Japan’s assault on the bantamweight division shows no signs of slowing down. Jake Donovan reports that Kameda Promotions won the rights to stage the un-retired Emmanuel Rodriguez’s IBF title defense against mandatory challenger Ryosuke Nishida, with Salvador Rodriguez (no relation) naming a target destination of Japan in May
Per Donovan, Rodriguez (22-2, 13 KO) was “frustrated with the aftermath” of last August’s thrashing of Melvin Lopez. I’m not clear on what said aftermath was, but I’m definitely glad to see the 31-year-old back in action. He’s arguably the cream of the post-Inoue bantamweight crop right now, boasting a well-aged win over fellow titlist Jason Moloney, and his only non-Monster defeat came via robbery against Reymart Gaballo.
He’ll have to be on point here. Though Nishida (8-0, 1 KO) has just four years of pro experience and 1/3rd the fights of Rodriguez, he’s been extraordinarily aggressive with his matchmaking. He cruised past former title challenger Shohei Omori in just his third fight, then did the same to the undersized-but-dangerous Daigo Higa in a 12-rounder four months later. Though he can’t punch, the man can box, as seen when he beat world-ranked Christian Medina in an eliminator last year.
Between Nishida and Junto Nakatani, Japan could potentially reclaim a supermajority of the bantamweight titles in just a few short months. We’ll see if “Manny” can play spoiler.