By Joe Koizumi
Ex-OPBF 154-pound champ Yuki Nonaka (20-8-2, 7 KOs), 153.5, barely earned a close but unanimous decision (96-95, 98-95 and 98-93) over previously unbeaten WBO#8 Dmitro Nikulin (21-1, 8 KOs), 153.5, over ten hairline rounds on Sunday in Osaka, Japan.
In an encounter of southpaws, they cautiously probed each other with light jabs in the first two rounds. From the third, Nonaka started positively throwing solid southpaw lefts, while Nikulin covered himself up and responded to his attack. Each failed to hit in combination only to toss a punch at a time. Nikulin, in the last session, was penalized a point for hitting a rabbit punch to the back head of the veteran Japanese, six years his senior at 32. It was such a close affair that but for a penalization in the final round it might have been so close to a draw.
Promoter: Amagasaki Promotions.