Japanese puncher Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) began his career 7-0 (7). It wasn't until he started competing in title bouts that he found himself being take the distance, his power, and his ability to use that power, hadn't quite carried up to the top of the domestic level. Or at least that was how it had seemed coming into this weekend.
Today however Okada has made us question that view as he recorded his second defence of the Japanese Light Welterweight title and easily saw off the more experienced Hayato Hokazono (18-5-1, 11) with a 3rd round TKO.
The powerful champion started fast. He looked sharp from the off with lovely speed, movement and aggression. It seemed clear that the challenger wasn't expecting such a quick pace from the champion and he was forced to answer back. Within a round both men were showing the damage of battle though it was clear Okada was in a different level to his challenger.
By the end of the second round Hokazono was left with further facial damage. His skin couldn't handle the power and accuracy of the champion who showed some brilliant footwork to set up his offensive work and to neutralise Hokazono, when the challenger did manage to get on the front foot.
In the third round Okada manage to land a peach of a right hand that sent his challenger down. Hokazono did his best to get up but was unable to keep his feet forcing the referee to stop the contest.
Following the bout the champion indicated that he wanted to fight for the OPBF title whilst also defending his Japanese title. At the moment that would see Okada going up against monster puncher Keita Obara, though the belief is that Obara will be vacating the title later in the year. If Obara does vacate then Okada really does have a good chance of winning the belt, especially if he shows this time of form next time out. As for Hokazono, the feature is a bit bleak and he'll have to work hard or get very lucky to get another fight at this level.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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