The fight started at a great pace and it was clear that Takenaka wasn't there to just be the other guy. He was there to win a title.
From the opening bell the two exchanged shots, with Takenaka showing no fear of his world ranked foe. The trading left Takenaka cut early on but shrugged it off as if it was expected and continued to take the fight to the champion.
After 4 rounds the judges to split them with the open scoring reading 38-38, 38-38 and 39-38 for Takenaka. It was clear from this point on wards that the challenger was growing in confidence. He was no longer a determined challenger but a man with the belief that this was his opportunity and through the middle rounds the challenger took a clear lead to move 77-75 up by the end of round 8.
Going into the final rounds it seemed that all the challenger had to do to win was stay up right and continue what he had been doing so well, taking the fight to Amagasa and winning the exchanges. Unfortunately however for challenger he gave Amagasa a chance in the 12 round and it was a chance that Amagasa took as he dropped the challenger. From then on it was a race against time as Amagasa went for the kill and Takenaka did all he could to survive. Unfortunately for Takenaka he was unable to hold out and was stopped with less than 2 minutes of the bout left.
For Amagasa this was a serious struggle whilst for Takenaka it was a set back but a fight that proved he's a title level fighter. We would not be shocked, at all, if Takenaka goes on to claim a belt in the next 12-18 months.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)