Earlier today Japanese fans had a Welterweight thriller as heavy handed champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] retained his title, securing his first defense, and gained revenge for a 2013 loss as he stopped Yasuhiro Okawa (14-13-3, 5) [大川泰弘] in a thrilling, bloody and heavy handed bout.
The bout had high expectations going in, with both fighters believing they would come out on top. That belief showed from the off with both men setting off at a great pace and letting their hands go with abandon.
Okawa, although not a puncher, struck first blood dropping Arikawa in round 2 with a brilliant right hook. The champion looked most surprised and embarrassed about being dropped than actually being hurt, but Okawa certainly seemed to feel confident from his moment of success and looked further build on his success, letting his hands go. The move was an understandable one, but a reckless one with Arikawa seeing out the storm and using his own heavy hands to try and fight Okawa off, with the power difference between the two men being hugely noticeable, and those shots were taking their toll on Okawa's face.
Okawa's face was show showing clear visible damage in round 3, with nasty cuts forming around both eyes, bruising around the eyes and notably swelling around his face.
As the bout continued the damage worsened and Okawa's resistance was beginning to face, with Arikawa's power not just chipping away at Okawa but pretty much bulldozing him, with every shot hurting the challenger.
At the start of round 4 Arikawa jumped on Okawa and he clearly hurt his man, forcing the referee to save the challenger who was looking spent and beaten.
The bout was a real slugfest and the fans in the Korakuen Hall were certainly given a great contest, sadly though it's likely to be the end for Okawa who took a real beating in the end.
Next for Arikawa will be a mandatory title defense in 2017 against Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8), who holds an opening round win over Arikawa from 2014. It's likely that the winner of that will be a possible target for Yuki Beppu (14-0, 14) later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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