The fight is almost upon us, with hardcore followers of the sport getting excited with each passing day - as undefeated Kosei Tanaka will challenge four division world champion Kazuto Ioka on December 31, with the WBO super flyweight title at stake.
Tanaka, a four division champion himself, is expected fireworks from the opening bell.
“It will be an unforgettable fight on New Year’s Eve. I respect Ioka as a professional boxer, I think he’s cool. The fight will be challenging but I have confidence for the win. I didn’t change anything about my training to fight in the new division, I can perform my boxing at a high level,” Tanaka told Boxing News.
Two years ago, Tanaka fought in an absolute war of a fight to capture the WBO flyweight crown from Sho Kimura. The contest was viewed by many as the 2018 Fight of The Year.
The clash with Ioka has far more hype behind it, with many observers expecting a similar battle.
“I’ve always worried before my fights. That’s why I would train very hard and believed that’s the way to be stronger. The more pressure involved the stronger I felt I would become. The fight with Sho Kimura, the three-division champ, was the best. I had massive worry before that match, but I soaked up the pressure and gave it my very best shot," Tanaka said.
"I think my fights are interesting to watch so I will try to increase the value of the lighter weight classes with a lot of achievements. You must fight with tough guys to become tougher. Sparring is fine, but the most important thing is the experience gained in real fights. I’ve been fighting because I want to be stronger. I believe my fans are looking forward to seeing tough matches, so that’s what I’m doing.”