The 2018 Super Bantamweight Rookie of the Year was one of the most anticipated match ups at today's Korakuen Hall show, as it pitted Koki Mioya (5-1-2) [三尾谷昂希] against Hiroki Hanabusa (5-0-2, 2) [英洸貴] in a bout that looked very hard to call. The bout lived up to some of those expectations, with both men having their moments in a competitive and compelling bout, though one that didn't seem to quite catch fire as we had hoped.
The fight regularly saw southpaw Mioya using smart footwork to fight on the outside, moving around Hanabusa and using his southpaw jab to try and control the distance. Hanabusa on the other hand looked to bring the pressure and force a fight. Early on Mioya was happy to have a fight with Hanabusa, esp towards the end of round 1, but as the fight went on Mioya became more reluctant to stand his ground.
Although Mioya didn't want to stand and trade he was having real success on the outside and managed to tie up, regularly, when Hanabusa got too close. It wasn't pretty, but it worked to shut down the offense of Hanabusa who continued to be the one pressing the fight to the final bell. By the however the bout had become a frustrating affair with Mioya's holding causing regular breaks in action.
Given the highly competitive nature it was a hard bout to call as we went to the final bell, and in the end we went to the judges, who struggled to split the fighters with two scorecards of 48-48. The third card however favoured Hanabusa, 48-47, giving him the Rookie of the Year crown on the dominant point rule.
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