The two men had fought last year in a Japanese title determination bout, essentially a final eliminator, and fought to a draw. Despite that draw both men were ordered to rematch for the title afater Ryuichi Funai vacated the belt and it was clear the bout meant so much to both men.
Kudaka started well, landing his straight right hand though Onaga quickly found success with his jab as the two men seemed to cancel each other othe with good boxingr.
Amazingly after 5 rounds, when the scores were announced, one judge had the bout a shut out to Onaga, though was over-ruled by the other judges who had it 48-47 and 49-47 to Kudaka. It's hard to explain how a judge had the bout a shut out after the mid way point, but the scores of all 3 judges seemed to inspire the fighters to pick up the pace, with both knowing the contest was in the balance.
With the pace picking up the two men began to trade shots more freely in round 7, with a headbutt in the second half of the fight leaving Onaga cut around the left eye. The cut could have began the downfall of Onaga but it didn't and he had a realy strong finish to the fight. It was however too little too late for the 37 year old, who would lose the decision with scores of 97-94, 97-94 and 95-95, resulting in a majority decision for Kudaka.
With the win Kudaka claims his first major title and he looked incredibly glad to have scored such a significant victory. Sadly for Onaga it's hard to see where he goes from here, and retirement might well be looming for him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)