Early on Purcell seemed to carry some genuine threat. He was the shoter, slower man, but looked the more imposing and powerful, and it was clear that Fujimoto didn't want to get into a slug fest with the challenger. Instead of standing toe-to-toe with the challenger the champuion used his feet, and tried to control the distance. It was a well thought out game plan, but a negative one and two of the judges were some what unimpressed, having the bout scored 38-38 after 4 rounds, whilst the third judge had Kyotaro in a lead 39-37.
Purcell put a lot of effort in to round 5, but the champion saw off the storm, and then began to really take over the bout, using his superior stamina and speed. Those traits allowed Kyotaro to establish a lead on all 3 cards when the scores were announced after 8 rounds, leading 78-74 and 77-75, twice.
In round 9 Purcell began to look a forlorn and exhausted fighter with his corner throwing in the towel around half way into the round, giving Fujimoto his biggest and most significant stoppage win to date.
After today's win Kyotaro's team announced that they would be pursuing a boyut with WBO Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, who recently made his first defense of the title. It's clear that the Japanese fighter would be the massive under-dog, but the bout does make sense and would be an easy sell following the bout being rumoured several times over the last few years.
For Kyotaro just fighting for a world title would be another slice of history, as he's be the first native Japanese Heavyweight to fight for a world title, but with his growing belief he will be looking to etch his name as a world class heavyweight.
For fans interesting in watching Kyotaro's bout with Purcell it is now featured on Boxingraise with the subscribers given the chance to watch the bout, along with the full show, on demand.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)