By Joe Koizumi
Photo by Boxing Beat
Do you know our immortal fistic hero named Tsuneo “Piston” Horiguchi? He was active between 1933 and 1950, having gained the Japanese feather thru middle belts to compile a great mark of 142-26-15, 87 KOs. He fought abroad in Hawaii in only five bouts (unbeaten) in 1936, and his real power at the prime wasn’t tested at that time. The uncrowned champ registered 49 consecutive victories, which is still the unbeatable record here in Japan. Horiguchi was called “Piston” due to his perpetual motion like Henry Armstrong.
Like Piston, an elongated southpaw Tadashi Yuba will be immortally remembered as a sort of local hero since he scored an unparalleled record of having acquired Japanese national belts in five divisions from the lightweight category up. The six-footer Yuba (45-8-2, 32 KOs), 153.5, barely retained his Japanese super-welter belt as he struggled to eke out a hairline split verdict (96-95, 97-95, and 95-96) over perennial contender Yoshihisa Tonimura (16-9-4, 4 KOs), 154, over ten furious rounds on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
Having earned a split nod over Tonimura last February, Yuba, a 36-year-old veteran, faced his rival again with his newly gained belt at stake, but it again became a close and tough battle for Yuba. Tonimura, 30, was an aggressor all the way, while Yuba, moving to-and-fro, kept countering him with a less volume of punches. It was such a close affair as either could have been the victor, but Yuba’s precision in swapping punches looked a bit better than the energetic but less skillful banger.