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Shindo dethrones Szebeledi

Report by Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat

Japanese girl Go Shindo (12-2, 8 KOs), 112, became the first boxer that seized a world championship out of Wakayama Prefecture as she impressively captured the WBC female flyweight belt by a shutout decision (all 100-90) over defending titlist Renata Szebeledi (16-10, 10 KOs), 110.75, from Hungary, over ten hard-fought rounds on Sunday in Wakayama, Japan.

Shindo, OPBF 112-pound ruler, took the initiative all the way despite the 19-year-old champ Szebeledi’s occasional retaliations.

All the cards were identical: Hubert Minn (US), Dong-Ahn Park (Korea) and Masahiro Noda (Japan) 100-90, all in favor of the Japanese challenger. The female referee was Kyoung-Ha Shin (Korea), a university professor.

Do you remember a skinny heroine Olive Oil in the comic strip of Popeye? Go Shindo was as skinny as Olive Oil when she started her boxing career in 2008. She used to be a basketball player, and has become a Popeye-punching Olive Oil in boxing.

Shindo, standing 5’6” (tall as a female flyweight boxer), had an ambitious crack at the WBC 112-pound belt against Mexican queen Mariana Juarez, losing a debatable split decision (97-93 for Shindo; 94-96, 95-96 both for Juarez) in Los Angeles last July. Prior to this hairline setback Shindo had a fine mark of 10-1, 8 KOs by displaying her power and roughness in overwhelming her opponents.

As Juarez renounced her belt to move up to the super-fly category, the vacant WBC throne was acquired by Hungarian southpaw Renata Szebeledi who defeated Simona Galassi in an elimination bout in Italy last October. Now Szebeledi became Shindo’s target.

Her manager/trainer Tibor Feja said, “Renata at first was a kick-boxer, and remained almost unbeaten in forty-seven games, winning a couple of world belts by utilizing strong hands and legs. Renata, in the international style boxing, lost her first five contests from 2008, since she then fought heavier opponents.” Reviewing her record, Renata exchanged punches with bantam, super-bantam and feather rivals to taste some defeats. But the Hungarian southpaw girl began to shine as she kept fighting exclusively in the 112-pound division.

The first round witnessed Szebeledi quickly start fireworks and connect with solid southpaw lefts to the face of the taller challenger, who responded to the champ’s opening attack and fought back with solid punches toe-to-toe in the center of the ring.

The Hungarian champ was a game puncher and an upright stylist whose weapon was a solid southpaw left. Shindo, from the second round on, kept aiming at the breadbasket as Szebeledi came forward straight with her high guard. The Japanese ex-basketball player fully utilized her shifty footwork and connected with good body shots followed by solid combinations to the face, piling up points.

Renata looked tough and durable, occasionally catching the game challenger with southpaw lefts, but Shindo had an upper hand with a higher volume of punches to the belly and the face. After the fourth, the open scoring system indicated: all 40-36 in Shindo’s favor.

Renata kept going forward with southpaw lefts, but Shindo retaliated with more powerful punches and quickly moved away to avert the champ’s retaliation. Shindo seemed to win the fifth through seventh rounds more clearly than in the first four. The WBC scores were announced after the seventh as all 70-63 for the Japanese Olive Oil.

How will you react should you be aware of interim tallies of all 70-63? You, if behind on points, will have to be aggressive to turn the tide. Problem is a strategy of one leading on points. To run or to attack, that’s a question. From the eighth on, Renata turned very aggressive, while Shindo, with a seven-point advantage, also accelerated her attack. It became a war. It became much harder than ordinary female fights. Shindo showed her superior power to sweep the last three sessions, but the Hungarian champ also showed her heart and resilience to refuse to go down—down the stretch.

Tetsuya Harada, Shindo’s promoter/manager, jubilantly said, “We are from a small local gym in Wakayama, but we could win the world belt with local people’ warm supports. This victory has proved that even we, humble and hard-working local boxing people, can open the door to produce a world champion.” He succeeded his Kuratoki Gym thirty years ago and kept cultivating youngsters since. His long efforts paid off.

Shindo also happily said, “For me, it’s a very good lesson that I could fight Mariana Juarez in Los Angeles last year. Though I lost a close decision, that experience helped me win the belt this time. It obviously made me stronger. I really appreciate warm encouragements of my manager, trainer, supporters and local people in Wakayama.”

Tibor Feja, the dethroned champ’s manager, simply said, “It’s Shindo’s night, not Renta’s. But Renata showed a good performance.” We really agree with his opinion.

This reporter failed to ask the Japanese Olive Oil whether she ate spinach before the fight, but it’s true she looked like a female Popeye this night.

Promoter: Kuratoki Promotions.




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