Report by Joe Koizumi

JOICHIRO TATSUYOSHI, WBC bantam champ, decided to risk his title against
ex-WBA bantam ruler VEERAPHOL NAKONLUAN-PROMOTION, Thailand, in Osaka on
Dec. 29.  Tatsuyoshi captured the WBC 118-pound crown by dispatching
Thailander Sirimongkol Nakornthorn-Parkview in 7 see-saw rounds in Osaka
in Nov., 1997.  Joichiro, 17-4-1, 12 KOs, kept it twice, beating Jose
Rafael Sosa (W12) and Paulie Ayala (TW6) to his credit.  Veeraphol,
19-1, 13 KOs, was formerly a kick-boxing star in Bangkok prior to
entering the international paid ranks.  He captured the WBA title in his
4th pro bout, upsetting Daorung MP Petroleum on points in 1995.  His
reign was brief, as he dropped Ghanan Nana Konadu in the first round but
sank in the 2nd to forfeit his WBA crown in his 1st defense.  Veeraphol
is regarded as a dangerous opposition to Tatsuyoshi due to his fast
footwork and crisp punching. But Tatsuyoshi, a flamboyant and talkative
champ, predicts his KO win.

SATOSHI IIDA, WBA super-fly champ, will put his title on the line
against compatriot TAKATO TOGUCHI, 23-3, 19 KOs, in Nagoya on Dec. 23. 
Iida, 25-1-1, 11 KOs, is a game and stylish lefty who wrested the title
by eking out a decision over Thailand's Yokthai Sith-Oar on the same day
of the previous year.  Iida kept it twice by outscoring compatriot
Hiroki Ioka and #1 contender Julio Gamboa.  Toguchi, a wild-swinging
hard-puncher, had an unsuccessful crack at the WBC fly title against
Russian Yuri Arbachakov, losing on a 9th round TKO in 1996.  Toguchi,
scoring 5 wins with 4 KOs since, may have a puncher's chance, but Iida
is a smarter and faster southpaw.

PICHIT CHOR SIRIWAT, WBA light fly champ, will defend his title against
Korean TAEKIL LEE in Bangkok on Oct. 17, while the WBA Convention is
held there.  Pichit demolished Japanese lefty Keiji Yamaguchi with a
single southpaw right hook in 2 quick rounds in Osaka, Japan, in Dec.,
1996.  The fleet-footed lefty retained his diadem twice, beating
Sangchul Lee and #1 contender Hadao CP Gym both on points.  Though
Pichit has been inactive since his last defense with Hadao, he will
outspeed the Korean underdog with ease.

INJOO CHO, who upset the WBC super-fly boss Gerry Penalosa in Seoul last
Aug., will face WBC #1 ranked contender JOEL LUNA ZARATE, Mexico, in
Seoul on Dec. 27.  Zarate fought to a 2nd round technical draw with
Penalosa in Manila on Apr. 25, and the WBC recommended a rematch after
Penalosa's voluntary defense in Korea.  But the Filipino lefty amazingly
dropped an upset decision to Cho chiefly due to his managerial problem
with Wakee Salud.  Zarate is favored to win even in Korea thanks to his
superior experience, but the unbeaten Cho may try to utilize his gifted
physique and speed on foot.  Cho, 13-0, 6 KOs, is not a crowd-pleaser at
all even in Korea because he depends on his footwork too much.

KENGO NAGASHIMA, WBC #8 contender, barely kept his OPBF (Oriental and
Pacific Boxing Federation) super-feather title, as he survived an 8th
round visit to the canvas, floored veteran compatriot NOBUTOSHI
HIRANAKA, 130, in the 11th and earned a close but unanimous decision
over 12 hard-fought rounds in Tokyo on Oct. 3.  Scored: 114-113, 115-113
and 116-115, all for Nagashima, a lefty footworker, 12-1-1, 8 KOs. 
Hiranaka, who had failed to win the WBA and WBC feather titles at the
hands of Eloy Rojas and Luisito Espinosa, fell to 17-4-1, 11 KOs.  In a
supporting 10, fast lefty SHIN YAMATO, 118, kept his Japanese national
bantam crown on a technical draw with THE MUSASHI, 117 1/4, after the
3rd because of the champ's bad gash on an accidental clash of heads.
Yamato is 13-1-4, 3 KOs.  Musashi fell to 13-10-5, 7 KOs.

