Kenshiro Teraji looked forward to his second post-pandemic title defense.
Much as the disease has done for more than a year, the coronavirus has ruined those plans.
The unbeaten and long-reigning WBC junior flyweight titlist has tested positive for Covid, thus postponing his planned September 10 clash with countryman Masamichi Yabuki. News of Teraji’s test was revealed by his father, Hisashi who held a press conference Thursday in Kyoto where the bout was due to take place.
The entire show was canceled, with the main event postponed indefinitely as Teraji begins the recovery process.
According to the elder Teraji—a former pro boxer who heads B.M.B. (Body, Mind and Beauty) Boxing Gym in Kyoto—Kenshiro tested positive on Wednesday, two days after it was learned that his head trainer Kenta Kato tested positive. Both Teraji and Kato are symptomatic and are required to enter isolation while recovering from the infectious disease which continues to wreak havoc around the world through its several variants.
Teraji (18-0, 10KOs) was due to make the ninth defense of the belt he claimed in just his tenth pro fight, via twelve-round decision win over Ganigan Lopez in May 2017.
In his most recent start, Teraji scored a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over countryman Tetsuya Hisada this past April in Osaka, Japan. The fight was originally due to take place last December, only for Teraji to get hit with a three-month suspension by the Japanese Boxing Commission after crashing his car during a drunk driving incident.
Yabuki (12-3, 11KOs) was preparing for his first career title fight, though has experience versus world-class opposition. Unfortunately it has resulted in two of the three losses on his ledger, dropping a four-round decision to Junto Nakatani—now a WBO flyweight titlist—and to top junior flyweight contender Daniel Matellon in September 2018.
Five wins have followed for Yabuki, most recently in a ten-round decision over Toshimasa Ouchi last December in Aoli Hall in Kariya.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox