By Joe Koizumi
Photo: Boxing Beat
Perennial top contender Tomohiro Ebisu (11-2, 11 KOs), 160, finally seized the Japanese middleweight throne as he withstood opening attacks of defending champ Sanosuke Sasaki (11-2, 5 KOs), 160, dropped him with a flurry of punches in the fifth and halted him at 0:47 of the sixth round on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. It’s a pier-six brawl with each incessantly swapping heavy shots without defending themselves. This reporter imagined the Greb-Walker extravaganza might have been like this give-and-take battle. Ebisu, once a highly touted prospect, had his stock drastically drop with a couple of stoppages by mediocre Fukutaro Ujiie and southpaw veteran Tadashi Yuba. It was Sasaki that had stunned our boxing fraternity with an upset one-punch knockout of Yuba, a four-class champ, to capture the 160-pound belt in his previous bout last October. Sasaki furiously took the initiative from the outset as if he tried to quickly prove that he, a Yuba conqueror, should be stronger than Ebisu who had been dispatched by Yuba. The fifth, however, suddenly saw the tide turn as Ebisu became aggressive with his favorite left hooks followed by solid combinations, badly dropping the champ that apparently had failed to pace himself. Battering the fading champ from all angles, Ebisu was awarded a fine TKO victory and the national belt as well. It wasn’t an upset result but Sasaki’s previous dethronement of Yuba itself might be a fluke.
In a companion title bout, Japanese super-light champ, southpaw hard-puncher Shinya Iwabuchi (21-3, 17 KOs), 140, displayed his power-punching as well as his inferior defensive skills, and finally kept his belt by a furious stoppage over mandatory contender Valentine Hosokawa (16-3-3, 8 KOs), 139.75, at 2:00 of the eighth round in a scheduled ten. Hosokawa, half-breed of a Nigerian father and a Japanese mother, controlled the first three rounds with good direct rights to the southpaw champ, who had the nose bleeding with his absorption of Valentine’s opening attack. The lefty champ, however, regained his rhythm from the fourth on and had the upper hand over the quickly-fading early starter. The eighth witnessed Hosokawa pinned to the ropes with a fusillade of punches by the powerful champ, when the ref mercifully called a halt. The loser pitifully had neither Dick Tiger’s incredible durability nor Hogan Kid Bassey’s abundant stamina.