By Joe Koizumi
Photo by Boxing Beat
Unbeaten Japanese Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6 KOs), 115, successfully made her initial defense of the WBA female super-flyweight belt as she overcame a five-inch height difference and pounded out a unanimous decision (all 97-93) over OPBF titlist and compatriot Tomoko Kawanishi (9-2, 4 KOs), 115, over ten heats on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. The taller challenger made a good start by throwing a long left-right combination to the much shorter champ, who kept moving to-and-fro to feel out Kawanishi’s aggressiveness and stiffness as well. Fujioka, who dethroned compatriot Naoko Yamaguchi last November, regained her rhythm from the second on, precisely landing fast combinations and quickly moving out of the range. Though Kawanishi, eleven years her junior at 27, was in command in round four, when she kept stalking the elusive champ with busy but less accurate combos.
From the fifth on, it became a nearly lopsided affair as Fujioka often had Kawanishi at a standstill with solid roundhouse combinations to the face to sweep all thereafter. The champ’s left hooks repeatedly bounced off the face of the taller upright stylist.
The victor Fujioka jubilantly said, “Kawanishi was so game and gallant that I had a tough time coping with her strong heart, but I could show my good form to defend my belt.” The loser Kawanishi gloomily reviewed the fight, saying, “Fujioka belongs to a different league, and I must learn and train more to be competitive with her. It’s a good lesson for me.”
A Wilfredo Gomez stylist (Fujioka) thus defeated a Carlos Zarate stylist (Kawanishi), as Bazook did so to Canas in 1978.
Promoter: Takehara & Hatakeyama Promotions in association with Ichiriki Promotions.