Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans got the chance to see "Dangan 118". The show had several notable bouts on it thought the stand out contest, by far, was the main event which pitted two highly regarded fights against each for OPBF title glory. One of those men was former 5-weight Japanese national champion Tadashi Yuba (46-10-2, 33) who, despite his success nationally, had never previously won an OPBF title. Yuba was hoping it would be 3rd time lucky. The other man was Filipino veteran Dennis Laurente (49-5-5, 30), a former OPBF and PABA champion at Lightweight, who was looking to score his 6th straight stoppage.
On paper it was an excellent match up. Not only were both veterans with impressive records but both were highly ranked by the OPBF who had Yuba at #4 and Laurenta at #1. Even with out the title it would have been a bout of real value, though one that would likely have sent the loser into retirement. Sadly for Yuba he was the one who came up short.
Laurente went on to the offensive quickly and seemed to be able to force Yuba on to the back foot at will. Those who have seen Yuba will likely be aware that when he's not got space to work he really struggles and Laurente wasn't going to allow him to have the space he needed to get his powerful straights into the bout. Laurente's aggressiveness allowed him to easily neutralise the 4" height advantage that Yuba had and get shots off on the inside where Yuba really couldn't work. It didn't help that Yuba himself looked heavy legged from early on making life even easier for the Filipino.
With Laurente looking in charge it seemed like Yuba would need something special. Today however wasn't his day and a barrage from Laurente in round 6, punctuated by a clean uppercut and a spiteful right hook, sent down the Japanese fighter down. The referee had immediately seen enough and stopped it there and then.
Sadly for Yuba this was almost certainly his best, and final, chance to become an OPBF champion. For Laurente however this seems him winning his second OPBF title more than 13 years after he won his first, defeating Yosuke Otsuka in November 2001 for the Lightweight title.
We're hopign that Laurente will be defending his belt in the new year and, there are several interesting opponents out there for him, such as Charlie Ota, Yuki Nonaka and Akinori Watanabe. Then again Laurente is 37 and may well be thinking about either retirement or chasing a big fighter in the US, and who can blame if an opportunity opens up for him.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!