Earlier today we saw the boxing world turn it's attention to Kyoto where WOZ boxing put on a intriguing double header. One of those "headers" was a WBO Bantamweight world title eliminator between Shohei Omori and Marlon Tapales, which we won't spoil here, whilst the other was a Japanese Lightweight title bout between defending champion Kota Tokunaga (17-2, 11) and first time title challenger Kazuhiro Nishitani (15-4-1, 7).
Tokunaga won the title earlier this year, when he stopped Yuya Sugizaki in 8 rounds, back in April, following that he scored a last round TKI over Yuhei Suzuki to claim a come from behind victory in his first defense.
Today Tokunaga was again taken close to the bring, as Nishitani put in a brilliant effort.
Tokunaga, the taller and longer man, got off to a good start using his boxing and physical advantages well. His jab found a home almost immediately and his right hand was also on target. Nishitani howver began to time the champion, slipping shots and landing hard counters as Tokunaga's page began to drop. After 5 rounds the bout was all but even with the cards reading 48-48, twice, and 48-47 to Nishitani.
Knowing his reign was being threatened Tokunaga found a new gear, landing his jabs and straights again. Nishitani answered in kind with a solid shot that seemed to have Tokunaga worried for a few moments. Tokunaga was again worried in the final round as Nishitani threw bomb after bomb looking to connect on the questionable chin of Nishitani, who saw off the storm and remained upright.
The work of the champion in the second half of the fight had been enough to net him the victory, with scores of 96-95 and 97-94, twice, however he seemed unsure of his own performance. Notably Tokunaga suggested he wanted to fight for the OPBF title in 2016, that would mean a bout with Masayoshi Nakatani in what would be a very interesting bout, but one where Tokunaga would be viewed as a clear under-dog.
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