The idea that age is just a number rarely seems to apply in boxing, with father time defeating pretty much every fighter, sooner or later. To the 41 year old Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] father time doesn't seem to apply, and today he showed, even at an advanced age, that he was still a fantastic fighter, capable of beating heavy handed and younger fighters.
The talented Nonaka, a true veteran, was up against the hard hitting Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4, 10) [細川チャーリー忍], who had travelled to Osaka in an attempt to record his first defense of the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight titles.
On paper it looked like the hard hitting fighter, himself 34, was coming to feast on a notable foe, travelling to improve his name around the country and potentially move towards bigger and better fights. To Nonaka however the contest was about proving he was still credible force at Middleweight, like he had been at Light Middleweight.
It was clear that Nonaka was the quicker, sharper fighter almost immediately as he used his jab and controlled range through much of the first round. At the end of the opening stanza a counter from Nonaka sent the crowd crazy as Hosokawa was dropped, securing a big 10-8 round for the challenger. Hosokawa would bounce back in round 2, applying more intense pressure, forcing Nonaka to work harder to create space. It lead to some really interesting rounds as Hosokawa's energy and aggression went straight up against Nonaka's foot work, timing and counter punching.
After 6 rounds the judges score cards were announced publicly, and they were 57-56, twice, and 58-55 all in favour of Nonaka. Despite being down it seemed like Hosokawa was in the ascendancy, taking round 5 on all 3 cards and also looking like the man who had won round 6, that was despite being cut from an accidental headclash in round 5.
Sadly for Hosokawa his pressure failed to pay dividends in the second half of the fight as Nonaka used his legs brilliantly to control the range and tempo, keeping Hosokawa at the end of his straight shots and using the size of the ring fantastically. This movement of Nonaka had seen him take rounds 7 and 8 with no argument, ans also take round 9 on two of the scorecards as his lead extended. The one respite for Hosokawa was securing a 10-8 in round 10, when Nonaka was deducted deducted a point for spitting out his mouth piece. It wasn't to be enough for Hosokawa, who was unable to get a break through in the final 2 rounds.
After 12 rounds it seemed like a close but clear win for Nonaka, who would get the decision with scores of 114-112, twice, and 115-111.
With the win Nonaka set a Japanese male record for the oldest champion at regional level. Amazingly he is 12 years old than the age that his manager, Hiroki Ioka, retired at. Ioka, a 2-weight world champion and the uncle of Kazuto Ioka, seemed incredibly impressed by his charge and his energy at such an advanced age. Hosokawa cut a frustrated figure at times, and seemed to realise that the footwork of Nonaka had been too good. It was however a clear learning experience for Hosokawa, who will have learned more in this loss than he has from any of his other pro bouts.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be added to Boxing Raise in the coming days.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Aioi Hall in Kariya fight fans had the chance to see a WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6) took on unbeaten Japanese challenger Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵].
On paper this looked like a really interesting match up. The experienced champion had had a reputation as being a nightmare for Japanese fighters, holding Yohei Tobe to a draw, running Ryosuke Iwasa close in an OPBF title fight and scoring notable wins over Hisashi Amagasa and Yoshimitsu Kimura. Mori on the other hand was seen as one of the most promising Japanese teenagers, who had won the 2017 Super Featherweight All Japan Rookie of the Year.
Sadly though the bout failed to live up to the hopes we had all had. That's not to say it was bad, just ended in an inconclusive fashion.
Mori started really well, using his speed and aggression to keep Pumicpic from settling early. Pumicpic did try to attack behind his right hook when pressing forward, but he struggled to have major success early on due to the speed and movement of Mori. Pumicpic, knowing he was the slower man, tried to attack the body, and seemed to be willing to play the longer against the inexperienced and unproven Mori.
In round 5 Pumicpic suffered a cut from a head clash. He escaped the first inspection, but soon was stopped afterward as the doctor took a second look and waved the bout off, just shy of the half way mark of round 5. That took us to the scores cards which 47-49 to Mori, 48-47 to Pumicpic and 49-46 to Mori, who claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title with a split technical decision.
Given the inconclusive ending, and how the bout had been competitive up to the finish, a rematch would make a lot of sense, though we suspect the two men will go in different directions, given there is a lot of talent and interesting match ups to make regionally at 126lbs. Pumipic deserves a rematch, given how he lost the title, but his career has often been one full of hard luck and unfortunate set backs. For Mori however today's win really boosts his standing in the sport and we wouldn't be surprised to see him in the WBO world rankings in the near future, helped significantly by today's regional title win.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!