In the second Japanese title fight of the day we saw a notable upset as Takayuki Hosokawa (25-10-3, 8) managed to take a narrow majority decision over the legendary Tadashi Yuba (45-9-3, 32) and claim the Japanese Light Middleweight title in the process.
Hosokawa was making his third national title challenge after having previously been stopped by both Makoto Fuchigami and Akio Shibata. This time Hosokawa refused to come up short and made the most of his 8 year youth advantage as he moved quickly, used his accurate jab and did all he could to unsettle the champion's rhythm.
Yuba, to his credit, tried to use his experience and size advantage to neutralise Hosokawa's work but the champion wasn't as quick as he once was and he found Hosokawa slipping his jab through the guard regularly.
The early work of Hosokawa's was well rewarded with two of the judges having the challenger up 49-46 after 5 rounds. The open scoring seemed to give Yuba a kick up the backside and he tried his best to fight back, despite a cut near his eye.
Despite Yuba stepping on the guy he was unable to over-turn the score cards with Hosokawa remaining focused enough ensure his victory, albeit narrowly with scores of 97-93,96-94,95-95.
This saw Yuba losing his title in just his second defense and ended his 6th reign as a Japanese champion. Aged 37 it may well be time for him to hang them up. He has already solidified his place in history as Japan's first ever 5-weight national champion and he has very little left to actually give the sport. Sure he may be addicted to the sport, afterall he has been a professional for 18 years, though maybe he could pass on what he has learned rather than continue on looking for yet another title.
For Hosokawa this was a crowning achievement to his career. We sort of want to see him challenge the winner of the upcoming OPBF title bout between Koji Numata v Takehiro Shimokawara in an all Japanese unification bout. It's the logical bout though may be one he will wish to avoid just to savour his national title rather than risking it.
(Picture courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp, shows Hosokawa landing his jab on Yuba)
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