryman and WBA titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-1, 11KOs) last November 1 at Saitama (Japan) Super Arena.

The same show saw Puerto Rico’s Gonzalez (27-3-1, 15KOs) defend his WBO belt for the second time following a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over Tokyo’s Shokichi Iwata (9-1, 6KOs). The placement was by design, as a three-belt unification fight was already in discussion prior to the event.

Those plans are now on hold and could get torched altogether.

Hekkie Budler is the WBC number-one contender dating back to his June 25 win over Elwin Soto and agreed to stand down only to allow the unification bout to proceed. The former unified titlist earned the WBC mandatory slot after a twelve-round decision win over Soto, whom Gonzalez previously dethroned to win the WBO belt.

Daniel Matellon (13-0-2, 7KOs) is the WBA number-one contender and has been vocal in demanding that the sanctioning body enforce his title shot. The 35-year-old Cuban—now based out of Panama City, Panama—held the now-defunct interim title and was since inserted in the number-one slot but has yet to hear when he will get his shot at the division’s top prize.

For now, Teraji can proceed with his career without any delay.

His bout versus Olascauga is one of two title fights on the show. Takuma Inoue is due to meet former WBA junior bantamweight titlist Liborio Solis (35-6-1, 16KOs) for the vacant WBA bantamweight title. The winner will be the first to fill the massive void left behind by Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21KOs), Takuma’s older brother and former undisputed bantamweight champion who is now competing at junior featherweight.

The card will also feature the boxing pro debut of combat sports star Tenshin Nasukawa, who faces Yuki Yonaha (12-4-1, 8KOs) in a six-round junior featherweight contest billed locally as the evening’s headliner.

For real boxing fans, the true main event comes in the form of Teraji preserving his fight date.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox