By Joe Koizumi
Southpaw speedster Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10 KOs), 121.5, impressively captured the WBA super-bantam belt as he finely floored defending champ Retsuri Lee (AKA Ryol-Li Lee; 17-2-1, 8 KOs), 121.5, on three occasions, though hitting the deck himself once, and pounded out a unanimous decision (118-109 twice and 115-111) over twelve hard-fought give-and-take rounds on Monday in Tokyo, Japan.
It was really an extravaganza as they swapped solid shots toe-to-toe all the way. Shimoda, formerly OPBF and national champ, looked much faster than the taller counterpunching champ, taking the initiative from the outset. The third session witnessed Shimoda drop the champ with a beautiful southpaw left but Lee deck him back with a well-timed right in the closing seconds of the round. Shimoda had the champ on the deck in the fifth and eighth to confirm his triumph. Shimoda has thus become the third current world champ out of Teiken Gym, along with WBC 122-pound champ Toshiaki Nishioka and WBC 130-pound ruler Takahiro Aoh. (More to come)