Last October we saw Japan's Kai Chiba (7-1, 6) [千葉開] put in a career best performance to score a 5th round TKO win over Ryo Matsubara [松原陵]. It was an eye catching performance from Chiba who had real momentum heading into 2018. Sadly though that momentum came crashing to a halt earlier today as he was upset by Filipino puncher Brian Lobetania (13-4-3, 11) in what was a thrilling 4 round shoot out.
The fight started well for Chiba, who seemed to hurt Lobetania at the end of the round. The Japanese local looked the naturally better fighter, the smoother operator and the man who knew his way around the ring whilst the visitor looked like a raw slugger looking to land a bomb. The skills of Chiba again seemed to dominate in round 2, as he began to time Lobetania's wild and unconventional right hand to land counter uppercutts and it seemed only a matter of time before Lobetania would see his chin crack.
The skills of Chiba the key early in round 3, with Chiba landing a number of eye catching body shots, picking his place and landing clean and powerful blows. Towards the end of the round however the bout seemed to suddenly change, with Lobetania landing a solid right hand that hurt Chiba then another that left him wobbling around and struggling to stay on his feet. The one saving grace for Chiba was that the round was about over and the bell came before Lobetania could finish him off. It was however only a temporary respite for Chiba.
At the start of round 4 Chiba had clearly not recovered fully and Lobetania went for him straight away, dropping him within seconds. Chiba rose to his feet, but was staggering around as the referee stepped in and waved off the contest.
The win for Lobetania is second straight win since a TKO loss of his own to Jon Jon Estrada, and despite going 4-3 in his last 7 he has proven he's a real danger man at this level. For Chiba the bout will serve as a clear wake up call to concentrate more on defense. For much of the fight he was in charge, but it only took 2 right hands at the end of round 3 to begin his problems, and he never managed to recover from them.
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