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Japan Update

By Joe Koizumi

It is incredible that there happened three more shows on the same day of November 3 in addition to a world title doubleheader in Sendai, Japan, featuring the WBC bantam and fly title bouts with Shinsuke Yamanaka and Toshiyuki Igarashi having emerged victorious.

In Osaka, local prospect Atsushi Kakutani (12-3-1, 5 KOs), 110, impressively defeated WBA#9 light-flyweight contender Rey Lorito (15-12, 8 KOs), 110.25, by a unanimous decision (all 78-74) over eight hard-fought rounds. Lorito made a good start, but the taller Kakutani found his range from the fourth to dominate the following rounds with more accurate combinations in the daytime.

At night in Osaka, ex-OPBF super-welter champ Yuki Nanaka (27-8-2), 159.75, proved sharper and stronger than Korean super-middle ruler Kyungsuk Kwak (10-7, 7 KOs), 159.75, winning a unanimous nod (79-74, 79-75 and 77-75) over eight heats in a separte show (by another promoter).

On the same night in Tokyo, Japanese super-light champ Shinya Iwabuchi (20-3, 16 KOs), 140, kept his national belt by finishing ex-titlist Shinya Nagase (20-5-2, 10 KOs), 140, at 2:51 of the seventh session in a scheduled ten.

On Sunday (November 4), there was another show in Osaka, featuring an OPBF female bantam elimination bout, where OPBF#2 Riyo Togo (9-3-1, 8 KOs), a 37-yer-old veteran at 116/75, withstood the opening attack of previously unbeaten OPBF#1 Tomoko Kawanishi (6-1, 2 KOs), 118, and displayed a fine retaliation en route to a close but unanimous decision (76-75, 77-75 and 77-74) over eight. The Japanese compatriots kept swapping punches, but Togo’s combinations were more persistent and pugnacious enough to hurt the prefight favorite Kawanishi, a tall and stylish but less experienced local prospect. Togo failed to win the WBA 118-pound belt via unanimous decision loss to Janeth Perez in Mexico last July, but acquired the vacant throne (vacated by the current WBA 115-pound ruler Naoko Yamaguchi) in her next bout to her credit. In a supporting bout, unbeaten Ryuto Kyoguchi (9-0, 6 KOs), 126, had a tough time but outpunched ex-OPBF feather ruler Jonel Alibio (16-15-2, KOs), 126, over ten. They kept swapping solid shots so persistently that the crowd was on its feet, expecting either to fall. But both contestants showed the heart to last the give-and-take extravaganza.




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