The bout lived up to the expectations of being something special as the two went to war part way through the opening round. The power edge of Kurihara showed as he dropped Tanaka in the opening round and left the former amateur star fully aware of the danger Kurihara brought to the ring.
Tanaka, to his credit, recovered well from the knockdown and rebuilt in round 2 behind his jab. The jab was a key for Tanaka to avoid the power of Kurihara, though his inability to keep Kurihara at range proved to be a problem again in round 3 when the hard hitter cut the distance and and dropped him again. Tanaka again recovered to his feet but a follow up attack forced the referee to save Tanaka, who has now been stopped twice.
Whilst this is a massive set back for Tanaka, who had been touted for huge things, the win continues a fantastic run for Kurihara, who has now stopped 3 foes in a row since his 2017 loss to Hiroaki Teshigawara.
After the fight the two fighters were photographed together and Kurihara showed his respect on social media stated that the bout was his most enjoyable.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)