In a small upset Suguru Muranaka (19-2-1, 5) managed to defeat Takuya Kogawa (22-3, 13) and successfully claim the Japanese Flyweight title in what was a hard fought and very exciting bout.
Kogawa, who went in to the bout ranked by all 4 major sanctioning bodies, was expected to retain though Muranaka came out with his intentions set on the upset. The fast start of the challenger seemed to take the champion by surprise and the round was one clearly won by Muranaka. From the on it was a great back and forth as Kogawa tried to establish distance with his movement and jab whilst Muranaka tried to force the issue and was rushing the champion who struggled to respond.
Unfortunately for Kogawa it was the work of Muranaka's that seemed to be the more eye catching over-all. It was less technical but certainly the more aggressive and more memorable. As a result it was no big surprise when the judges ruled that Muranaka was the new champion, taking the title with a split decision victory courtesy of scores which read 95-94, 96-95 in favour of Muranakan and 94-95 in favour of Kogawa.
We'd now expect to see Muranaka climbing up into the top 15 of the WBC, IBF and WBO. Prior to this bout he was already ranked #8 with the WBA who will likely push him further up the top 10.
Although a rematch would make sense given the close nature of the bout we can't help but feel that the 28 year old Muranaka will be eying up a potential world title fight.
For Kogawa, who was attempting to defend his title for the 4th time, this is a big set back. Not one that he can't over-come but it will take a while before we talk about him getting his second world title fight, following a 2011 loss to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.
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