By Joe Koizumi
Unbeaten Japanese lefty Etsuko Tada (6-0, 2 KOs), 104, successfully kept her WBA female minimumweight belt as she connected with more effective southpaw lefts and right hooks to score a close but well-received unanimous decision (97-93 and 96-94 twice) over previously unbeaten Thai challenger Yani Kokietgym (6-1, no KO), 103, ten hard-fought two-minute rounds on Sunday afternoon in Osaka, Japan. It was a tougher defense for Tada than people had expected, as Yani kept throwing more but less effective combination’s from the outset. Tada, a little too eager to score a KO win, looked tense and stiff at first, trying to land big shots in earlier rounds. But the much taller champ regained her usual rhythm from the third on, and effectively worked the body with solid left uppercuts. Yani, eight years her junior at 20, showed her resilience and roughness in responding to the champ’s good combos to win the fifth. Tada, however, displayed sharp left-right shots to the onrushing challenger and had the Thailander staggering in the sixth. Tada was in command in the eighth and ninth, though the tenth and final session was close enough to be given to either. The referee was Ferdinand Estrella (Philippines). Promoter: Futur Promotions.