By Joe Koizumi
A couple of OPBF (Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation) champs kept their belts on Sunday.
In Kanazawa, WBC#7 OPBF bantam titlist Rolly Matsushita (AKA Rolly Lunas), 117.5, a Japan-based Filipino hard-puncher, successfully retained his regional throne as he lopsidedly battered game but limited Japanese Ryuichi Funai (17-6, 11 KOs), 117.75, and finally halted him at 0:36 of the ninth round. Rolly (33-8-1, 20 KOs) had Funai on the verge of a first round demolition when he had the nervous challenger staggering from pillar to post. Whipping him from all angles, Rolly hurt him so badly as the judges one-sidedly tallied after the eighth: 80-72 and 79-72 twice for him. Referee Fukuchi called a well-timed halt as the champ swarmed over the bloodied victim in the fatal session. Rolly, who once failed to win the WBA belt from Ansermo Moreno in Panama in 2008, finely registered his third defense since recapturing the regional belt.
In Osaka, OPBF feather ruler Hiroshige Osawa (22-3-4, 11 KOs), 126, barely kept his title again as he was held to a split draw (116-114 for him, 114-115 against him and 115-115) by Noriyuki Ueno (14-11-5, 5 KOs), 126, an unheralded challenger, over twelve close rounds. The game challenger Ueno mixed it up, stalking the faster champ with a solid shot at a time. Osawa, making his third defense, was behind on points after the eighth due to the open scoring system. The champ was all out to overcome his deficits by desperately showing his last surge in the final four sessions. He experienced a very tough defense again.
Undercard in Kanazawa:
OPBF#14 super-bantam, fast-punching Filipino Mark John Yap (18-8, 10 KOs), 121.5, kept throwing whiplash jabs and left-right combinations in earning a unanimous nod (78-75, 78-74, 79-74) over local prospect Akihiro Matsumoto (10-4-1, 5 KOs), 121.5, over eight. Jonathan Baat (21-4-3, 10 KOs), 121.5, a southpaw Filipino residing in Kanazawa, defeated Chinese Qiu Xiang Jun (4-1, 1 KO), 122, by a unanimous nod over eight. Filipino female southpaw Jesebelle Pagaduan (2-0, 2 KOs), 106, scored a fine TKO win over Chinese Li Yun Ting (0-3) in the fourth and final round. Six Chinese boxers, handled by ex-Olympian and currently promoter Liu Gang, all fought well though none of them scored a victory. They need more experience and exposure, and will grow up to become mature professionals in years.