Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall Japanese fans saw Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 9) [伊藤 雅雪] record his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific title, courtesy of a 9th round TKO win over big punching Filipino Lorenzo Villanueva (32-3-0-1, 28).
The Japanese champion took control early in the bout, winning the opening round with his skills, and movement, and then dropped Villanueva in the second round. The Filipino showed his toughness to get back up from the knockdown and tried to turn the first around.
In round 3 Ito's right eye began to mark up badly, and was seriously swollen as the bout progressed with Ito stating he was seeing double at times. Despite the swollen eye the champion remained in control and was 40-35 up on all 3 cards after 4 rounds.
Villanueva managed to have some success in round 5, with two judges giving the round to the Filipino. Sadly for the challenger that was about it for his success with Ito reclaiming control and forcing a 9th round stoppage of the Filipino,, who had been doiwn twice in the round. Despite being game Villanueva's toughness and bravery was essentially the only thing keeping him in the bout for the most part.
After the fight some in Japan did suggest that Ito may return to face Japanese champion Kenichi Ogawa later in the year, with Ogawa himself being ringside for the bout, but given the state of Ito's eye it could be a while before he's back in the ring.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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