Kimura, who narrowly won the title earlier this year with a debated victory over Kenichi Horikawa, was fighting the bigger, taller and harder hitting Yuki Chinen (14-2, 7) though made life look easy in arguably the best performance of his career.
Chinen went in to the bout with a reputation of being a heavy handed fighter. He had taken Ryan Bito out in 81 seconds last time out and looked good doing it. Unfortunately for the challenger that power did him no favours here as Kimura took his best shots and fired back.
The early part of the fight was competitive with Chinen having most of his success in the first few rounds. That success was reflected on the on the score cards after 5 rounds, which was when we had open scores issues. At this point the fight was in the balance with 2 of the judges scoring the bout 48-47 in favour of Kimura whilst the other judge had it 49-46. Unfortunately for Chinen his early successes vanished and in the second half of the fight he simply couldn't get past the defence of Kimura who was starting to control the tempo and range.
By round 10 it seemed like Chinen was a fading force and Kimura still had energy to burn. Rather than keeping that energy in reserve Kimura started to force the challenger back as if he was beginning to think of a stoppage. By that point there wasn't enough time to see of Chinen but the result was in no doubt and the scorecards reflected what everyone knew, Kimura had retained his title.
With scores of 99-91, 98-93 and 97-94 there is no argument that Kimura deserved the victory here though questions of "what next?" need to be asked. Does Kimura attempt to avenge his defeats at the hands of Ryoichi Taguchi and Shin Ono, does he go hunting for the OPBF title, currently held by Jonathan Taconing, or does he get ambitious and attempt to hunt a world title fight. At the moment Kimura holds top 15 rankings with the IBF, WBC and WBO. As for Chinen we're expecting a move up in weight, with his frame the 108lb division cannot be easy to make and he's probably sapping a lot out of himself by continuing to fight at the weight.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)