Earlier today at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe fans saw Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] successfully defend his title as he over-came Masashi Tada (13-6-3, 8) [多田雅] with a clear decision.
From the off Horikawa was applying the pressure, whilst Tada looked to use his younger legs to move, jab, and stay away from the inside fight that Horikawa was looking to force. Despite the younger legs of Tada Horikawa did manage to cut the distance and worked the body well in round 2 before out working his man in round 3. Despite the success Horikawa did have some problems and his left eye was cut in round 3 as the up close action lead to headclashes, a typical feature of a Horikawa fight.
Despite not doing as well as the champion Tada was having his moments, they were just less regular than those of Horikawa, who was leading 49-46, twice, and 48-47 when the score cards were announced after round 5.
Tada began to slow down in the second half, struggling to create the distance he needed to work effectively against Horikawa, who remained consistent in his approach to the bout. The shots of Horikawa began to take a toll on Tada in round 7 and the challenger really struggled to work his way back into the bout, though did have some success in round 9 before being hurt and dropped in round 10. The knockdown wasn't enough to stop Tada, but it was enough to put the cherry on the performance for Horikawa who had clearly retained his title.
At the end of 10 rounds the judges had Horikawa winning 99-90, twice, and 98-91.
Whilst this was Horikawa's first defense, of his second reign, it was Tada's second unsuccessful Japanese title bout, having previously lost to Go Odaira in a Japanese Minimumweight title bout way back in 2014.
In under-card bouts on this same show there was stoppage wins for two talented and young prospects.
One of those was unbeaten Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) [大橋哲朗], who had won the 2018 Rookie of the Year at Super Flyweight. He stopped a limited Thai visitor in the opening round. The other was Ryo Suwa (11-1, 2) [諏訪亮] who stopped Indonesian Arega Yunian (7-13, 2) in the in third round of their scheduled 6 round contest
Light Punching Japanese teenager Ryo Suwa (10-1, 1) [諏訪亮] scored a career best win earlier today, as he over-came Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (33-26-3, 18) at the EDION Arena Osaka.
Originally Manakane was supposed to face former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-1, 9) [久保隼], but Kubo was pulled from the bout only days after the contest was announced, leading to Suwa taking his place. It was a massive step up for Suwa, and the gulf in experience showed, with the 19 year old being shown more here than he has in pretty all of his other 10 bouts combined.
Suwa relied on his speed, his youth and energy, as well as his jab, to take rounds but Manakane was always looking dangerous and trying to time his counter right hands, in relatively unpredictable fashion. It made life hard for Suwa, who seemed unsure of himself and cautious of Manakane's power.
Despite being unsure of himself Suwa did what he needed to take the early rounds, before Manakane came out with impetus in round 8. By then however it was too little too late for the Indonesian veteran, who was on the losing end of the score-cards.
After 8 rounds the judges had the bout 77-76, 78-75 and 78-74 all in favour of Suwa.
It's worth noting that that this was Manakane's second bout in less than a month, coming only weeks after he held unbeaten Indonesian prospect Patrick Liukhoto to a draw in Jakarta, and is his 4th bout in just over 4 months. For Suwa this was a third decision win of the year, and he is now unbeaten since losing in December 2017 to Ikuro Sadatsune.
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