Kenshiro Teraji was once again well under the junior flyweight limit for his latest title defense.
The reigning lineal and unified WBC/WBA champion clocked in at a cut-up 107 1/4 pounds (officially announced at 48.6 kilograms) in the presence of the Japanese Boxing Commission during Sunday’s weigh-in ceremony. Former two-division titlist Hekkie Budler also did his part at the scale, as he weighed 107 3/4 pounds (48.8kg) for their scheduled twelve-round championship contest Monday at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
The bout will air live on Amazon Prime Video in Japan and in the U.S. on ESPN+, whose coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. ET.
Teraji (21-1, 13KOs) will attempt the third defense of his current title reign after he regained the WBC title in a third-round knockout of Masamichi Yabuki last March 19 in his Kyoto hometown. The feat saw him avenge his lone career defeat which came in a tenth-round stoppage in September 2021 also in Kyoto.
The win over Yabuki marked the first of three consecutive knockouts for the 31-year-old champ. His previous win came in a ninth-round stoppage of unbeaten Anthony Olascuaga, a late replacement for WBO titlist Jonathan ‘Bomba’ Gonzalez who fell ill and withdrew from their planned unification bout. Teraji was also 107.1 pounds for that win, and has weighed under the 108-pound divisional limit for each of his 14 title fights across two reigns.
Budler (35-4, 11KOs) attempts to become a three-time titlist spanning two weight divisions. The 35-year-old South African native previously held the WBA strawweight title and won the WBA and IBF titles in a May 2018 win over Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo, his lone other career trip to Japan.
The junior flyweight title reign was short-lived for Budler, who was stripped of his IBF belt and lost the WBA title to Hiroto Kyoguchi on a New Year’s Eve 2018 show in Macau, China. Kyoguchi’s title reign ended in a seventh-round knockout to Teraji in their WBC/WBA unification bout last November 1 in Saitama, Japan.
Budler has won his last three starts. Included among the lot was a twelve-round win over former WBO junior bantamweight titlist Elwin Soto in their WBC title eliminator last June 25 on the road in Mexicali.
The evening’s co-feature pits two-division titlist Junto Nakatani (25-0, 19KOs) in the first defense of his WBO junior bantamweight title versus Mexico City’s Argi Cortes (25-3-2, 10KOs).
Nakatani—a 5’7” southpaw and former WBO flyweight titleholder—was 114.6 pounds (52kg) for his third fight at junior bantamweight. He enters off his sensational 12th round knockout of Andrew Moloney to win the vacant WBO 115-pound title on May 20 in Las Vegas.
Cortes was 114.4 pounds for his second shot at becoming a champ. He offered a spirited effort in a narrow defeat to lineal junior bantamweight and countryman Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28KOs) last September 3 in Hermosillo, Mexico. Two wins have followed as he fights outside of his home country for the first time as a pro.
Also on the show, kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa enters his second pro fight. He was 122 ¾ pounds (55.7kg) for his scheduled eight-round junior featherweight bout versus Mexico’s Luis Guzman (10-2, 6KOs), who was 122.1 pounds (55.4kg). Nasukawa made his pro boxing debut on the Teraji-Olascuaga card in April.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox