By Jake Donovan
Kosei Tanaka gets a true home game for his next fight.
The unbeaten three-division titlist and reigning flyweight beltholder from Japan is set for his next title defense, which will come versus Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez. The bout will take place August 24 at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Tanaka’s hometown of Nagoya, Japan.
Full details were announced Wednesday in Japan, confirming that a deal had been reached just as the bout was heading for a purse bid hearing at World Boxing Organization (WBO) headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Tanaka (13-0, 7KOs) will make the second defense of the WBO flyweight title he claimed in this very venue, when he scored a 12-round win over Sho Kimura last September. Their fierce war was honored by BoxingScene.com and several other outlets as the 2018 Fight of the Year.
It also made Tanaka a three-division titlist after just 12 pro bouts, matching Vasiliy Lomachenko just five months prior as the quickest to ever accomplish the feat.
His lone defense came this past March, soundly outpointing countryman and former junior flyweight king Ryoichi Taguchi in Gifu, Japan.
In addition to his win over Kimura, Tanaka registered arguably the second best win of his career at this same venue—defending his previously held 108-pound titlie over then-unbeaten Angel Acosta in May 2017. Acosta would go on to capture the belt Tanaka vacated later that year, still in possession of said crown.
Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13KOs) travels to Japan for the first time in his career, in what also serves as his first shot at a major title. The 28-year old Boricua southpaw has won his last four starts, including a 10-round win over Julian Yedras—whom Tanaka defeated for his first major title in their May 2015 strawweight title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox