Koichi, challenging for a title for the first time in his career, brought the pressure behind his trademark high guard. This forced Okada to react to the pressure and saw the men regularly trading shots in what became one of the stand out bouts of the month.
The pressure of Koichi forced Okada to box more on the move than he'd have perhaps liked though when Koichi did cut the distance the bout was great to watch with Okada being forced to fight off Koichi up close.
The high octane action took it's toll on Okada's face when he was cut over the left eye in the second half of the fight. The cut was a nasty one that bled through out the rest of the fight and ended up splattering those at ring side with claret. Despite the blood Okada fought as hard as had previously and managed to survive a late charge by Koichi who was trying to turn the tables before time ran out.
Despite the back and forth action all 3 judges saw the bout the same way, 96-94 in favour of Koichi. Despite the win the champion will have known that this was the toughest bout of his career and it could be some time before he even considers moving beyond the Japanese domestic level.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)