By Hisao Adachi, by photo by Naoki Kukuda
The stage is now offiicially set, for the return of the former world bantamweight champion of the World Boxing Council (WBC), with 12 consecutive defenses, Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19KOs, 35 years old,Teiken Boxing Gym in Tokyo), will get the attempt to reclaim his title in a rematch with Luis "Pantera" Nery (25-0, 19 KOs) on the 1st of March in Tokyo, Japan.
Yamanaka was knocked out in the fourth round by Nery last August in the city of Kyoto in Japan, failing to reach his thirteenth defense of his WBC bantamweight world.
Both Yamanaka and Iwasa, attended a packed press conference on Friday in Tokyo to promote the March 1 card.
Yamanaka made it clear that he was very determined with a full hunger and thirst as a gifted boxer to get revenge on Nery for the honor of Japan.
After Yamanaka's knockout loss, the Voluntary Anti Doping Association detected zilpaterol in Nery’s system, which the boxer insisted that he acquired by consuming contaminated meat.
The WBC conducted an investigation, allowed Nery to keep the title and ordered the new champion to rematch Yamanaka.
Nery, with the WBC's blessing, took part in a non-title fight last November in Tijuana, where he secured a knockout victory over Arthur Villanueva. After the fight, Nery commented that he would certainly give Yamanaka a rematch by March 2018.
“To be honest, I’ve been training thinking that I want to avenge the loss to (Nery),” Yamanaka said. “I couldn’t end my career that way. I don’t have to worry about the title defense record any more. I decided to continue to fight with my own will.”
“There’s some easiness and difficulties when you face the same man twice. But the title has changed its place for this time, and I believe (Nery) has gained some confidence having become the champion and is getting his momentum going. So I know it’s going to be a tough fight. But I will overcome it and win. I have my own confidence as well.”
Iwasa, who ironically challenged Yamanaka in 2011 and lost via a sixth-round TKO, is now a world champion and appears in the co-feature.
“I had some hard times after the Yamanaka fight,” said Iwasa (24-2, 16 KOs). “But because I fought against Yamanaka, I have the belt with me now. Because I’d had tough times, I would absolutely like to defend it.”