The hard hitting Nakatani, who defeated Yoshitaka Kato for the title earlier this year, was facing Japanese based Filipino Ricky Sismundo (26-8-1, 12), AKA Mondo Harada, and was given an excellent contest.
The bout started well for Nakatani who managed to get his jab going from early on and looked sensational at times with excellent counter punching and combinations.
The great start for the champion saw him establishing an early lead of 39-37 on the open scoring after 4 rounds and it was then followed by Nakatani extending his lead through the middle rounds as he continued to use his insane reach advantage to prevent Harada from really giving him too many issues.
Although Harada was having his moments of success the best the judges the judges could do for him was score it 77-75 after 8 rounds, which two of the judges did. In the eyes of the other judge it was a near shut out for Nakatani who was 79-73 up on the open scoring after 8 rounds.
Being so far behind Harada knew he had to turn up the heat and that's exactly what he did in rounds 9 and 10, as the bout became a slugfest. The faster pace proved to be an issue for Nakatani who appeared stunned in round 9 though he continued to show his toughness and fight back, biting on his gum shield and refusing to just concede any of his well established lead.
Nakatani saw out the storm and managed to show off his own ability in the final few rounds as he did more than enough to survive the spirited challenge and in fact the final round made it seem like Nakatani was the one with more left in the tank.
Although Harada had put up a good fight he was a clear loser and this was shown on the score cards which had Nakatani retaining his belt with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112. There might be some disagreement on the actual scoring but there would have been no debate about the rightful winner.
(Image courtesy of, taken after Nakatani won his belt, courtesy of Ioka Boxing)