By Joe Koizumi
WBA#6 ex-OPBF 115-pound champ Kohei Kono (22-4, 8 KOs), 117, returned to ring action five months after his unsuccessful WBA title shot and decked a fine TKO win over OPBF#13 Hendrik Barongsay (13-7-3, 4 KOs), 115.75, Indonesia, at 2:28 of the sixth round in a scheduled ten on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
Still complaining of his split decision loss to compatriot Nobuo Nashiro and claiming his victory in a WBA super-fly elimination bout last September, Kono looked fresh and motivated enough to overpower the shorter and excessively cautious Indonesian, who seemed to bring his fighting spirit only to cover him up all the way. Kono had the negative opponent on the deck three times in round one, four and five before the referee Abe called a halt to a lopsided onslaught.
Tall as a 115-pounder standing 5’7″ and probably superior to any super-fly opposition in physical power, Kono is short of finesse and punching power despite always displaying his remarkable volume of punches in the close quarter. He will need more sharpness in skills, should he win the world belt.
Kono will fight next to regain the currently vacant OPBF 115-pound belt, lately renounced by his stablemate Konosuke Tomiyama who will have an ambitious crack at Kono’s archrival Nashiro on April 11.
Undercard: Unranked and unheralded Masashi Tonomura (11-5, 4 KOs), 112, surprisingly scored an upset one-punch KO win over JBC#6 ranked ex-challenger to the national belt, Tomoya Kaneshiro (16-3-1, 7 KOs), 111.75, at 0:40 into the fourth session in a scheduled eight.
Promoter: Watanabe Promotions.