The talented Ito, who won the title last time out when he stopped Dai Iwai, started relatively slowly with Eto actually having a solid start to the fight. It was however a controlled start from the champion, who did just enough to edge out a lead when the cards were publically announced after 4 rounds. At that point Ito was winning on two of the cards, with scores of 39-38, 39-37, and was level on the other.
It wasn't until the middle rounds that Ito started to take control, using his speed, movement and sharp jab to dominate the middle section of the fight and really establish himself as the fighter in control. Eto, to his credit, never looked like wilting but never seemed to trouble the talented champion who had run out to a lead on all 3 cards, with scores of 79-74, 78-74 and 78-75, after 8 rounds.
Ito's control of the middle rounds continued through the final section of the bout with Eto often looking out classed, despite continuing to be brave and try and turn things around. For all his effort however the challenger was clearly the loser, with the cards reading 118-111, twice, and 117-111.
Following the bout Ito seemed to suggest he wanted to face another top Japanese fighter. Given he has wins over Eto, Iwai, and Masao Nakamura there isn't many other top Japanese fighters for him to focus on, perhaps a rematch with Rikki Naito, who gave him his sole loss, the heavy handed Kenichi Ogawa or the teak tough Daiki Kaneko. Any of those bouts would be interesting to say the least.
For fans interested in watching this one, it will be aired on Friday night on Fuji TV.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)