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    Vic Saludar returns to site of biggest triumph for first defense of WBO title

    Feb 25, 2019

    VIC Saludar makes the first defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) mini-flyweight crown against Masataka Taniguchi of Japan at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on Tuesday night.

    Saludar arrived at the cold Japanese capital on Saturday accompanied by trainer Michael Palacios.

    On Monday, both fighters made weight during the official weigh-in. Saludar came in at 104.7 lbs. while Tanugichi at 104.6.

    The 28-year-old Filipino, a former Asian Games bronze medallist, won the 105-lbs. crown in July with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Japanese Ryuya Yamanaka, raising his record to 18-3 overall with 10 KOs.

    This will be the third time Saludar will be fighting in Japan in four years. He first came over in 2015 in a futile attempt at the WBO mini-flyweight title, losing via six-round knockout to the unbeaten Kosei Tanaka in Nagoya.

    Saludar, a native of Polomolok, Cotabato, trained in General Santos City for the fight. He was supposed to receive a citation during the SMC-PSA Annual Awards Night but begged off from attending the affair due to his title defense.

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    Taniguchi (11-2, with 7 KOs) is fighting in his first world title match.

    The 25-year-old Tokyo native earned a shot at Saludar’s crown after a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Filipino Joel Lino in Bangkok, Thailand. Taniguchi won by scores of 119-109, 119-109, and 116-112.

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    The Japanese had previously beaten two other Filipinos in Benjie Bartolome and Joey Bactul.

    Meanwhile, Nonito Donaire will meet Zolani Tete in a bantamweight unification bout on April 27 in the U.S.

    The 12-round match serves as the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series. The other semis pairing piting Naoya Inoue versus Emmanuel Rodriguez will take place in Glasgow, Scotland on May 18.

    Donaire and Tete set-up the showdown after beating their respective quarterfinals opponent last year.

    The South African fighter came away with a unanimous decision over Mikhail Aloyan of Russia, 114-110, 114-111, and 114-111 to win the WBO 118-lbs. crown.

    The ‘Filipino Flash’ won a technical decision after top seed Ryan Burnett of Northern Ireland was forced to retire at the end of round four due to a lower back injury, giving Donaire the World Boxing Association (WBA) version of the belt.

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    “Tete is a formidable opponent and we have been preparing since the last fight. I’m even more excited with it being in the U.S. and won’t waste the opportunity to show the crowd what we’ve been working on,” said the 36-year-old Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) in a statement.

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