By Joe Koizumi
Busy-punching Filipino, WBC#7/WBA#10 Rocky Fuentes (25-6-2, 16 KOs), 111.25, impressively kept his OPBF flyweight belt as he persistently kept swapping punches with OPBF top contender Koji Aritomi (17-2-2, 8 KOs), 112, from the outset, scored a knockdown in the fifth and finally halted the game but fading Japanese at 2:13 of the eighth round on Sunday in Nagoya, Japan.
Having dethroned Japan’s Masafumi Okubo last March, Fuentes made a fine initial defense by overwhelming OPBF top contender Shigetaka Ikehara via eleventh round stoppage this June. The 24-year-old Filipino again displayed a good form in outhustling and outpunching the game but limited Japanese to the punch.
His overhand right had Aritomi hit the deck with his right hand in the closing seconds of the fifth, when referee Jaebong Kim tolled a mandatory eight. Fuentes effectively weakened him with solid body bombardments and accelerated his attack to have him staggering to the ropes. The ref then declared a well-timed halt to save the loser from further punishment. Despite his lack of convincing power, Fuentes proved a versatile-punching champ who may improve with more experience. Prior to the stoppage, the official tallies showed ref Kim 68-63, judges Olalo and Sugiyama 68-63 and 69-63 respectively, all in favor of the defending titlist.
Ex-OPBF super-bantam champ Hiromasa Ohashi (22-9-3, 15 KOs), 124.25, was behind on points in the first half, but dropped fast-moving Filipino Mark John Yap (13-4, 6 KOs), 123.25, in the sixth and seventh to earn a unanimous nod (77-73, 76-74 and 76-75) over eight.
Promoter: Matsuda Promotions.