This Wednesday, October 22nd, at the #2 Yoyogi Gym in Tokyo, Shinsuke Yamanaka defends the WBC World Bantamweight Title for the 8th time as he takes on Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. Yamanaka, who is undefeated at 21-0 is a huge (-7500) favorite over Rungvisai, who returns at (+2500). On the undercard in a 10 rounder at Lightweight Takahiro Ao (-160) is a slight favorite over Juan Carlos Salgado (+120), who comes back at (+120). In an interesting side note, both Ao and Salgado have identical 26-3-1 career marks. Yamanaka is a long time champion with a solid promotional backing in Japan, and as happens in Japan with champions that fit that bill, the promotions bring in the opposition, and the fighter gets to enjoy the home cooking with all the fixins’. It has been that way for Yamanaka since his promoters won the bid to fill the vacant WBC Bantamweight title back in November of 2011, and it has been that way through 6 title defenses, and Rungvisai is basically another check on the list. A hard working veteran who has worked his way to a top ranking in his native Thailand, this is Rungvisai’s first fight overseas. The real showdown in Japan for Yamanaka will come from countryman Tomoki Kameda (30-0), who captured the WBO Bantamweight title back in August of last year and has already defended it twice. His next defense is against Alejandro Hernandez, who holds an interim version of the WBA belt but is expected to be a huge underdog to Kameda. Though he has more career fights, Kameda is 4 years the junior of Yamanaka and the showdown would be an attempt on Kameda’s part to usurp the #1 spot held by Yamanaka. That match is expected for 2015, with possibly both men getting another tune-up fight before it happens. Kameda especially, is on record as stating he wants to take fights against lefties as he prepares for the southpaw Yamanaka. In the support co-main event, Takahiro Ao is looking to win his 4th fight in a row at Lightweight since July of last year. Prior to that, Ao held the WBC’s Super Featherweight title, making two successful title defenses before losing the belt and moving up in weight class. Salgado is a crafty Mexican veteran who has dropped 2 fights in a row, and this will be only his second fight at Lightweight. He has fought in various weight classes however it was at Super Featherweight that he held and defended 3 times before dropping the belt, so his resume is very similar to Ao’s, and this is expected to be a real test for the Japanese fighter. This is Salgado’s first trip to Japan for a fight, and though he has 16 KO’s, his three losses have all come via stoppage as well. Overall, Ao versus Salgado has the potential to be a great fight, as both men find themselves trying to climb the rankings in a heavier weight class after world title reigns at a different class. As for Yamanaka, everyone expects him to do his job in this fight and move on, with a big showdown with Kameda awaiting sometime next year.