Just moments ago in Kyiv, Ukraine, fight fans saw unbeaten Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk (11-0, 7) claim the WBO International Lightweight title, defeating Japanese warrior Nihito Arakawa (32-7-2, 18) [荒川仁人] over 12 round rounds.
The bout started pretty evenly, with neither landing much in the opening round. From then on Berinchyk went through the gears, finding a home for every shot in his arsenal, and picking up his intensity with them round by round. It wasn't just the variety of Berinchyk's work that was impressive but his accuracy, speed and movement. Whilst Arakawa has never been the quickest he was rarely even in range to get his shots off whilst Berinchyk would tag him with a combination and then get out of range.
By round 7 Berinchyk did seem to slow down a touch, and the action began to get messy. A lot of that was due to Arakawa trying to get up close and round up Berinchyk, using his head at times on the inside. It never seemed malicious but more clumsy from the Japanese fighter who was moderately competitive in round 8 as a result of Berinchyk losing some of his intensity.
Arakawa's clumsiness had began to frustrate Berinchyk as we entered round 9 and the referee was also getting fed up of it, giving him a very clear verbal warning. That warning didn't stop Arakawa who was deducted a point later in the round for a clash of heads, which actually left him cut around the left eye.
Despite the deduction it was already clear that Arakawa needed a KO, but he was always struggling to even land against the quicker, sharper, Ukrainian who seemed to move a lot in rounds 10 and 11. It was a little bit negative at times from Berinchyk, but it hardly mattered as he was so easily out landing Arikawa, who struggled to get close and struggled even more to get off any sort of clean shots.
With Berinchyk clearly cruising to the line he could have taken round 12 off, but instead he decided to put on a show and the final 3 minutes were wonderfully action packed with both landing shots through a wild final round. At no point however did either man look hurt, despite shots flying in both directions. It was finally a round that represented the fight we expected, but it was just glimpse of what we could, potentially, have had.
After 12 rounds there was no questioning the decision, with the Berinchyk clearly taking the win, the WBO International title, and a huge step towards a potential world title fight. For Arakawa there has to be question marks over his future, especially given the fact he's now 37.
Tomorrow we'll see Japanese warrior Nihito Arakawa (32-6-2, 18) [荒川仁人] battle against heavy handed Ukrainian Denys Berinchyk (10-0, 7) at the Kyiv Palace of Sport.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both were well under the 135lb limit.
On the scales the Japanese fighter was 134.5lbs, a full 1/2lb under the limit for the WBO International Lightweight title fight. Berinchyk was even lighter, coming in at 134lbs for the bout, a full 1lb under the limit.
Related - Arakawa and Berinchyk seek major win in Kyiv!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Alex Krassyuk revealed that on April 20th Japanese tough guy Nihito Arakawa (32-6-2, 18) [荒川仁人] would be facing off with Ukrainian puncher Denys Berinchyk (10-0, 7) at the Kyiv Palace of Sport.
For Arakawa the bout will be his second of the year, following a stay busy bout with Thoedsak Sinam, but only his third since the start of 2018. It's fair to say that 2018 was a wasted year for him, with only bout which was a disappointing draw against Rimar Metuda.
As for Berinchyk, who was once touted as a future world champion but is now 30 and looking some way from getting a shot at a world title, this will be his first bout of the year. He fought twice last year, and although he had a better year than Arakawa with stoppage wins over Jose Luis Prieto and Rosekie Cristobal, it was hardly a stand out year for the Ukrainian.
The bout will see the two men looking to move towards a WBO world title fight, and the winner will walk away with the WBO International Lightweight title.
Despite losing it's worth noting that Thoedsak's only other loss was a clear one to teenage prodigy Phoobadin Yoohanngoh, who won a 6 round bout over Theodsak last August.
Another Japanese fighter picking up a win on this card was Arakawa's Watanabe gym stablemate Daichi Matsuura (6-3-2, 2) [松浦大地], who stopped Nikhom Hongthong (3-6-1, 2) in the 4th round.
All the others bouts were all Filipino contests, apart from a Heavyweight bout that saw Indian debutant Vikas Malik (1-0, 1) pick up a 2nd round TKO win over Arnon Junkot (0-1).
Earlier today Japanese fight fans saw two world title fights and a WBO Asia Pacific title fight. That regional title bout saw WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (31-6-2, 18) [荒川 仁人] battle with 24 year old Filipino challenger Rimar Metuda (12-3-1, 7) and although Arakawa managed to retain his title, he may have scuppered his chances of getting a WBO world title title fight after only managing a draw with the tough Filipino.
Arakawa started the bout well but Metuda used a tight guard and managed to see off much of Arakawa's early attack, before leaving the Japanese fighter with a nasty swelling around his right eye. That swelling would continue to bother Arakawa through out the bout, Arakawa started the bout well but Metuda used a tight guard and managed to see off much of Arakawa's early attack, before leaving the Japanese fighter with a nasty swelling around his right eye.
The champion would end up cut as well as swollen as Metuda's power took it's toll the Japanese fighter's face. That gave him real problems in the final few rounds but he dug in and managed to retain his title with scores of 116-112, and 114-114 twice.
For the Arakawa this draw ends a 6 fight winning streak whilst Metuda ends a 0-2 run on the road.
Given the facial damage Arakawa could be out of the ring for some time, and he probably won't be ably to make the most of his WBO #2 rankings any time soon, if at all. Given he's already in his mid 30's he's unlikely to have many more bouts left and a potential showdown with Raymundo Beltran now looks very unlikely. As for Metuda, who really struggled on the scales, this was the sort of performance he would have wanted, even if he failed to pick up the win.
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