Kawaguchi started well and won the first two rounds before Kawaguchi finally got a foothold in the bout, taking round 3, before Dacquel claimed the 4th round, on two of the cards. It was competitive action but Dacquel's more accurate attack, and telling body shots, were the difference in the early going with the judges scoring it 38-38 once and 39-37, twice in favour of Dacquel.
During the middle rounds Kawaguchi managed to find his range more consistently, and the score cards all began to reflect the back and forth nature of the rounds. By the end of round 8 the scores were 76-76, twice, and 77-75 Dacquel, giving the champion a lead on one card going into the final rounds and leaving it all to play for.
In round 9 an accidental headclash left Kawaguchi with a cut before the men engaged in an all out battle for the final 3 rounds, particularly in round 12, with Dacquel doing just enough to keep his title, with scores of 115-113, twice in his favour, and the same score for Kawaguchi on one card.
Following the win Dacquel seemed to show a lot of respect to the crowd, and Kawaguchi, and suggested he'd be happy to return to Japan. For Kawaguchi the loss will be a hard one to take, but his performance will give him a lot to take away and it's clear that he will be able to bounce back from this set back.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)