By Joe Koizumi
Lanky Japanese jabber, OPBF#4 super-bantam Eita Kikuchi (14-2-4, 6 KOs), 119.5, decked an important victory when he kept outjabbing WBA#12 bantam Noldi Manakane (24-12-1, 15 KOs), Indonesia, 119.5, all the way and earned a unanimous decision (96-94, 96-95 and 99-94) over ten furious rounds on Sunday in Kobe, Japan. Manakane had failed to win the WBA bantam belt from Koki Kameda, losing a debatable decision in Yokohama last April. The free-swinging Indonesian attempted to catch the much taller Japanese with roundhouse lefts and rights, which were missing the elusive target. Kikuchi exclusively aimed at the midsection, winning the third through fifth rounds. Visibly fading with his absorption of Kikuchi’s body shots, Manakane changed his strategy to counterpunching with his back to the ropes in the second half. The Indonesian veteran dominated the seventh, but couldn’t show his superior power with his fatigue in the last three sessions.
Undercard: Ex-amateur lightweight prospect Masayoshi Nakatani (4-0, 3 KOs), 135, stunned the crowd with a quick demolition of OPBF#13 ranked Ronnel Esparas (9-8-1, 1 KO), 134.5, at 2:45 of the opening session in a scheduled eight. Nakatani decked the sturdy Filipino southpaw with a smashing right counter, and dropped him again with a fierce follow-up for the count. Nakatani, tall, hard-hitting and still young, is worth watching. Japan’s #7 super-welter Masahiro Mizumoto (18-3-2, 7 KOs), 148.5, floored hard-punching Filipino Eusebio Baluarte (19-7, 12 KOs), 147.25, four times and finally finished him with a devastating left hook to the temple at 1:02 of the third round in a scheduled eight.
Promoter: Shinsei Promotions.