The bout saw defending champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝], who had won the title in spectacular fashion earlier this year against Takenori Ohashi, battling against Tatsuya Otsubo (12-9-1, 4) [大坪竜也] in what turned out to be a very compelling and competitive contest.
The challenger started the fight brilliantly. He landing the heavier blows and neutralising the jab of the champion. The power of Otsubo paid dividends in round 3 when he dropped the champion with a nasty straight right hand.
It was the perfect start for the challenger who was of to an early lead. Sadly however for Otsubo dropping the champion seemed to wake him up, and Minamoto managed to establish some control on the bout the following round, before close the gap on the score cards in round 5, to only be 48-46 behind at the mid way point.
Despite coming back into the bout it was clear that Minamoto had a new found respect for the challenger and had to make sure not to get too reckless when attacking the challenger.
Sadly for the challenger that second wind would never come and in round 9 Minamoto would finally drop the challenger, with the bout being stopped immediately.
Following the bout Minamoto stated that there was two Japanese fighters he'd like to face and that he would like to fight again this year. One of those is OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (6-0, 6) [清水 聡] whilst the other is the highly ranked Reiya Abe (17-2, 8) [阿部 麗也]. He seemed excited to face either man but he would likely be the under-dog against either man.
As for Otsubo it seemed like he knew he had had a great start, but simply couldn't keep it up. There is however no shame in his performance and he certainly gave a better effort than many had anticipated.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)