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
The Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year final saw Shinobu Wakagi (3-2-1, 2) [若木忍] battle against unbeaten youngster Tetsuro Ohashi (6-0-1, 1) [大橋哲朗] in a really good looking match up on paper, and a very entertaining on
From the opening moments it was clear that Wakagi was a confident fighter, rushing at Ohashi. Despite the confidence it was also clear he was a wild fighter, sending himself through the ropes only seconds into the bout., The wildness of Wakagi continued through the first round as he repeatedly swung shots through the air, missing Ohashi by a long way. The 20 year old Ohashi showed great composure through the aggression of Wakagi whilst countering well.
The bout slowed in round 2, with Wakagi feeling the effects of his wild tactics and Ohashi catching him cleanly early in the round. It was clear that Wakagi was dangerous, and Ohashi didn't stand still for long to taste the power of Wakagi, but he was so terribly crude that he was continually leaving himself open. Wakagi again tried to rush Ohashi at the start of round 3, but was beginning to take clean shots through the round as Ohashi began to show off his skills, his movement and his variation. Ohashi slammed an uppercut on Wakagi's jaw, and a big straight not long afterwards whilst Wakagi's shots became laboured.
Wakagi went into the 4th, and last, round likely aware he was behind, and began to chase things with even more intensity than he had used earlier in the bout. That lead to more of the same, with Ohahsi landing to head and body at will, using sharp straight punches to make Wakagi really pay for his wide shots. Occasionally Wakagi's wild swings would hit home as Ohashi slowed down in the final minute, but even the Wakagi knew he hadn't done enough.
The scores cards were a formality, with Ohashi taking the shut out win, 40-36 from all 3 judges.
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