Naito was fighting for the first time since winning the belt, in exceptional style, against Hiroyasu Matsuzaki, and was widely regarded as the favourite going into the clash. The tag of favourite may well have played on Naito who seemed to be frustrated early on by Tamakoshi who wasn't giving much away in terms of opportunities. It was a cagey start by the challenger and whilst Naito was winning the rounds he wasn't able to full impress as he'd have wished.
Tamakoshi's experience managed to prevent Naito from really shining but in the second half the champion put his foot on the gas, increased the pressure and tried to stop the challenger. Again Tamakoshi's experience and toughness helped him but it was a thoroughly one sided bout in the end with Tamakoshi's main achievement being his survival.
When it came to the score cards there was no doubting who won with Naito taking the decision with scores of 99-91 on all 3 cards.
Although Naito was impressive, for the second successive fight, his inexperience is something that needs work. We don't think he's ready for any of the top fighters in the country, though they do including WBA world champion Takashi Uchiyama and WBC champion Takashi Miura as well as the very talented Daiki Kaneko and the monstrous puncher Masao Nakamura. Aside from those 4 world class fighters Naito is the best in Japan.
As for Tamakoshi this was likely his last chance to win a domestic title and is was 5th loss in Japanese title fights.
This fight, as with Go Odaira's bout with Yuma Iwahashi, will be aired later today on Fuji TV.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)