Going in to the bout the defending champion was the red hot Kosuke Saka (16-4, 13) [坂晃典], who had really impressed in recent times with an 8 fight stoppage run, and he was looking for his first defense. Sadly for him however one mistake in round 5 saw his title being ripped away by Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) [大橋健典].
The fight started well for Saka, who seemed to do enough to take the first two rounds, but it was clear that Ohashi wasn't just going to topple over, and the challenger was giving as good as he got. By round 3 it did seem like Ohashi was beginning to take over, though wasn't dominating against the champion who still looked incredibly dangerous.
The action continued to be hotly contested through round 5, but at the time of the clacker to signify 10 seconds Saka turned off, seemingly thinking it was the end of the round. The mistake cost him dearly and Ohashi made him pay, with a huge right hook to the face, which dropped him, hard, for the count.
After the fight Saka made it clear that it was his mistake that caused the dramatic finish, but seemed to admit he was having trouble before then and that Ohashi was a tough challenger.
From what we under-stand Ohashi will make his first defense early next year against mandatory challenger Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) [源大輝] whilst Saka will look to learn from this loss, and rebuild.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)