Earlier today in Osaka fight fans had the chance to see the much touted Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義] take on his stiffest test test to date, as he battled 19 year old Kota Fujimoto (7-2-1, 2). The bout looked like a really interesting one on paper, matching the 2014 Super Flywieght Rookie of the year with the 2016 runner up.
Hashizume looked great in the opening round, using a very sharp southpaw jab to establish range. Fujimoto looked to counter the jab, but struggled in the opening round and failed to really connect with anything of note until the final seconds of round 3, landing a right hand that dropped Hashizume on to the seat of his pants. Hashizume didn't look hurt when he got to his feet, but the single shot essentially undid all of his good work from the first two rounds.
Although Hashizume wasn't hurt from the knockdown it did have the effect of boosting Fujimoto's confidence, and he began to press the action from round 4. The pressure and aggression of which forced Hashizume to hold his feet, and we got a full on war, with the two men really loading up up close, and neither really using their feet.
The back and forth had the fans excited and saw the judges struggling to split the two men, eventually scoring the bout a majority draw, with cards of 77-77, 76-76, and 77-75 to Fujimoto.
The bout was the first real test Hashizume has had since winning the Rookie of the Year title. Since winning the crown he has been horribly matched against Thai novices, going 7-0 (6) and this bout should be a wake up call to him and his team, he needs to be fighting more significant tests before the bad habits cost him. He was lucky today to avoid the loss. For Fujimoto however the bout was a great result, despite the fact he may have felt he deserved the win, he showed he can hang with a fighter like Hashizume and will almost certainly be able to go further as he matures.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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