Earlier today Japanese hopeful Koki Koshikawa (8-1, 5) [越川孝紀] took a big step up in class, as he took on former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (8-8, 6), aka Niwat Kongkan.
The bout turned out to be a tough one for Koshikawa, who started well but tired as the bout went on, and was caught by a number of counter shots from the Thai. The Thai didn't exactly fight clean either, being deducted a point for a rabbit punch.
The counters of Ratchasi proved to be be effective, but not regular enough for him to really push Koshikawa, who suffered a nose bleed but nothing too serious.
At the end of the bout the judges had the bout scored 79-73, 77-73 and 76-75 all in favour of Koshikawa. Despite the win Koshikawa admitted that he wasn't happy with his performance, and will look to fight for titles next year. Given this performance he has a long way to go before fighting at title level, but he is talented and this wasn't a great showing of what he can do. Sadly for the Thai this is now a 4th straight loss, and 5th loss in 6 bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
In April 2017 we saw Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤 幸伸丸] come up short in a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout against the touted Takeshi Inoue [井上 岳志], in bout for the then vacant title. The veteran then took more than a year away from the ring before returning today and scored his first win in almost 2 years as he out pointed former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (10-6, 7).
The Thai, who last fought just a few weeks ago when he lost to Akinori Watanabe, looked dangerous through out the bout but struggled to connect against the Japanese fighter. Saito, to his credit, fought smartly to begin with before gradually letting his shots go with more regularity.
By the middle rounds of the fight the Thai was beginning to look weary with Saito pressing more and landing more eye catching combinations. Ratchasi showed his toughness and looked for some bombs, but really looked out classed and it seemed that in the final round Saito was looking for a stoppage, though was unable to even land the shot to drop the Thai.
At the end of the 8 round contest there was no doubting the winner, with taking the decision with scores of 80-73, 79-75 and 78-74 and promising the fans he would go on to win a title, after having falled short in 7 previous title bouts.
Sadly for Ratchasi this is his third loss in 4 bouts, and it's hard to see where he goes following this performance.
(Image courteys of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see former Japanese, OPBF and PABA title holder Akinori Watanabe (35-7, 30) [渡部あきのり] take on recent OPBF Light Middleweight champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (10-4, 7).
Today the two men weighed in for the bout and both fighters managed to make the contracted weight.
On the scales Watanabe was exactly 154lbs for the bout, coming in at the maximum that he's allowed. He looked in great shape and despite being a 14 year veteran of the sport he showed there was still life left in his legs last December, when he was involved in a thrilling bout with Magomed Kurbanov in Russia. Despite losing that bout with an 8th round TKO Watanabe really showed that there was still plenty for him to give the sport.
Ratchasi on the other hand was comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 152.75lbs for the bout, and looking in good shape. He has had a good run against Japanese fighters in recent years, beating Cobra Suwa, Yutaka Oishi and Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine, though was stipped last Nivember by Takeshi Inoue. Interestingly Inoue actually began last year by taking a wide decision over Watanabe.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired live on G+ tomorrow.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
At world level it's very rare to see titles unified, but below world level it does seem like we're seeing titles unified on a pretty regular basis, with a number of fighters holding multiples titles on the Asian regional scene. The latest fighter to unify titles is unbeaten Japanese Light Middleweight Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志].
At the start of the day Inoue was the Japanese champion, who was challenging his OPBF counter-part Ratchasi Sithsaithong (9-4, 7), with the WBO Asia Pacific title also up for grabs for the winner.
Coming in to the bout Ratchasi has been in great form, winning the OPBF title earlier this year in Japan and making his first defense on Japanese soil. Today however he was shown to be second best.
Inoue took the fight to the Thai early on, pressing behidn a high guard and forcing Ratchasi to try and fight him off. As the Thai tried to back up Inoue the Japanese fighter let his shots go, and it was clear that the local favourite had the edge in power, speed and skills. Those traits of Inoue began to take their toll in round 2 and he continued to build on his success, to take a lead on the cards after 4 rounds, with scores of 40-36, twice, and 39-37.
In the middle rounds Inoue pressed the action more, and he landed some really nasty shots up top on Ratchasi, who was showing his toughness by really giving every thing he had. The Thai tried to come back but was never able to get Inoue's respect, and in round 8 Inoue's power finally broke through, with a body body shot dropping the Thai.
A second knockdown by Inoue, again from a body shot, finished off the Thai.
With the win Inoue becomes a triple crown champion, and after the bout he stated he would like a world title fight, if he can get one, in the future. For Ratchasi there was no excure, just an acceptance that Inoue's stance left him with little target area, and he had no answers for Inoue's low stance and high guard.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance to see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (11-0-1, 6) [井上 岳志] to challenge his OPBF counter-part Ratchasi Sithsaithong (9-3, 7), with the winner set to unify their title with the WBO Asia Pacific title, which is also on the line.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men managed to make weight.
On the scales Inoue was the heavier man, making the limit at 154lbs and looked in great shape for the contest. The Japanese fighter seems to have scouted Ratchasi, who is a bull like fighter, and knows that he will struggle to force his physical style against the Thai and stated at today's weight in that he has been working on other parts of his boxing, including countering and combinations.
The Thai might be a physically strong fighter but at the weigh in he was "only" was 152.55lbs, about 1.5lbs under the limit, slightly heavier than he has been in recent wins over Cobra Suwa, Yutaka Oishi and Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine.
Inoue and Ratchasi battle to unify regional titles!
(Image courtesy of https://www.sponichi.co.jp)
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