By Joe Koizumi
Unbeaten world champs collide tomorrow (Sunday) in Osaka, Japan. WBA female minimum champ Etsuko Tada (6-0, 2 KOs), 103.75, Japan, will face WBC light-flyweight titlist Naomi Togashi (6-0, 4 KOs), 104.75, a hard-punching compatriot, with both belts on the line over ten two-minute rounds. It was just in 2007 that Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) recognized the female boxing. Since then, women boxers who had previously fought under private organizations and such amateur girls as Tada and Togashi began to fight publicly under the JBC. Sad enough, the female boxing is struggling to survive here since people haven’t paid much attention to girls swapping punches. We have seen miserable ticket-selling, least crowd and cold ignorance by our TV companies on the female boxing.
This showdown was initiated to draw more interests of the general public into the female boxing itself, which will be proven successful or not tomorrow.
Tada, 28, whose amateur mark was 47-3, acquired the WBA 105-pound belt by lopsidedly defeating defending champ Cho-Ron Son, Korea, on points here last April. The southpaw sharpshooter kept her belt by winning a unanimous decision over Yani Kokietgym this August. Tada is one of the most skillful women boxers here, if not a hard-hitter, and had once defeated Togashi when they were amateur three years ago.
Togashi, six years her senior at 34, is a fighting maternity nurse, who became a little sensational upon acquiring the WBC interim 108-pound belt by Jin Kim via unanimous nod in Korea in July of the previous year. She improved her power punching and impressively kept her diadem when stopping highly regarded and more experienced compatriot Nanako Kikuchi in the tenth and final session a year ago. Togashi, extremely occupied in serving as midwife, defended her WBC throne just once this year, eking out a unanimous but less impressive decision over Thailander OA Kokietgym this May.
Togashi, whose best weapon is a left hook to the side of the belly, said, “I wish to avenge my previous loss to Tada, who is a smart and swift boxer. I’m confident to win this time.” Tada, a funny and always-joking girl, said, “Togashi is a tough and strong boxer, but I hope to show my speed and skills to win again.” Tada seems very unique as she may think it is her duty to make press people laugh at her comical comments. Tada may appear in “I Love Lucy” rather than “Million Dollar Baby.”
This encounter may be a camphor injection to save the fatally sick female boxing in Japan, hopefully, and it will direct people’s eyes toward the anticipated collision of the champions.
It may sound strange that the 105-pound champ and the 108-pound ruler fight for the two belts, but both of them scaled in under the 105-pound limit—Tada 103.75 and Togashi 104.75—to have both at stake. It followed a previous example of Sugar Ray Leonard having acquired the WBC 168-pound and 175-pound belts by turning the tables on Don Lalonde (who made the weight under the super-middle limit) to stop him in nine see-saw rounds in Las Vegas in 1988. We hope the Tada-Togashi encounter will be such a good fight to be remembered as the first female unification bout here.
The officials are as follows: referee Yuji Fukuchi (Japan); judges Silvestre Abainza, Rey Danseco (both Philippines) and Takeo Harada (Japan); WBC/WBA supervisor Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (Japan).
This show is presented by Futur Promotions (handling Tada) in association with Watanabe Promotions (piloting Togashi).