By Francisco Salazar
Jonathan Gonzalez may or may not get another opportunity at a world title belt.
That is why he is going for broke Saturday night as the mandatory challenger will face WBO flyweight titleholder Kosei Tanaka at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya, Japan. Preceding the Tanaka-Gonzalez fight will be a 10-round bout between Nagoya’s Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9 KOs) and Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12 KOs) of the Philippines.
Both fights will be streamed live on asianboxing.info (2 a.m. ET/ 11 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, both fighters weighed in at the flyweight limit of 112 pounds.
Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13 KOs), who was born in the Bronx, New York and now resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico, stopped Juan Alejo in round eight of his last bout on Nov. 16. The southpaw fighter has won his last four bouts since his knockout loss to Jobert Alvarez in March of 2016.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez signed a promotional deal with All Star Boxing in late 2017.
Promoter Tuto Zabala believes Gonzalez can pull off the upset victory.
“This is a great opportunity for Jonathan Gonzalez,” Zabala told BoxingScene earlier this week. “Since we signed him to a promotional deal, Gonzalez has fought won three fights on (the) ‘Boxeo Telemundo’ (series), winning a regional title belt and moving up the rankings to become the WBO number one challenger.”
Amongst Gonzalez’s recent victories are former world title challengers Julian Yedras and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Zabala has witnessed firsthand Gonzalez’s improved skill-set and work ethic in the gym. He is confident Gonzalez can make the most of Saturday’s fight and become a world titleholder.
“During the time since we’ve signed him, Gonzalez has trained with a lot of discipline like never before in his career,” said Zabala. “Against Tanaka, it’s a a great opportunity to become a world champion. It’s not an easy fight, but we’re certain Gonzalez can make the most and win on fight night.”
Tanaka (13-0, 7 KOs), who also resides in Nagoya, will be making the second defense of his title he won from Sho Kimura by majority decision on Sept. 24.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing