By Joe Koizumi
WBC#10 feather Naoki Matsuda (29-8-4-1NC, 12 KOs), 126, very barely kept his Japanese 126-pound title when he was held to a split draw (97-94, 95-96 and 96-96) by ex-champ Koji Umezu (15-8-2, 6 KOs), 126, over ten heats on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. It was such a close affair, as Umezu seemingly overpowered the champ all the way, while Matsuda (formerly a conqueror of ex-WBC feather champ Rudy Lopez in Mexico) occasionally an effective shot at a time. Undercard: WBA#9/WBC#13 122-pounder Akifumi Shimoda (18-2-1, 8 KOs), 123, fought to a technical draw with Panamanian Jose Arboleda (23-4-2, 9 KOs), 122.75, at 1:08 of the third session because of the Japanese southpaw’s bad vertical laceration at the forehead in a scheduled ten. Promoter: Teiken Promotions.