The contest saw unbeaten champion Shuichiro Yoshino (7-0, 5) [吉野修一郎] make his first defense, as he faced off with mandatory challenger Masaki Saito (14-13-6, 5) [斉藤正樹]. On paper the bout was a mismatch, though as a first defense it was na interesting bout on paper, especially given that Saito hadn't been stopped in over a decade and had been very competitive with decent fighters, like Daisuke Sakamoto, Tsuyoshi Tojo, Dai Iwai, Yuichiro Kasuya and Masashi Noguchi.
Although Saito had the edge in experience, and began the bout looking confident, it wasn't long until the talented Yoshino had had settled, and dropped Saito with a hard right hand. To his credit Saito got to his feet, but was never really able to get himself back into the fight, with Yoshino applying pressure and attacking the challenger. With Saito on the ropes, taking shots, the referee finally stepped in, saving the challenger after just 156 seconds.
After the bout Yoshino revealed he was wanting to fight for either the WBO Asia Pacific or OPBF title, which Saito looked broken and he really didn't look like a man who had much left to offer the boxing world. At the age of 32 he can bounce back and continue to fight, but it's unclear whether he'll be wanting to or not.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)