The bout was a huge step up in class for Mishiro but he looked calm and confident early on, but had to cope with the aggressive pressure of Magali before finding his rhythm. The aggression of Magali made life uncomfortable, but after 4 rounds the men were level on the scorecards, which were all 38-38.
Mishiro had looked to create some distance, using his significant height and reach, and had had success with his jab and straight, but was holding his own in the trenches with some nasty uppercuts which had bust Magali's nose and caused notable facial swelling on the champion.
In round 5 it was Magali who had a huge break through, rocking the Japanese fighter and pressing him hard. The round was the clearest of the fight and saw Mishiro look ready to drop at one point as he went on the retreat, hands down, and looked like he had forgotten everything he had trained for. Thankfully for him Magali failed to close the show and in round 6 Mishiro seemed to clear his head, before have a small surge in rounds 7 and 8, as Magali began to look tired. Those rounds saw Mishiro sneak his nose ahead on two of the cards, 77-75, whilst the third was even, 76-76, when the scores were announced after 8 rounds.
Magali then knew things were up against him going into the final 4 rounds, the first two of which were razor thin, with Magali looking to up the pressure and Mishiro holding his own. The could have gone either way, but the final two had Magali really put it all out there, as if he knew it was in the balance. Mishiro on the other hand took his foot off the case, looking to avoid another big scare in the final moments.
In the end Mishiro's decision to play safe proved to be a smart one, with the Japanese fighting edging the decision with scores of 115-113 in his favour, twice, whilst the third judge had the bout 115-113 in Magali's favour.
On the under-card there was a bit of a mixed bag for notable fighters. the hard hitting Riki Hamada (7-2, 6) [濱田力] was stopped in 2 rounds by China's Xiao Tao Su (6-1, 3) [苏晓涛], in what was a pretty brutal KO after having already dropped Hamada. Hamada had been sent through the ropes earlier in the round, and Su had got himself deducted a point as he followed up on the prone Japanese. Hamada never really recovered before being laid out only moments later. Shuma Nakazato (7-1-2, 6) [仲里周磨] saw his fight with late replacement Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8) come to an early conclusion after a clash of heads forced the bout to be stopped after just 2 minutes 30 seconds, resulting in a technical draw.
The real highlight of the supporting card was a thrilling, yet relatively one sided, battle between Katsunori Nagamine (15-2-1, 11) [長嶺克則] and the insanely tough Yujie Zeng (11-8-1, 6) [曾玉洁]. The aggressive Zeng came out with serious belief as he pressed Nagamine from the off, but the Japanese fighter saw out the early pressure and ended up giving Zeng a real beating until the fight was finally stopped in round 7, by a referee who had seen enough punishment for the Chinese fighter. Given his performance we'd like to see a lot more of Zeng, maybe against more competitively matched opponents, as he was really good value here. As for Nagamine he'll be looking for his second title fight shortly, after having lost in a Japanese title fight earlier this year.
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)