Today's Japanese title bout saw unbeaten Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (13-0, 10) [岡田 博喜] extend his reign as he over-came the exciting Cristiano Aoqui (11-5-2, 7) [青木クリスチャーノ] with a 9th round technical decision.
Early in the bout Aoqui seemed to give Okada real issue with his speed and movement. The movement allowed him to get in and out before Okada could respond with the handspeed seemed to see him catching Okada with some clean shots, albeit needing to throw several to get one or two through. When Okada managed to find a home to land however his shots were the eye catching ones, and it meant that several of the early rounds saw judges scoring on quantity against quality
Luckily for Okada it seemed the judges preferred the quality and by the time of the opening scoring after round 5 the champion looked in control with cards of 49-46, twice, and 49-47. We had it a touch closer, though it did seem like Okada was starting to find range and timing by the end of round 3 and he seemed to do enough to be ahead, but only just.
With the challenger behind on the cards he upped the ante in round 6. Despite upping the pace Aoqui lost the round following a big attack in the last minute or so from Okada who hammered home big right hands to impress the judges. Despite the big finish to round 6 from the champion he failed to follow it up the next round and a tired looking Aoqui seemed to win a round based on work rate, with Okada very quiet through the end stanza, almost as if Okada thought it best to let Aoqui slow himself down. The following round saw a slow looking Aoqui, now often loading up on singles, have some success but the big accurate shots with real mustard on them all seemed to be from Okada.
Unfortunately the bout ended less than a minute into round 9 after Aoqui was left with a nasty cut following a head clash,. The cut saw 3 people ringside take a long hard look at it before they decided, seemingly between them, that the challenger was no longer fit to continue and took the bout to the score-cards.
The cards all favoured the champion with scores of 88-85,88-84,88-84. Again we thought they out to be slightly closer, but they all got the right man who recorded the 5th defense of his title. It now seems likely he will vacate to focus on international gold, with the OPBF title one that will clearly interest him.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)