By Joe Koizumi
Shorter but speedy Nanako Kikuchi (10-3-1, 3 KOs), 107.5, acquired the vacant female OPBF 108-pound belt as she took the initiative from the outset, withstood a last surge of taller footworker Kayoko Ebata (2-2, 1 KO), 108, and earned a unanimous decision (97-94 twice and 96-94) over ten two-minute rounds on Friday in Tokyo, Japan. They were far from elegant Japanese ladies, swapping hot rallies all the way. The more experienced Kikuchi, 34, dominated the contest, leading on points: 39-37 twice and 38-38 after the fourth and 68-66 twice and 68-65 after the seventh. Ebata, 33, displayed her desperate retaliation in the final stanza, almost toppling the fading veteran with good shots. It was the first female OPBF title bout under the Japanese OPBF administration. Promoter: Shirai Gushiken Promotions.