Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans saw Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (11-3-3, 1) successfully retain his title and record the second defense of his belt as he over came #7 ranked challenger Hiroya Yamamoto (8-2, 3) in what was a relatively 1-sided contest.
Yamamaoto, challenging for a title for the first time, was made to look somewhat pedestrian by the southpaw champion who started slowly but was never under any real pressure.
The the first 5 rounds Yamamoto tried to keep things moderately competitive. The challenger however was down on all 3 cards when the open scoring was announced with Odaira leading 49-47, twice, and 48-47. Sadly for Yamamoto his competitiveness vanished all together as the fight went on and the final 5 rounds were close to being a shut out by the champion who showed his class and ability. It was during those 5 rounds that Yamamoto really got shown up as he failed to connect with anything of note whilst the speedy champion boxed, moved, countered and thoroughly dominated.
The one thing lacking from Odaira's performance was power and it's that lack of power that will likely keep him at this level. Sadly if he had the power to match his speed and skills he could very easily have picked up a world title.
For the champion this victory will likely cap off a sensational year which has seen him winning the title, with an impressive performance against Masashi Tada, and defending it twice with this win and one over Yuma Iwahashi. As for Yamamoto this is his second loss in 3 bouts and suggests that he is well behind the best on the Japanese domestic scene. There is talent and potential but it's unlikely that that potential will ever be enough to win even a nation title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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