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Kono barely keeps OPBF belt

By Joe Koizumi

WBC#1/WBA#5 ranked OPBF super-fly champ Kohei Kono (25-4, 9 KOs), 115, barely kept his regional belt as he had a tough time coping with desperate southpaw compatriot Masashi Tonomura (13-6-1, 6 KOs), 115, but was awarded a TKO win over the quickly fading challenger at 2:28 of the eleventh session on Monday in Saitama, Japan.

Kono, who had failed to win the vacant WBA 115-pound belt via split duke to fellow countryman Nobuo Nashiro in 2008, was outhuslted by Tonomura, who, however, became exhausted because of his high pace in earlier rounds. Kono’s light but busy combinations had the referee intervene the hot contest in round eleven.

Japanese top super-feather contender Rikiya Fukuhara (24-3-1, 18 KOs), 128, earned a unanimous verdict (79-74 twice and 78-75) over hard-punching Filipino Fernando Otic (11-7, 9 KOs), 128, over eight. Otic occasionally threw fast and solid shots to the Japanese footworker, who gradually took the initiative as the contest progressed.

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