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Hasegawa-Montiel made official

According to Notifight, Teiken promotions has made an official announcement that bantamweight titlist Hozumi Hasegawa will face fellow titlist Fernando Montiel on April 30 at the Tokyo Budokan. 

Because only the WBA and the WBC are recognized as belts in Japan, the fight will only be a unification fight for Montiel.  If Hasegawa wins, the WBO belt would become vacant. 

This is a great matchup between the two, and possibly the toughest matchup of either of their careers.  Hasegawa has looked dominant in recent years, although most of his fights have come against fringe top 10 competition.  Montiel, on the other hand, has looked worse in recent outings, although he has established quite the legacy, winning titles in three weight classes. 

This also seems like a surprise on the promotional front.  Neither Teiken nor Top Rank, the promoters of the two fighters, are known to take risks unless the money is right.  While Hasegawa will likely be a big money fight for Montiel, Montiel isn't enough of a name in Japan to really make much of a dent at the gate.  Furthermore, Bob Arum had been blustering about a fight between Montiel and Eric Morel in a fight nobody but Arum wanted to see, but which would guarantee that Montiel's belt remains in Top Rank hands.

On the co-feature, fellow titlist Toshiaki Nishioka will make the fourth defense of his junior featherweight title against undefeated Pinoy Balweg Bangoyan.

UPDATE [2/23/10, 9:05 a.m.]: According to Rick Reeno, he says he's reached out to Montiel's team, and they're still looking at a fight against Eric Morel, either on a Latin Fury card or on the Cotto-Foreman undercard.

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