Around 11 months ago Japanese fighter Kentaro Masuda (24-7, 13) [益田 健太郎] had the Japanese Bantamweight title ripped from his hands by the exciting and young Shohei Omori, who really did a number on Masuda over 3 one sided rounds. Today Masuda completed a remarkable comeback as he reclaimed the Japanese title and scored an 8th round stoppage win against the previously unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10) [田中 裕士], for the vacant title.
Masuda took control of the bout almost from the off with his footwork, jab and straight right hand being too much for Tanaka to deal with in the opening stages. Tanaka tried to fight back but looked lost as he fell behind very early on. The control of Masuda was reflected after the open scoring had him in a very wide lead, with two of the judges having the bout a shut out, 50-45, whilst the third card was 50-46 in favour of Masuda.
Tanaka knew he had to turn the bout around but that turned out to be a bad mistake with Masuda showing he could fight off the back foot and a counter shot left Tanaka staggered. A follow up from Masuda quickly forced the referee to jump in and save the young Hatanaka gym fighter, who had looked out of his depth through out the fight.
Masuda admitted that the loss to Omori last year wasd a turning bout and since then he has improved further and although it seems unlikely he is now hoping to get a world title fight. He would be the under-dog against any current champion, but it would be nice to see the veteran getting a shot before his career comes to an end.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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