By Joe Koizumi
WBC bantam champ Hozumi Hasegawa (27-2, 11 KOs), 117.5, a fast-punching Japanese lefty, very impressively kept his belt as he quickly dropped Nestor Rocha (21-2, 7 KOs), 117.5, with a vicious southpaw right hook and sent him to the deck again with a barrage of punches before referee Gary Ritter wisely called a well-received stoppage at 2:28 of the opening session on Tuesday in Kobe, Japan. Hasegawa, making his ninth defense, thus registered latest four defenses within two rounds in succession: Cristian Faccio (TKO2), Alejandro Valdez (TKO2), Vusi Malinga (TKO1) and this remarkable short work.
Photos: Sumio Yamada/WBC
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The 28-year-old champ had expected a tough fight because of Rocha’s vaunted durability and strong heart, but his sharpness was again displayed against the still nervous Californian. Hasegawa connected with fast combinations to Rocha, 26, at the outset, and then threw a southpaw left followed by a picture-perfect right hook that landed the button with good precision. Rocha fell down, and barely regained his feet wobblingly. The champ quickly swarmed over the fading challenger and floored him with a fusillade of punches again. Rocha gamely regained his feet, and the ref logically showed a gesture of urging him to come out fighting. Rocha then badly staggered to have him terminate the affair at the right timing. That’s it. His 148-second demolition apparently raised Hasegawa’s stock, but it’s a wonder that Hasegawa, previously regarded as a soft-punching speedster, became such a marvelous KO artist.
The winner and still champ said, “Sorry not to be able to show a longer fight, but my punches were effective enough to score a quick finish.” The crestfallen loser said, “Sorry not to show a better performance, but the champ was too fast and strong. I’ll come back.”
We know this is a game with a shade of difference between the contestants, and Hasegawa’s sharp right penetrated Rocha’s chin a little faster than the loser attempted to do so. It thus distinguished the winner from the loser in such a quick fashion.
Promoter: Shinsei Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions.