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Kosei Tanaka and Masahiro Sakamoto Win in Japan
Pictured: Former WBO World Mini-Flyweight and World Junior Flyweight Champion Kosei Tanaka

During the two-day period of Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1, two fighters, each seeking a showdown with WBO World flyweight champion Sho Kimura, took steps toward securing title shots. Undefeated Kosei Tanaka, already ranked #1 at 112 by the WBO, won his official debut as a flyweight by stopping Ronnie Baldonado of the Philippines and Masahiro Sakamoto successfully defended the WBO Asia Pacific title by halting Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (Wicha Phulaikhao).

Saturday, March 31, 2018-

Nagoya, Aichi, Japan-

Flyweight Bout-
Kosei Tanaka (WBO #1, WBC #4- both at 112; Transnational #5 at 108; 11-0, 7 KOs)
TKO-9 2:26
Ronnie Baldonado (WBO #13, WBC #34; 10-1-1, 7 KOs)
- Tanaka, who has won WBO World titles at 105 and 108, made his official debut at 112 a successful one by decking Baldonado in the fourth round and pummeling him until the referee wisely halted the contest in the ninth round.
- Tanaka led by three 80-71 scores going into the ninth frame.
- This was a solid win for the former two-time world champion. Baldonado came into the bout off of wins over China's Yiming Ma (TKO-1) and Iwan "Sniper" Zoda (KO-6) of Indonesia.

Sunday, April 1, 2018-

Osaka, Osaka, Japan-

WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight Title-
Champion Masahiro Sakamoto (WBO #9; 12-1, 8 KOs)
KO-6 1:36
Pigmy Kokietgym (birth name: Wicha Phulaikhao; 60-10-2, 24 KOs)
- Phulaikhao came into the bout ranked #3 by the WBO Asia Pacific.
- Sakamoto, whose only loss was by majority decision to current WBO World champion Sho Kimura, had knocked out former WBA World minimumweight champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (birth name: Ekavit Songnui; 50-5-1, 27 KOs) in the third round on December 3, 2017 to win the Asia Pacific belt. This was his first title defense.
Article By: Ken Pollitt