By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Boxing Beat
Short but swift Juan Carlos Reveco (30-1, 16 KOs), 112, Argentina, kept his WBA flyweight belt as he pounded out a unanimous decision over taller Japanese Masayuki Kuroda (21-4-2, 13 KOs), 111.75, over twelve lopsided rounds on Wednesday in Kawasaki, Japan. There were no knockdowns, but Reveco was the aggressor all the way.
Ted Gimza (US) and Prommase Chakshuraksha (Thailand) both scored 117-111, and Philippe Verbeke (Belgium) had it 116-112, all in favor of the defending titlist. The referee was Tony Weeks (US). Their tallies were partly inconsistent, but all agreed to render the fifth round to Kuroda.
It was a nearly one-sided affair with Reveco concentrating on double or triple lefts to the face and midsection. Probably seventy or eighty percent of Reveco’s punches were thrown with his left hand as if he had the right hand injured. Reveco, however, said afterward, “I had a swollen left hand.” If so, why didn’t he use his right hand more frequently?
We had seen excellent flyweight champions from Argentina—Pascual Perez (84-7-1, 57 KOs) who dethroned our first champ Yoshio Shirai in 1954), Horacio Accavallo (75-2-6, 34 KOs; who defeated our hero Hiroyuki Ebihara twice in Buenos Aires) and Santos Laciar (79-10-11, 31 KOs; who easily dispatched Shuichi Hozumi here). All had similar physique. They were short, sturdy and strong. Reveco also belongs to the same league.
Reveco standing only 5’3” displayed his speed and power in throwing lead lefts from the outset. Kuroda, three inches taller, looked bewildered by the champ’s opening attack, but began to toss sporadic jabs from his upright style. The Argentine champ, three years his senior at 29, threw versatile lefts—double left hook to the side of the belly and to the face—to dominate the second session except a moment Kuroda had him off balanced with a long left hook. A judge gave this round to Kuroda, while the other two saw it for Reveco.
The third was also controlled by the shorter but more energetic champ, but he sustained a cut on the surface of the skull, which kept bleeding thereafter until the end. Kuroda threw plenty of left jabs, which failed to catch the elusive target with precision. Reveco, making his third defense since acquiring the WBA interim belt, accelerated his attack with his left hand, which effectively whipped the cheek of the less experienced challenger time and again.
Some ringsiders jokingly wondered, “Reveco might misunderstand that this is an eight-round bout.” His attack was so fast and furious that we thought he might have consumed his stamina too much in the first four rounds. But his gas tank was abundant enough, as we amazingly found as the game progressed. He finely maintained his strength until the final bell.
Kuroda, formerly Japanese light-flyweight champ who had barely kept his national belt four times (twice by a split decision, and twice more by a draw), hadn’t been so greatly expected to win this bout, but he fought by far better than our people’s expectations. He showed his best midway in round five, when he almost toppled Reveco with a well-timed left shot. It was merely a moment that Kuroda surprised the champ and the crowd, as Reveco was back in command in the remainder of the round. But all the judges tallied only this session to the game Japanese challenger.
It was in the sixth that Kuroda turned loose with busy jabs, but the tide didn’t turn even with his acceleration of attack as Reveco showed his furious retaliation with looping left hooks that often bounced the face back with good effect. You might remember Floyd Patterson’s Gazelle left hook with which he avenged his defeat by Ingemar Johansson in 1960 since Patterson was inferior to Ingo in height and physique. Reveco kept throwing similar “Gazelle punches” by jumping upward and forward to connect his roundhouse left hooks to the taller opponent. They seemed very effective.
The seventh also went to Reveco, who still concentrated on using the left hand to the stomach, the side of the belly and the face. Kuroda, whose right side of the face became swollen with his absorption of left hooks, patiently responded to the champ’s busy left-hand combos with long jabs.
Reveco, who conquered a couple of WBA championships in the 108-pound and 112-pound categories, displayed his best shot midway in round eight. It was a countering right that caught Kuroda and almost stunned him with strong impact. The game Japanese withstood Reveco’s punch despite his negative reputation on durability as he had occasionally hit the deck in his national title defenses.
It seemed interesting that only a judge gave Kuroda the ninth, another just the tenth and another only the eleventh although Reveco was a constant aggressor down the stretch. Probably it was a generous vote that appreciate Kuroda’s fighting spirit. He kept jabbing and jabbing despite his absorption of damage with Reveco’s left hand.
The last round witnessed Reveco still control the action with his still busier combinations upstairs and downstairs. He kept streaming blood from the cut he suffered in round two, but he was in complete command throughout the contest.
The winner Reveco jubilantly said, “I’m satisfied with my performance against the courageous challenger Kuroda. I may come back to Japan again.” Kuroda gloomily reflected his defeat, saying “Reveco was stronger. I admit it. I’ll come back.”
Osvaldo Rivera, the manager/promoter of Reveco, said, “I believe Reveco showed a good fight to entertain the Japanese people. We may come back to defend the belt against your challengers.”
Osvaldo, unfortunately we don’t have good flyweight boys that may be able to cope with Reveco to show a competitive fight except WBC counterpart Toshiyuki Igarashi, a tall southpaw speedster who will defend his belt against ex-WBA 105-pound ruler Akira Yaegashi here on April 8.
Argentina is geographically located at the very opposite to Japan in the south hemisphere. Looking back fistic history in the flyweight division, there was only one example that a Japanese boxer won over an Argentine boxeador with the world belt at stake. It was just seen last year when Igarashi kept his WBC throne against Nestor Narvaez, also Osvaldo Rivero’s boy. The other all were overwhelmingly won by Argentine gigantes pequenos (little giants). In this reporter’s memory the strongest was Pascual Perez, who was just 4’11” (150 cm) short but won the Olympic gold medal in London in 1948 and kept his professional world belt no less than nine times. Perez, one of the greatest in the 112-pound history, was much superior to Juan Carlos Reveco, who, however, was obviously strong enough to defeat our challenger Kuroda without doubt.
Non-stop punching Kimika Miyoshi (8-5-1, 3 KOs), 117.25, captured the OPBF female super-fly belt by eking out a split decision (77-76, 77-75 and 75-77) over defending titlist Riyo Togo (9-4-1, 8 KOs), 117.75, over eight. Togo, who made an unsuccessful shot against Janeth Perez in Mexico last year, scored with stronger shots to Miyoshi, the busier challenger, who had lost to Togo on three occasions and decked her first victory over the grudge rival.
Some 2,200 were in attendance at Todoroki Arena in Kawasaki city, well-known by many football fans. They might know it is more difficult to win in boxing than in soccer.
Promoter: Kawasaki Nitta Promotions.
WBA supervisor: Yangsup Shim (Korea).