Earlier today Japanese fight fans in NTT Cred Hall in Hiroshima saw a Japanese Light Flyweight title eliminator, with Koki Ono (12-4, 5) [小野晃輝] battling against veteran Koji Itagaki (18-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] for a shot at the national title next year.
The bout pitted the #2 and #3 ranked contenders and proved to be a brilliantly competitive contest.
Itagaki started well, setting the tempo to begin with and used movement well to control the distance. Ono however refused to give up and showed his desire by continually pressing, and in the middle rounds he began to really break through and have his moments, especially in rounds 5 and 6 when he caught Itagaki with some really solid shots.
In the final round both men let it all go, and it was a thrilling finish that left the fans on the edge of their seat, and left both fighters wondering if they had done enough.
In the end the judges scored the bout 77-75, 75-77 and 76-77, giving Itagaki a razor thin split decision win and securing him a shot at the title in next years' Champion Carnival.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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