The bout to crown a new champion saw former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (28-2-3, 12) [大竹 秀典] take on Filipino youngster Jelbirt Gomera (12-2, 6) and was a surprisingly well matched bout, despite the gulf in experience between the two men.
It was the young Filipino who looked like the one with a point to prove early one, using his speed to claim the first 2 rounds in what was an exciting start to the action. Sadly for Gomera his early success was all but wiped oyut in round 3, when Otake secured a 10-8 round with a knockdown, an then took round 4 to secure a narrow lead on all 3 cards after 4 rounds.
Gomera's early success was unable to be built on during many of the middle rounds, and whilst he certainly had moments, he looked physically imposing enough to force Otake backwards or make the Japanese fighter show him real respect. Instead it was Otake's pressure and offense that seemed to help him establish a lead during the middle rounds. By the end of round 8, when the scores were announced for the second time, Otake was leading on all 3 cards, with scores of 76-75, 77-74 and 78-73
Being aware he was un a whole Gomera tried to turn things around, but he struggled to make the inroads that he needed until it was too late, clearly winning round 12 but not doing enough to convince the judges to give him the rounds he needed to secure a major turn around. Instead the Filipino had to settle for merely keeping the scores respectable with cards of 116-111 and 115-112, twice.
Following the win Otake seemed to suggest that he was desperate for a second world title bout, something his team have been chasing hard in recent times, whilst Gomera complimented Otake's toughness but seemed to have some regrets about his performance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)