By Joe Koizumi
On the night of a Japanese middleweight title bout taking place in Osaka, WBO #3 super-bantam Kenichi Yamaguchi (16-1-2, 4 KOs) engaged in a ten-round exhibition unauthorized by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and scored a KO win over an uncertified Thailander at 2:27 of the fifth round on Sunday in the same Osaka, Japan. It was a very problematic incident as the JBC didn’t delegate any licensed officials and it was officiated by unlicensed amateurs. Furthermore, any ringside physician wasn’t confirmed therein, so should any ring accident have happened, it might have caused a serious damage to the sport of boxing.
Yamaguchi, 30, renounced his license to the JBC to become free to fight abroad beyond the JBC’s regulations in the previous year. He then moved to Australia and battled to a highly disputed “no contest” with Billy Dib, who knocked him out while he was on the deck in the first round in Sydney last July. Yamaguchi, a busy puncher, acquired the WBO Asia Pacific 122-pound belt by a unanimous verdict over Filipino Roberto Lerio in Perth, Australia, in December.
Now ranked third by the WBO, Yamaguchi is planned to face the newly crowned Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in a quest for the WBO belt in Puerto Rico this August. The enfant terrible may produce a serious problem among the boxing fraternity here in Japan, where the JBC hasn’t affiliated with the IBF and the WBO, authorizing only the WBC and the WBA.