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Japan Update

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Boxing Beat

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Comebacking formerly world-rated ex-OPBF 154-pound champ Yuki Nonaka (23-8-2, 7 KOs), 160, impressively defeated OPBF#4 New Zealander Lee Oti (17-13-1, 8 KOs), 159.5, by a unanimous decision (99-92, 98-92, 99-91) over ten hot frames last Sunday (February 17) in Sanda, Japan. Nonaka, a tall southpaw, looked sharp and shifty in outpunching the younger opponent who occasionally scored with good shots to the face but failed to catch the faster veteran. Nonaka had him at bay with a flurry of punches in rounds five and seven. The Japanese southpaw, 35, is gunning for a shot at WBO junior middle champ Zaurbek Baysangurov abroad in the near future. Nonaka once entered the world ratings thanks to his upset triumph over previously unbeaten Dmytro Nikulin by a unanimous verdict in 2010, but was unfortunately inactive for a year due to an injury. After his return to the squared circle Nonaka decked four victories in a row to show his steady comeback.

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WBA flyweight champ Juan Carlos Reveco (29-1, 16 KOs), Argentina, arrived in Japan last Sunday and has been strenuously training here prior to his initial defense against Japanese challenger Masayuki Kuroda (21-3-2, 13 KOs) in Kawasaki on this coming Wednesday. On the contrary to the hot weather in his native country in the south hemisphere, Reveco withstood the cold air and reportedly got acclimated with it due to his early arrival. Reveco showed a good form in his public workout, and promised to bring back the belt to Argentina.

A day before the Reveco-Kuroda title bout, there will be a WBA female light-minimumweight (102-pound) championship bout between compatriots Ayaka Miyao and Masae Akitaya at the Korakuen Hall on February 26. Miyao dethroned Mari Ando last year and is making her initial defense against the veteran challenger.

On March 3, we will see a female world title tripleheader featuring a couple of WBC title contests and a WBA championship bout at the Korakuen Hall. WBC atomweight ruler Momo Koseki will make her tenth defense against Mexican Maria Jimenez over ten two-minute rounds. Japanese Naoko Shibata and Mexican Ibeth Zamora will dispute the vacant WBC light-flyweight throne lately renounced by Esmerlda Moreno because of her pregnancy. WBA minimum champ, unbeaten southpaw Etsuko Tada will put her belt on the line against cute and pretty Yuko Kuroda in her ninth defense.

Last Monday (February 18), there happened a big press conference that the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) officially announced its affiliation with the World Boxing Organization (WBO) with its president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel and JBC commissioner Yuko Hayashi in attendance at the Tokyo Dome Hotel. The JBC has decided to allow our boxers to fight for the WBO or the IBF championships from April 1, which is not an April Fool. Previously did the JBC forbid our boxers to fight for any belt of other organizations than those of the WBC and the WBA—for a very long time. It may be a sort of thawing in the freedom of our boxing people that had been anticipating this affiliation for years.




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