NOLITO "SUZUKI" CABATO, 112, failed in his 7th defense of his Japanese
fly title, as he lost a majority verdict (96-95, 97-96 and 96-96) to
taller lefty CELES KOBAYASHI, 112, over 10 in Tokyo on Sept. 30.  Cabato
didn't show his usual zip, and Celes scored well with effective body
shots to take the initiative.

OPBF TITLE BOUTS:  We will see many OPBF title bouts here in Japan. 
Filipino speedster RAFFY MONTALBAN, WBC #3 ranked 115-pounder, will face
Japanese lefty KAZUHIRO RYUKO in Tokyo on Oct. 27.  In Nagoya, on Oct.
31, a dutal OPBF title bout will take place.  The vacant OPBF crown will
be disputed by foreigners #1 ranked TOAKIPA TASEFA of New Zealand and #3
ranked JUSTINE FORTUNE of Australia.  Originally #2 ranked PETER
ISHIMARU OKELLO, an unbeaten Japan-based Ugandan, was slated to meet
Tasefa, but he sustained a dislocated shoulder while he was training in
Sydney, Australia.  Promoter Toshiro Matsuo made up his mind to promote
the Tasefa vs. Fortune bout under the condition that the winner will
meet his boy Peter in 60 days.  Another OPBF title bout in Nagoya will
be fought by defending OPBF super-bantam champ REYNANTE JAMILI, WBC #2
ranked super-bantam, and unbeaten Japan-based lefty Ugandan ISAAC
SENTUWA.  The OPBF feather champ TAKEO IMAOKA, WBC #8 contender, will
face compatriot TOSHIHARU SAOTOME with his title at stake in Tokyo on
Nov. 9.  The OPBF middle champ KEVIN PALMER, a Japan-based US military
worker ranked #5 by the WBC, will defend his regional title against
Filipino champ ERNIE ALESNA in Tokyo on Dec. 15.

An interesting matchup is a non-title go between the OPBF bantam champ
and WBC #11 contender JESS MACA and sensational KO artist SHIGERU
NAKAZATO in Tokyo on Oct. 19.  Nakazato, 15-1, 10 KOs, is one of the
most promising youngsters here, and is expected to produce an upset
triumph. Maca, a busy campaigner, will defend his title against Japanese
champ Shin Yamato here in Jan.

HIROAKI YOKOTA, ex-Japanese super-bantam champ, will make a one-fight
comeback under our Commission's special permission, as he once announced
his retirement in 1995 and became a club owner and manager.  Yokota, 36
years of age and 25-5-1, 15 KOs, had an ambitious crack at the WBA
super-bantam crown against Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazuez only to lose a
close but unanimous decision in 1993.  He will face SHINYA KIUCHI, JBC
#8 feather, in Tokyo on Oct. 13.  Our Commission's rules say that no
boxers but world champs who become 37 years of age will not be allowed
to fight in Japan.  So, Yokota, just 6 days before his 37th birthday,
will fight his final bout. Good luck.

JOMA GAMBOA, WBA #1 ranked light fly, scored a shutout decision over
lefty veteran RUDY IDANO over 10 in Mandaue, Cebu, Philippnes, on Sept.
25.  Gamboa, 25-3-1, 19 KOs (including 8 first round KOs), will have a
mandatory shot at the winner of Pichit Chor Siriwat and Taekil Lee this
coming Dec. or Jan.  VERNIE TORRES, previously unbeaten Philippine
super-fly champ ranked #12 by the WBC, surprisingly dropped a close but
unanimous decision to FELIX MARFA in a non-title bout.
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