By Joe Koizumi
It was a turbulent night for defending champs in a national title twinbill. They barely kept the Japanese national belts, but had a really tough time coping with game and desperate challengers. WBC#14 Naoki Matsuda (30-8-4-1NC, 13 KOs), 125.75, hit the canvas with a countering right of JBC#5 Noriyuki Ueno (10-9-4, 3 KOs), 125.5, in the second, fought back hard and finally halted the badly nose-bleeding foe at 2:08 of the tenth and final session. Matsuda, a slow-starter making his second defense, warmed up his engine late from the fourth, utilizing stinging lefts that continually bloodied Ueno’s nose until the abrupt stoppage. With only 52 seconds remaining, though Ueno still showed his fighting spirit, referee Uratani called a halt to the gory challenger. The official tallies after the ninth showed a split verdict (87-85 twice for Matsuda and 86-84 for Ueno), the stoppage looked a little premature to some ringsiders.
Japanese welter champ Daisuke Nakagawa (14-2-1, 10 KOs), 146.5, a tall and lanky jabber making his initial defense, very barely kept his national throne with a come-from-behind stoppage of fast and tricky footworker Koshinmaru Saito (11-3-1, 6 KOs), 147, at 2:36 of the seventh in a scheduled ten. Saito, handled by ex-world 154-pound champ Koichi Wajima (who used to be more tricky and unorthodox than Saito), made good use of his excellent foot speed and quick overhand rights, sweeping almost all rounds before the trick happened (60-55 twice and 59-56 for him). Nakagawa, in round seven, furiously turned loose with a non-stop attack that hurt the fading footworker and downed him on the knee, when referee Martin abruptly halted the proceedings.
Undercard: JBC#1 super-light Yoshihiro Kamegai (12-0, 10 KOs), 141.75, pounded out a shutout decision (80-72 twice and 80-73) over OPBF#10 light Heri Andriyanto (14-8-1, 4 KOs), 141.5, but failed to extend his KO streak over eight. JBC#9 Hirofumi Shimazaki (8-5-1, 1 KO), 105, was surprisingly stopped by unheralded Norihito Tanaka (10-4-2, no KO), 104.25, at 2:04 of the third round in a scheduled eight.
Promoter: Teiken Promotions.
Remarks: After we sadly witnessed a ring tragedy of Masatate Tsuji passing away this March, generally speaking, the referee’s stoppages have become much earlier than previously here in Japan. It is a perennial problem to be continually pursued when the proper and timing of the third man’s stoppage is. Boxing people still vividly remember the Tsuji tragedy, so no one complain of any premature stoppage at this moment. But, even as a minority, this reporter would like to express a humble opinion that too early stoppages might kill the future of boxing. Customers pay for tickets to get away from the routine, being thirsty for excitement, entertainment, impact or thrill. Safety in boxing, of course, is most important from the humanitarian point of view, but should all the referees commit too many premature stoppages, the Sweet Science will decline without doubt. People may go and see MMA instead. So, we must deeply consider the optimum timing of the ref’s stoppage once again.