Boxing's Most Overlooked Champion Shinsuke Yamanaka Returns August 15 Against Luis Nery
Published: August 12, 2017
It has been an unusually busy summer for the sport of boxing. Lost in the shuffle between Floyd Mayweather facing Conor McGregor and next weekend’s Super Welterweight (140) unification bout between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo is Japanese WBC Bantamweight champion (118) Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19 KOs). Yamanaka is one of the best boxers on the planet with many respected publications like RingTV ranking him as one of the ten best pound-for-pound. Still, most fans have not seen Yamanaka fight outside of YouTube and at 34 years of age may not have the opportunity to do so for much longer.
Yamanaka has fought all of his fights in his native Japan and fights in one of boxings least publicized divisions. This has contributed to his lack of star power outside of Japan. However, he is one of the few fighters in the sport currently to have made a real legacy in a weight class. Yamanaka has made 12 successful title defenses of his WBC championship with eight by way of knockout. He is also only four defenses away from tying the division record set by Orlando Canizales (50-5-1, 37 KOs).
Last year Yamanaka was involved in one of the best fights of the year when he faced Anselmo Moreno (36-6-1, 12 KOs) in a rematch that featured five knockdowns. Moreno is best known for his fights with Abner Mares and Vic Darchinyan. Yamanaka ended up getting the stoppage victory in the seventh round. The fight might have been awarded fight of the year honors if it were not for Orlando Salido and Francisco Vargas putting on a classic last June.
This upcoming Tuesday Yamanaka will attempt to make the 13th defense of his title. The Japanese champion will go against the number one contender for his WBC title against Mexico’s Luis Nery (23-0, 17 KOs). Unfortunately, the fight will not be televised live on any channel that is readily available for most consumers. It may be another find on YouTube in the upcoming weeks.
While Yamanaka has established himself as the best bantamweight in the division, unification fights with the other titleholders in the division have yet to occur. Fights with WBO champion Zolani Teti (25-3, 20 KOs) or even two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) who fought in Japan in 2014 would be a way for Yamanaka to end his career with a fight that many fans would be interested in watching. Few fighters have shown the consistency that Yamanaka has displayed in his career. While fame has never come his way, it is possible that when his career is over, he may be headed into the hall-of-fame.
(Feature Photo: KYODO)