By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Sumio Yamada
Fast-moving and quick-punching Japanese, Katsunari Takayama (26-6-1, 10 KOs), 105, kept his IBF mini-flyweight (105-pound) belt as he kept circling all night to frustrate a Filipino southpaw Vergilio Silvano (17-3-1, 10 KOs), 102.5, whipped him from all angles and pounded out a very unanimous decision over twelve lopsided rounds on Tuesday in Osaka, Japan.
The official tallies were as follows: Valerie Dorsett and Joseph Pasquale both 118-110, Joe Garcia 120-108, all from the US in favor of the defending titlist. The referee was Sparkle Lee, also from the US.
Takayama, who had previously held the WBC and WBA belts, gained the IBF throne by defeating Mario Rodriguez on points in Mexico last March, and it was his initial defense before his local adherents in his native Osaka city. Having been fighting abroad, it was Takayama’s first appearance here in Japan after four years and five months. The 5’2” champ loudly and jubilantly said after his triumph, “I’ve returned to Osaka. I’m very happy to show my performance here after a long time.”
It was a one-sided affair as Takayama, seven years his senior at 30, controlled the contest nearly at his will, moving to-and-fro to confuse the less experienced challenger. The first session saw the champ land a roundhouse right hook to the face of Silvano, who almost lost his equilibrium. The Japanese footworker outsped and outlegged the flat-footed Filipino, connecting with fast combinations upstairs and downstairs to constantly pile up points almost in every round.
The fleet-footed Japanese sustained a cut over the right eyebrow midway in round eight, and Silvano was in command with sharp combinations in the next session. But it was his last round that the challenger dominated, and the busy-punching champ swept the last three rounds with great ease. Takayama displayed an Ali shuffle to prove his vaunted footwork still active in the eleventh session.
The winner said, “I’m looking forward to acquiring my fourth WBO belt in the near future.” Takayama isn’t a hard-puncher, but he is fast and durable enough to realize his dream. The crestfallen loser gloomily said, “Takayama was too fast to catch and more experienced than me. It’s my mistake to have reduced my weight too much under the limit.”
It is said that Takayama may square off against WBC 105-pound ruler Xiong Zhao Zhong in his next contest either in China or Las Vegas early next year. The globe-trotter Takayama who has fought in South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, etc. may go and fight anywhere in the world.
IBF supervisor: Lindsey Tucker from the US.
Promoter: Kameda Promotions.