Last November Hanai suffered a stoppage loss to Tatsuya Fukuhara. At the time that was a disappointing setback, but not something that spelled the end for the hopeful. Today however something else, as he suffered a split decision loss to Matsui.
From the opening moments it was clear that Matsui hasn't come to make up the numbers, and instead came to fight. That aggression put Hanai under pressure dropped the touted man in round 3, with the bell saving him. In the rounds that followed Hanai always did enough to be competitive but never managed to really force his will on the hungry Matsui, who made it clear that he wanted to score a career best win.
In the end the judges were split, but with score cards of of 77-74 in his favour, twice, Matsui managed to do enough to earn a split decision, with the one judge favouring Hanai 77-75.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)