A path has been cleared for multi-belt junior flyweight unification match
BoxingScene.com has learned that Kenshiro ‘The Amazing Boy’ Teraji and Jonathan ‘Bomba’ Gonzalez are all but set to take place in April at a venue to be determined in Japan. Teraji will risk his lineal junior flyweight championship and WBC and WBA titles, while Puerto Rico’s Gonzalez will once again travel abroad with his WBO belt in tow.
Representatives for both boxers did not respond to inquiries from BoxingScene.com seeking comment or verification as this goes to publication.
Major progress was made in the past week or so, when common ground was found on financial terms for the first-ever three-belt junior flyweight unification bout. The division has never boasted an undisputed champion dating back to its 1975 relaunch.
Both were faced with the threat of mandatory title defenses looming, though more so for Teraji (20-1, 12KOs) in the wake of his stunningly one-sided, seventh-round knockout of then-unbeaten countryman Hiroto Kyoguchi (16-1, 11KOs). Teraji made the first defense of his second WBC reign after he regained the belt earlier this year and won the WBA title in their November 1 unification bout at Saitama (Japan) Super Arena.
The same show saw 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).
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Teraji-Gonzalez was already being explored immediately after the two shared the stage. However, Teraji was reminded of an awaiting mandatory title challenge obligation on November 9 during the annual WBC convention in Acapulco, Mexico. Former unified titlist Hekkie Budler (34-4, 10KOs) punched his way back into contention following a twelve-round, unanimous decision over former WBO titileholder Elwin Soto last June 25 on the road in Mexicali, Mexico.
In a development first reported by Punch Perfect Boxing podcast host Jamie Bourne, South Africa’s Budler agreed to an undisclosed step-aside fee in lieu of enforcing his mandatory.
The move allowed Teraji to now enter his second consecutive unification bout after regaining his WBC title in a third-round knockout of countryman Masamichi Yabuki on March 19 in Kyoto. The win avenged his lone career defeat, a tenth-round knockout to Yabuki in their Fight of the Year contender last September 22 also in Kyoto. The loss ended Teraji’s first reign, dating back to May 2017 and with eight successful title defenses. The 31-year-old from Kyoyo is now 11-1 with seven knockouts in twelve career title fights.
Gonzalez (27-3-1, 15KOs) made his most recent title defense on the Teraji-Kyoguchi undercard, where he outpointed previously unbeaten Shokichi Iwata (9-1, 6KOs) over twelve rounds. The win by the 31-year-old southpaw came more than a year after dethroning Soto via twelve-round, split decision on an October 2021 DAZN show in Fresno, California.
Wedged in between was his first defense and the closest thing to a home game. Gonzalez edged the Philippines’ Mark Anthony Barriga over twelve rounds atop a June 24 ProBox TV show in Boricua-friendly Kissimmee, Florida.
The upcoming bout with Teraji will mark the third career trip to Japan for Gonzalez. The first appearance on Japanese soil saw Gonzalez more than hold his own with then-unbeaten three-division and reigning WBO flyweight titlist Kosei Tanaka before suffering three knockdowns in the fateful seventh round of their August 2019 title fight. The valiant effort marked Gonzalez’s final flyweight fight, dropping back down to 108 where he has won five straight.
Pursuit of the unification bout with Teraji required the conditional support of the WBO. Gonzalez was granted permission to the point of reaching a deal, to avoid an eventually ordered mandatory title defense versus the winner of the all-Filipino title eliminator between Mark Vicelles (17-0-1, 10KOs) and Regie Suganob (12-0, 4KOs) on February 25 in Calape, Philippines.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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