Former 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (27-3, 13) continued his rise towards a Lightweight world title fight earlier today as he over-came former 2-time Super Featherweight world champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-4-1-1, 16) in a clear but hard fought 10 round decision bout at a contracted weight of 137lbs.
Ao, who made the contracted weight bang on, was the slight betting favourite courtesy of home advantage, early on however Salgado appeared to ignore the fans and got off to a really good start landing with solid shots on Ao. The Japanese fighter didn't buckle but it was clear he was going to be in a tough one and that Salgado wasn't in Japan to just make up the numbers, as some perhaps expected.
As the bout progressed Ao came on stronger with Salgado fading slightly in the later rounds, this gave Ao a chance to establish himself in the drivers seat to over-come the difficult start.
By the final bell it seemed that Ao had just nicked it though it though Salgado had put up a very gallant effort that could have won him the bout at home. Sadly for the Mexican he was away from home and as a result lost a relatively wide decision with scores of 98-92, 97-97 and 97-94. The cards didn't reflect the nature of the bout but were understandable in some ways with the home support well behind their man. For what it's worth 96-94 would likely have been the "fairest" score.
For Salgado this was his third bout in Japan and his first to go the distance. His first came around 5 years ago when he shocked Ao's stablemate Jorge Linares to claim the WBA Super Featherweight title his reign however was short and ended in Japan when he battled against Takashi Uchiyama, who stopped him in the 12th round of their fight and announced himself on the world stage.
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