Fleet-footed and fast-punching Rikiya Fukuhara (22-3-1, 17 KOs), ex-Japanese 122-pound champ, 129.75, engaged in his second comebacking bout, and impressively managed to pound out an upset unanimous decision (78-75, 79-75 and 79-74) over JBC top 130-pound contender Hero Bando (20-10-6, 9 KOs), 130, over eight hot frames on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
It was an encounter of a couple of the most handsome ringmen here, so many female fans affectionately came and saw this contest. Fukuhara had returned to ring warfare after an 18-month hiatus because of his serious right hand fracture to dispatch Ikuto Kobayashi in two quick rounds this May. It was regarded as too much for him to cope with such a heavier, durable and dangerous give-and-take battler as Bando, who previously fought toe-to-toe with unbeaten KO artist Edwin Valero despite his first-round annihilation in 2005. But Fukuhara’s speed, footwork and skills enabled him to avert Bando’s reckless attack and effectively counter him with Ricardo-Lopez-like left uppercuts to the face almost all the way except in the last two sessions, when Bando almost caught the Fancy Dan with his last surge. It was a very interesting confrontation of the boxer versus the puncher.