Japanese Flyweight champion Suguru Muranaka (21-2-1, 7) made the second successful defense of his title earlier today as he stopped voluntary Yusuke Sakashita (12-5-1, 7) in the 8th round of their bout.
The contest, Sakashita's first title bout, was competitive early on with little to really split the men. In fact after 5 rounds the judges all turned in scores of 48-47 in favour of the champion who was being made to work very hard to remain in the lead. The challenger, who looked significantly taller than the champion, started well with good movement and an active jab that kept the champion at a safe range.
In the second half of the fight Muranaka found a new gear and began cutting the distance easier and letting his hands go with more effectiveness whilst Sakashita began to noticeably slow, feeling the pace that he had set early in the bout. This saw the two men trading more with Sakashita forced to hold his feet. Unfortunately for the challenger this wasn't what he wanted to do and it left him open to a bomb that dropped him hard in round 8. The knockdown forced the referee to immediately wave off the bout and save Sakashita whose good start had been forgotten the longer the bout went on.
For Muranaka, who is world ranked by all 4 governing bodies, this will have been a good test of dealing with a taller, longer and rangier fighter than himself though his struggles in the early part of the contest suggest he's not yet ready for a world title fight. As for Sakashita he impressed early on before being stopped, he will however take the result as a positive and come back in the future.
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