By Joe Koizumi
Ex-OPBF champ Akio Shibata (18-7-1, 8 KOs), 153.75, captured the Japanese super-welter belt from defending titlist Daisuke Nakagawa (19-3-2, 15 KOs), 153.5, as he made best use of his swift footwork based on his experience as a basketball player, smartly countered the game but slower champ and withstood his retaliation down the stretch, winning a unanimous verdict (96-95, 96-94 and 98-93) over ten sizzling rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. It’s an interesting affair of a slow starter and an early starter, both six-footers, as Shibata, a quick speedster, piled up good points in the first six rounds, while Nakagawa, two-time champ in the 147 and 154-pound categories, showed his last surge to overcome his early deficits on points from the seventh round onward. Shibata had yielded his OPBF throne to Charlie Ota Bellamy, an American hard-puncher living here, in 2010 and failed to win it back from him last year—both via a KO route. Some people then castigated his defeats caused by his lack of heart and stamina, but Shibata tonight displayed his determination to wrest the belt again, fighting with his top speed from the outset. Their difference on precision accounted for his re-coronation regardless of the margins on the tallies. The crestfallen ex-champ, four years his senior at 34, said he would hang up gloves for good for the sake of his family.
WBA#8 lightweight and ex-world challenger Takashi Miura (23-2-2, 17 KOs), 135, dropped Filipino Dison Cag-Ong (11-7, 6 KOs), 132.75, with a southpaw left and halted him with his furious follow-up attack at 2:35 of the second session in a scheduled eight. Miura had an unsuccessful shot at the WBA 130-pound belt against Takashi Uchiyama, quitting with a deteriorated vision after the eighth—though once flooring the champ with his devastating left—in January of the previous year. He demonstrated his lethal weapon against the Filipino youngster.
Former OPBF ruler Motoki Sasaki (38-9-1, 23 KOs), 136.25, won a unanimous decision (79-74, 80-73 and 80-72) over game and gallant Filipino Amor Tino (14-11-2, 4 KOs), over eight.
Promoter: Teiken Promotions.