The bout was Hosokawa's first since his thrilling title win over Koichi Aso last year and saw him taking on a man who had looked throughly destructive in recent bouts, with Baez stopping his last 3 opponents and being made to look like a genuine monster on the Japanese domestic scene.
Given the styles of the men, with Hosokawa being a high tempo grinder and Baez being a big punching slugger, this always promised a lot, but over-delivered with the fans being treat to something very special.
Hosokawa set off with the clear intention of taking the fight to Baez, who fights under the name Destino Japan, and the high output of the champion saw him establish the early control, and put Baez on to the back foot.
Baez didn't really come into the bout until round 3, when he finally had something of a break throughas he began to let his shots go and upped the pace. The success of Destino grew in round 4 as he dropped Hosokawa, who returned the favour in one of the Japanese rounds of the year. The round served as not only an indicator that both fighters could hurt each other, but also that the bout meant so much to both fighters.
Baez, who had look shaken towards the end of round 4, looked the fresher man in round 5 as he closed the gap on the score cards, which were announced as 49-46 and 48-47 to Hosokawa, and 48-48, giving Hosokawa a lead as we went into round 6. Those scored forced Baez into chasing the fight a little bit more but allowed hosokawa to sit on his shots, look to counter and in round 7 one of those counters paid off, as he rocked, and then dropped Baez who failed to beat the 10 count.
With this win Hosokawa successfully retains his title and makes his first defense. As for Baez this is a major seet back, but he has some interesting domestic options out there if he looks to continue his career in Japan.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)