Japan Update

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Boxing Beat

We had a very busy week with important events and results here in Japan.

On Monday (November 12), WBA female super-flyweight champ Naoko Yamaguchi (20-3-3, 16 KOs), 114.75, Japan, made her first defense as she pounded out a unanimous decision over Mexican Judith Rodriguez (6-2, 4 KOs), 115, over ten hard-fought rounds in Tokyo. The champ had a tough time copping with the aggressive challenger in early rounds, but utilized her skills in outlegging and outpunching her down the stretch.

In a supporting bout, fast-rising Koki Eto (12-2-1, 9 KOs), 113.75, stunned the crowd with his demolition of WBA#9 rated flyweight Denchailek Kratingdaeng-gym (20-2-1, 8 KOs), 114, in the second round. Eto, one of his three brothers, dropped the highly regarded Thailander on three occasions to score an upset KO win due to the JBC’s three knockdown rules in effect. This tall and hard-hitting prospect is worth watching.

On Tuesday (November 13), former WBC super-bantamweight kingpin Toshiaki Nishioka (39-5-3, 24 KOs) officially made an announcement to retire from ring competition for good. The 36-year-old Japanese southpaw kept his WBC 122-pound belt on seven occasions with five within the distance to his credit, including his spectacular come-from-behind knockout victory over mandatory challenger Jhonny Gonzalez with a single southpaw left leather in the third round in Monterrey, Mexico, in May 2009. Nishioka became the first Japanese that registered a successful defense in Las Vegas, where he defeated Rafael Marquez on a unanimous verdict in October of the previous year. His final showing was witnessed in Carson, California, where he suffered a TKO defeat at the hand of Nonito Donaire this October. He will open his gym to cultivate young boys in Kobe or Osaka. He was a great boxer that overcame plenty of hardships such as four-time failure to win the world bantam belt (despite a couple of draws) and rupture of Achilles’ tendon (that caused his pitiful hiatus for more than a year). His 18-year career is thus over with our greatest praise of his continual efforts.

On Wednesday (November 14), ex-WBA super-bantam champ Akifumi Shimoda (27-3-1, 12 KOs), 124, impressively displayed a fine stoppage of WBC-rated Mexican Hugo Partida (16-4-2, 13 KOs), 124, at1:18 of the ninth round. Shimoda had the wild-swinging Mexican hit the deck three times in the fifth, eighth and fatal ninth rounds.

Partida was accompanied by legendary Mexican great champion Carlos Zarate, who was wholeheartedly welcomed by all boxing people and aficionados here. Zarate looked tired of having written too many autograph.

On Friday (November 16), in Tokyo, ex-OPBF welter and super-welter champ Kazuhiko Hidaka (30-6, 21 KOs), 154, annihilated former Indonesian titlist Dwi Amx (10-4-1, 6 KOs), 161, at 3:09 of the fourth session at the Korakuen Hall.

On Sunday, we see five shows in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kariya, Kobe, and Okinawa. This reporter is moving to Kobe to watch the OPBF 122-pound title bout between unbeaten champ Yukinori Oguni and ex-champ Roli Gasca. I need another body to watch more shows as I can watch only a show at a time.

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