By Joe Koizumi
WBA#8/WBC#29 Akihiro Kondo (13-1, 6 KOs), 135, barely retained his Japanese national lightweight belt as he allowed top contender Yoshitaka Kato (17-3-1, 5 KOs), 135, take the initiative from the outset, floored him with a solid left hook in the third and managed to earn a close split verdict (96-94, 96-93 and 94-95) over ten heats on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Having surprisingly dethroned world-rated Ryuji Migaki by a 45-second demolition this August, Kondo, making his initial defense, experienced a very tough defense, but his hit-and-run tactics paid off in later rounds to earn points enough to keep his national belt. Promoter: Tokuhon Shinto Promotions.
WBC#3 Daigo Nakahiro (21-2-1, 8 KOs), 115, barely kept his Japanese super-fly belt when he was held to a split draw (96-94 for him, 95-95 and 96-96) by unbeaten and hard-punching Ryo Akaho (13-0-2, 7 KOs), 115, over ten sizzling rounds on Friday in Hiroshima, Japan. Almost at the same time with Hozumi Hasegawa’s tenth successful defense with Alvaro Perez in Kobe, this national title bout took place some 200 kilometers west and people watched the local favorite Nakahiro’s tough defense. Nakahiro made a good start and was in command in the first half, utilizing his versatile combinations to the nervous challenger. Akaho, however, turned loose from the sixth and connected well with strong body shots to weaken the champ. Akaho, five years his junior at 23, should have started his engine a little earlier. Promoter: Hiroshima Sanei Promotions.