Yudai Shigeoka will face a former beltholder to hold his place in line for a shot at the main prize.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo ‘Bimbito’ Mendez is set to face the unbeaten Shigeoka atop 3150Fight Vol. 5 this Sunday on Abema TV from Yoyogi National 2nd Gymnasium in Tokyo. The WBC-approved interim title fight will see Mendez—a former WBO titlist—replace full WBC strawweight champ Panya Pradabsri, who was hospitalized due to strep throat and fever which required immediate medical attention.

A tireless, globetrotting effort by event promoter Koki Kameda, a former three-division champ allowed Shigeoka (6-0, 4KOs) to remain on a show that features his younger brother, Ginjiro, in an interim IBF strawweight title fight versus former full champ Rene Mark Cuarto.

Wins by both promoters will lead to separate strawweight title shots.

Yudai Shigeoka still has a tough task at hand to get to that point, though.

Mednez (18-2, 6KOs) held the WBO strawweight title for more than two years before losing the belt on Japanese soil. The Puerto Rican southpaw won the belt in a 12-round win over Philippines’ Vic Saludar in August 2019. Two successful defenses followed before the pandemic and other matters slowed his career to a crawl.

A 22-month ring absence preceded Mendez’s eventual eleventh-round knockout defeat to Masataka Taniguchi in their December 2021 clash at the famed Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo. The 26-year-old Boricua has since won his last two starts, both in the Dominican Republic, and was in shape upon getting the call from Kameda to replace an ill Padrabsri to help salvage the show.

Yudai Shigeoka has yet to fight outside his home country in his young career. The 25-year-old southpaw last fought in a third-round knockout of Tatsuro Nakashima last November 17 at the famed Korakuen Hall.

The now-delayed title bid was scheduled three months after younger brother Ginjiro (8-0, 6KOs; 1NC) was considered unlucky to not walk away with the IBF belt in his last fight.

The 23-year-old southpaw was having his way with Daniel Valladares in their January 6 title fight in Osaka. Their brief affair ended in anticlimactic fashion, when a clash of heads left Valladares (26-3-1, 15KOs; 1NC) dizzy and unable to continue. The fight was stopped at 2:48 of round three, with Shigeoka reduced to tears after being denied the title.

Valladares was due to next face the Philippines’ Cuarto (21-3-2, 12KOs), from whom he won the IBF title last July 1 via split decision in San Nicolas de los Garza. The IBF ruled at the time of the Valladares-Shigeoka fight that Cuarto was due a shot at the title within 90 days of the contest.

Valladares was granted a medical exception to delay his mandatory title defense obligations, which paved the way for a Ginjiro-Cuarto pairing on the April 16 show.

Similarly, Pradabsri (39-1, 22KOs) will be mandated to defend against the Yudai-Mendez winner.

The show will air live on Abema TV in Japan. Kameda Promotions previously confirmed to BoxingScene.com of plans to eventually secure a long-term deal to have its 3150Fight series air on a U.S.-based platform, having met with DAZN last week in New York and with Matchroom Boxing in San Antonio in hopes of joining forces.

This particular show, however, remains unavailable for stateside viewers without the benefit of a VPN.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox