By Joe Koizumi
It was a disastrous night of upsets for defending champs in a Japanese title twinbill on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Unheralded Yosukezan Onodera (19-1-1, 7 KOs), 134.75, dethroned WBA#15 formidable national super-light champ Norio Kimura (35-7-2, 19 KOs), 134.75, making his fourteenth defense, by an unexpectedly lopsided verdict (99-91, 98-92 and 97-93) over ten. Also, huge underdog Ryuji Migaki (13-1, 9 KOs), 134.75, decked WBA#10/WBC#12 Japanese lightweight champ Ichitaro Ishii (21-3-1, 16 KOs), 135, in the eighth and halted him at 0:30 in the ninth to capture the national belt to his credit. It was a deluxe show in commemoration of ex-WBA 105-pound champ Yutaka Niida’s farewell to the ring, but his stablemates, Kimura and Ishii, both forfeited their belts in great upsets.
NORIO KIMURA vs. YOSUKEZAN ONODERA
Japanese super-lightweight title bout
Onodera, notorious by his suspect chin as proven by his bad KO defeat by Hiroshi Nakamori (who was supposed to have a mandatory shot at Ishii but pulled out with his injury), made a good start, shaking up with direct rights to the southpaw champ. Kimura previously had an ambitious but unsuccessful shot at the WBA 140-pound belt against Andreas Kotelnik in Ukraine last year. The multi-color-haired flamboyant Kimura was regarded as invincible champ, having kept his belt on thirteen occasions—all by lopsided victories over the challengers. The tricky and pugnacious champ had been unbeaten here since 2003.
Surprisingly did Kimura get knocked down by Onodera’s desperate combinations midway in round two. We realized Kimura wasn’t what he used to be only to be a shell of his previous self as we watched the champ show little zip, speed, sharpness and power tonight. The onrushing challenger completely swept the first half with his aggressive rallies, though sometimes with open blows and without precision. Kimura, in round six, dug a vicious body shot to the liver and temporarily stopped Onodera’s footwork, but couldn’t follow it up probably due to his failure in proper weight reduction.
Still fresh and fast, Onodera was in command for three rounds from the seventh thanks to the champ’s lack of retaliation. Kimura’s go-for-broke attack won the final session, which wasn’t enough to overcome his early deficits on points. No one could have imagined Kimura’s forfeiture of his belt to such an underestimated challenger as Onodera in such a fashion.
ICHITARO ISHII vs. RYUJI MIGAKI
Japanese lightweight title bout
Another upset happened in a supporting event, as Ryuji Migaki, 27 and ex-national amateur champ, took the leadoff by making good use of left jabs in the opening session. Ishii had dethroned OPBF ruler Randy Suico by a split but well-received decision last December, but renounced the regional belt by holding only his national belt. This was his initial defense. Ishii, a shorter but stronger left hooker, furiously fought back with a flurry of punches to win back a point in the second, and we thought it would be Ishii’s night, as expected.
Ishii, however, sustained a gash over the left optic in the second and another around the right eye in the third, which apparently became a handicap for his long night with a nightmare. Migaki methodically kept throwing stinging lefts and long one-two combinations followed by left hooks, steadily piling up points from the champ who seemingly lost his composure in a losing pace.
Midway in the eighth, Migaki cornered the champ and landed a beautiful four-punch combination to floor him for the mandatory eight count. Migaki went for a kill against the still groggy champ, who barely lasted the crisis. As Ishii came out fighting but looked still unsteady on the pedestal, his corner wisely tossed in the towel to save the dethroned champ from further punishment. Prior to the unexpected stoppage that drove the crowd into frenzy, the official tallies all supported the game challenger Migaki: 77-75, 77-74 and 78-73.
Both of world-rated champs lost their belts and world ratings only to fail to celebrate ex-WBA champ Niida’s retirement. It was very ironic, but was a fact.
Promoter: Yokohama Hikari Promotions.