Last year was a big one for Japanese puncher Keita Kurihara (11-5, 10) [栗原 慶太], who defeated Filipino pair Engelbert Moralde and Ryan Lumacad, but had a thrilling loss to Hiroaki Teshigawara splitting those wins. Today he kicked off his 2018 and made an immediate impact by destroying the touted Tetsuya Watanabe (3-1, 2) [渡部哲也] in just 81 rounds.
Kurihara applied pressure straight from the off whilst Watanabe was forced to use his feet and jab. Sadly for Watanabe his movement did little to prevent Kurihara from cutting the distance and cornering Watanabe, who was dropped only moments later.
The win for Kurhara, his second since the loss to Teshigawara, takes him a huge step towards getting his first title bout. That could be a rematch with Teshigawara, the current WBO Asia Pacific champion, or alternatively he could begin chasing either the Japanese or OPBF titles.
As for Watanabe this would have been a hard loss, and one that he may struggle to bounce back from in a hurry. It will leave many opponents questioning his durability and could well show some major cracks in the way he responds to pressure. Though it does give him a platform to build from.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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