Story and photos by Joe Koizumi
A female world title twinbill will take place in Osaka, Japan, tomorrow (Saturday). WBC female light-flyweight champ Mari Ando (11-6, 5 KOs) will put her belt on the line against southpaw compatriot Yuko Kuroki (10-4-1, 6 KOs) over ten two-minute rounds at the Azarea Taisho Gymnasium. Also, 44-year-old veteran Japanese Nao Ikeyama (13-3-1, 4 KOs) will fight unbeaten Filipino southpaw girl Jessebelle Pagaduan (6-0, 4 KOs) in a quest for the vacant WBO female 102-pound championship in the semi-final of the show. Our people haven’t paid much attention to the female boxing because of a lack of excitement and enthusiasm, but some girls maintain good efforts to increase attentions of our fight fans.
Epoch-making in Japanese fistic history is that this is the very first WBO world title contest ever held here in Japan. WBO supervisor Leon Panoncillo (US) stressed the importance of the Ikeyama-Pagaduan elimination bout as a breakthrough of increasing WBO title goes in Japan.
The officials of the WBC title bout are as follows: referee Hisatoshi Miyazaki; judges Yuji Fukuchi, Masahiro Noda, Yoshikazu Furuta (all of Japan); supervisor Major Lee Wonbok (Korea).
The officials of the WBO title contest are: referee Danrex Tapdasan (Philippines); judges Salven Lagumbay (Philippines), Katsuhiro Nakamura (Japan), Surat Soikrachang (Thailand).
Ando, making her initial defense, tipped the beam at 104.75 to 104.25 for Kuroki, while Ikeyama and Pagaduan both scaled in at the 102-pound class limit.
The event promoted by Yasushi Hirayama of Futur Promotions will start at 2 PM.