Japan’s Kosei Tanaka relinquished his junior flyweight world title on Friday, but the belt won’t be vacant for long.
Tanaka (10-0, 6 KOs), who already has won world titles in two weight classes (strawweight and junior flyweight) at age 22, announced he has vacated his world title in order to move up to the flyweight division.
Promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka sent a letter to WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel to make it official.
“We, Tanaka and I, express our utmost appreciation of your precious guidance and leadership in Tanaka having acquired the WBO 105-pound and 108-pound championships, and sincerely wish that the WBO will newly rank Tanaka in the 112-pound category so that he will try to obtain his third WBO belt,” Hatanaka wrote.
The vacant title will be filled by the winner of the bout between Angel Acosta and Juan “Pinky” Alejo, who meet on the Miguel Cotto-Sadam Ali undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night. Their bout was originally scheduled to be for the vacant interim title while Tanaka recovered from a jaw injury. Now it will be for the vacant 108-pound belt.
Cotto protégé Acosta (16-1, 16 KOs), 27, of Puerto Rico, suffered his only loss in his last fight, a unanimous decision to Tanaka on May 20 in Japan. Alejo (24-4-1, 14 KOs), 33, of Mexico, lost the first three fights of his career in 2009, but has gone 24-1-1 since. His only other defeat came by decision while challenging Donnie Nietes for a junior flyweight world title in October 2015.
Alejo is coming off a 12-round split draw with Luis Javier Cerrito on Sept. 12.