The bout warmed up almost immediately and by the end of the first round both men were trading leather. Takashi, the taller fighter, appeared happy to give up his height to let shots go and Masuda seemed happy for a war as neither man held back. The shots took an almost immediate toll on the challenger who was bleeding from various cuts at the end of round 4 though refused to just give up and continued to fire back.
By the end of round 5 Masuda was well ahead on the open scoring with cards of 50-45, twice, and 49-46. The scores seemed a little bit harsh given the effort of Takahashi though he was, for the most part, unable to keep pace with the assaults of Masuda who was beating up the challenger.
Although Takahashi was behind going in to the second half of the fight he refused to cave in and actually started to have growing success as he began to grind the body of the champion. Masuda began to feel the pace of the action and in round 8 things seem to turn even more towards the challenger who had been incredibly gallant and continue his drive through the final 2 rounds.
Sadly for Takahashi his success had come too late and was unable to get himself out of the hole despite his courageous efforts which had made the bout look somewhat competitive on the cards which read 96-94 and 97-93, twice.
After the fight Masuda complimented the toughness and strength of Takahashi describing him as being like a "zombie". For Takahashi it'll be a hard and painful loss though it's one he certainly comes out looking good in and we hope to see him again.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)