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Tenkai, Yoshikawa, Hanagata win OPBF belts

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat

Ex-WBA female super-fly champ Tsunami Tenkai (20-9, 9 KOs), 118, seized the vacant OPBF bantamweight belt as she battered Japan-based Filipino girl Honey Katsumata (AKA Honey Mae Bermoy) (6-3, 6 KOs), 117.75, from all angles at will and prompted the referee’s intervention at 1:41 of the seventh round on Friday (March 7) in Tokyo, Japan. Tenkai, formerly a football player, utilized her footwork and body movement to nullify almost all punches Honey desperately threw, and outjabbed and outpunched the hard-punching opponent. Accelerating her attack in the fatal seventh, Tenkai had the ref Yoshida wisely halt the lopsided affair to save the loser from further punishment. Tenkai previously exchanged gloves with such outstanding Mexican girls as Mariana Juarez, Janeth Perez, Zulina Munoz, Jessica Chavez and Arely Mucino, and lost all on points in Mexico. But some were very controversial decision losses, through which Tenkai became more experienced and more tactical than when she, in 2012, forfeited her WBA 115-pound belt to compatriot Naoko Yamaguchi (who recently lost hers to Naoko Fujioka). The 5’3″ Tenkai, who can fight at three weights from 112 to 118, will return to Mexico where she is tremendously popular with her frequent appearances and good performances.

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Unbeaten Nana Yoshikawa (3-0, 1 KO), 107, very impressively acquired the vacant OPBF light-fly belt when she swarmed over more experienced Thailander Krikanok Islandmuethai (9-4-2, 4 KOs), 107, polishing her off at 1:14 of the opening session on Sunday (March 9) in Osaka, Japan. Yoshikawa, a pretty girl who had campaigned as an amateur for thirteen years, had a mark of 55-22, 25 stoppages prior to her entry into the paid ranks. Yoshikawa won many amateur medals and national championships, and also boxed Melissa Roberts and Lisa Jane Whiteside in amateur tournaments in the US. Despite her acquisition of the OPBF belt Yoshikawa is willing to relinquish it and have a world title shot in her fourth pro bout. Good luck.

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Busy-punching Saemi Hanagata (9-4-2, 4 KOs), 104.75, won the vacant OPBF female minimumweight belt by chalking up a TKO win over Satomi Nishimura (6-1, 1 KO), 104.5, at 1:15 of the fifth session on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Hanagata maintained the pressure from the outset and pummeled her into submission with the third man’s halt.

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In a week the vacancies of the OPBF female championships were filled with the Japanese girls’ coronations.




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