Early on it did look liek the title could change hands. The typically slow starting Hosono was his usual self and whilst he applied pressure early on that pressure wasn't as effective as he'd have hoped, with Fukuhara using clever footwork to land counter shots on the champion. Those counters caught the eye of the judges who had Fukuhara winning 48-47 when the cards were announced after 5 rounds.
Sadly for the challenger those cards were the worst thing that could have happened for him as they seemed to help kick start Hosono's drive. With the champion feeling his title was at risk he upped the pressure and started to make real in roads on the challenger who was dropped in round 8 from a body shot and forced to take a knee in round 9 from another body shot. Impressively Fukuhara rose from both knockdowns but they had turned the fight completely.
By the final bell there was only one winner, with Hosono have averted disaster with a wide decision win, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 97-91 to the champion.
Following the bout it was hinted that Hosono's next bout could be a world title bout, and is likely to be for the WBA Featherweight title, which could mean a potential showdown with the winner of the upcoming Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar vs Abner Mares fight. As for Fukuhara, the future looks bleak with retirement looming for the exciting but flawed for Super Bantamweight title holder.
For fans interested in watching the contest, it will be aired, in part at least, on April 1st on Fuji TV as part of their Diamond Glove series of telecasts.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)