One of those bouts saw 2013 Rookie of the Year winner Tatsuya Ikemizu (18-2, 7) [池水達也] take on tough and under-rated domestic foe Naoto Fujimoto (9-9-1, 4) [藤本直人]. The 8 round contest was a solid back and forth bout with Ikemizu always just doing enough to keep his nose in the lead in what was a compelling contest. The scores of 79-76, 78-74 and 78-75 all favoured Ikemizu, and once again fans had the chance to see Fujimoto prove he's better than his record suggests, just as he did last year when he ran Takuya Kogawa really close in an equally competitive 8 rounder.
The other bout of note saw Kenji Kihisa (9-3, 6) [木久健次] score a career best win as he stopped former Japanese OPBF title challenger Shota Kawaguchi (21-10-1, 9) [川口勝太], who retired at the end of round 6. Although unheralded Kihisa came into this bout with an OPBF ranking thanks to a 2017 upset win over the then touted Futa Akizuki, today he proved that win wasn't much of a fluke with a 4th straight stoppage and left Kawaguchi a bloody sliced mess. Kawaguchi was cut over the left eye in the second round, due to punches, and then cut later one from a head clash. With the cuts worsening Kawaguchi was struggling and his corner took the decision before the start of round 7 to pull their man out and save him from further punishment.
With his win today Kihisa will have taken a huge step towards getting a title fight, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him getting an OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title fight before the end of 2018
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)