The bout saw #1 ranked Japanese fighter Yukinori Oguni (14-1, 4), a former OPBF champion, battling against #2 ranked fighter Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-8, 7), a man best know for his fights in Macau against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Chris Avalos.
Given the styles of the men involved we had suspected this was going to be close from the onset. What we didn't expect was for it to be as close as it was with neither man ever managing to really assert control of the bout which swung slightly from one way to the other.
The opening round seemed to be Oguni's with his before Ishimoto got going in a very competitive second round. The third so Ishimoto moving up gear to take the round before Oguni came back into the fight and seemed to take round 4 before cutting Ishimoto in a close 5th round. When the open scoring was announced their was no real complaints about the cards which were split at 48-47, 48-47 and 47-48, favouring Oguni narrowly.
Knowing he was slightly behind Ishimoto tried to pick up the pace in the second half of the fight. When he did this Oguni decided to fight fire with fire as the two exchanged sharp though light shots in some exciting and fiercely competitive exchanges. It was hard to split the men in these final 5 rounds with the only clear thing being that they had been very close.
Unfortunately for Ishimoto they hadn't been close enough for him to over-turn the scorecards from the middle of the fight and instead the Teiken fighter lost with cards of 96-94, 96-94 and 96-95 all in favour of Oguni who becomes a title holder for the second time in his career.
For Ishimoto there will be questions regarding his future, though after the effort he put in here he shouldn't feel too disheartened and could easily come again with another shot at the belt sometime in 2015. The future for Oguni however looks very exciting and there appears a good chance that he'll climb into the top 10 with the WBC and the top 15 with the IBF, giving him a real opportunity to work towards a world title fight with someone like Carl Frampton or Leo Santa Cruz. Sadly his lack of power will likely prevent him from beating either of those champions but it would still be fantastic to see the talented youngster competing at that level one day.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)