By Joe Koizumi
WBC#17 Satoru “Bazooka” Hosono (14-0, 11 KOs), 126, displayed a fine knockout victory over southpaw compatriot Masaki Sawanaga (22-9-4, 9 KOs), 126, at 0:52 of the fourth round in a pier-six brawl to retain his OPBF featherweight belt in his initial defense on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Also, ex-PABA flyweight champ and WBC#23 Richard Garcia (20-9, 5 KOs), 107.75, was awarded a highly debatable majority decision (96-95, 97-96 and 96-96) over Japanese prospect Masayuki Kuroda (12-3, 9 KOs), 108, over ten.
Sawanaga, a 34-year-old veteran, recklessly came out fighting from the outset and put on a non-stop attack to pin the shorter defending champ to the ropes and occasionally hurt him with big southpaw lefts. Hosono, 25, managed by ex-WBC/WBA 105-pound champ Hideyuki Ohashi, started his resilient retaliation from the second, penetrating the challenger’s guard with solid inside blows upstairs and downstairs. The third saw Hosono badly weaken the still pugnacious bull-fighter with wicked body shots and almost down him to the ropes in the closing seconds. The hard-hitting champ, in round four, accelerated his attack, dug heavy body bombardments and exploded a vicious left hook. The game but limited challenger fell face first and stayed prone for a while. As he managed to pull himself up, referee Fukuchi had mercilessly tolled the fatal ten. With more finesse and sophistication Hosono may move up the world feather ladder in the near future, though we admit his attractive power punching.
In the co-feature, it was a questionable decision for Garcia, as Kuroda kept taking the initiative all the way and almost toppled Garcia with a looping left hook in the fifth. Garcia sometimes scored with counters, but was not so sharp as in his previous impressive victory here over ex-Japanese fly ruler Kenji Yoshida, decking him twice to stun the crowd last November. Probably our judges might have been mentally influenced by their preoccupation caused by Garcia’s previous showing. The slick-punching Filipino thus scored four triumphs in a row in Korea, Thailand and Japan (twice). Garcia annexed the PABA 112-pound belt by defeating the then WBA#3 Ratanapol Sor Voraphin in Bangkok last October, but was stripped of his regional belt afterward.
OPBF#2 lightweight Nihito Arakawa (14-1-1, 10 KOs), 134.75, showed his fine form in battering Shinya Yoroizuka (11-3-2, 5 KOs), 134.75, to the punch to stop him at 2:25 of the sixth session in a scheduled eight. Arakawa had fought to a split draw with then OPBF ruler Randy Suico in a quest for the regional belt here last September.
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.