Tanaka started the bout well, using a sharp jab to control the distance and he looked sharp as a tac in the early moments. Before long however Sukkasem found his way inside and began to land eye catching body shots, whilst building in confidence. That confidence came at a price for the visitor, who was dropped by the local hopeful. Unfortunately for Tanaka the knockdown wasn't a hugely hurtful one and the Thai was quickly back into the fight.
As the bout went on Tanaka's accuracy and success decreased and Sukkasem really had some big moments, but could never drop Tanaka, which he always looked like needing. Sadly for the Thai his failure to score a knodkcown essentially cost him on the cards, with the judges scoring it 78-74 and 76-75 in favour of Tanaka, and 76-76, to give the Japanese prospect a majority decision.
On paper this was a huge win, and one that could potentially get Tanaka an IBF world ranking. It was however a struggle against a man who hasn't scored a notable win and wasn't expected to give Tanaka such a close run.
As for Sukkasem the bout will likely cost him his world ranking, but his performance will open up more opportunities in Japan, there are a host of Bantamweights and Super Bantamweights who will be looking to face him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)