When it comes to Japanese youngsters looking to make a mark in 2016 it's fair to say not many are younger than Riku Kano (8-1-1, 4) who will begin the coming year on a high after a dominant performance against Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (58-9-2, 23).
The 18 year old Taisei Gym fighter was stepping up massively and despite the huge gulf in experience he made the step up seem easy.
Pigmy, a former 2-time world title challenger, had travelled with the intention of derailing the youngster's rise to the top. Instead however Kano used the bout to build his name and showcase his ability.
From the off the teenager looked the more accomplished fighter and boxed well behind his jab. Pigmy tried to up the ante and turn the fight around but was thwarted by combinations, counter punches and smart movement by a youngster who was showing the touches of class that a top class prospect needs.
By the final bell Pigmy had tried everything in his arsenal but had never come close to making Kano struggle, as a result the scorecards were a formality with Kano taking a unanimous decision with cards of 80-73, 80-75 and 79-75.
Given that Pigmy was world ranked coming into this one it seems likely that Kano will find himself in the WBO rankings when they are updated and his dream of becoming the youngest Japanese world champion has certainly taken a huge step in the direction with this win.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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