Earlier today Japanese fight fans in Kyoto saw the WBO Atomweight title change hands, as veteran Nao Ikeyama (18-4-3, 5) [池山直] was dethroned by the unheralded Mika Iwakawa (8-5-1, 3) [岩川美花] in a thrilling 10 round war.
The 48 year old champion, who had held the title for more than 4 years, was expected to secure her 7th defense and score her second win over Iwakawa. Instead however Iwakawa came out on top of a pulsating back and forth battle that left fans knowing the two fighters had given their all.
Iwakawa got off to a good start, taking the opening round with her work rate, in the second Ikeyama came back managing to control the distance slightly better before the fight just became an all out, tit-for-tat battle of attrition.
The difference between the two seemed to be the variation of Iwakawa, who effectively switched her stances in round 4, and gave Ikeyama a lot to think about then showed her defense a few rounds later when Ikeyama tried to take control of the action, and she did rock Iwakawa who bounced back and recovered amazingly well
With neither giving an inch the crowd were on their feet in the final round as the two fighters delivered the grandstand finale. Sadly for Ikeyama however it wasn't to be enough, with Iwakawa taking a split decision, with two cards of 96-94 in her favour whilst the dissenting judge had it 96-94 in favour of Ikeyama.
After the bout Ikeyama made it clear she would be retiring, but wanted to stay involved in the sport making it sound like she would either work at, or set up, a gym. As for the new champion she spoke about wanting to unify titles and inherit the strength of Ikeyama, who's late career surge really was impressive.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Okinawa fight fans saw WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] successfully defend her title for the first time.
The champion, who won the belt earlier this year when she stopped Chaoz Minowa, was going up against Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-10, 6) and the size difference between the two was obvious at the weigh in.
The first round was a good one from Abanilel, who looked busy and fast whilst Tsunami walked forward looking to cut the disrance. Sadly though for the challenger her success was short lived and in round 2 Tsunami managed to cut the distance and land some damaging body shots which started to take their toll on the challenger, who slowed round by round.
After becoming less and less fluid in rounds 2 and 3 Abaniel was starting to hold her feet more and struggled to get away. In round 4 she ended up trapped against the ropes and Tsunami began to unload until the referee stepped in and saved the challenger.
Abaniel really lacked the size and strength to cope with Tsunami and it was clear that he claim of moving into a better division was wrong. For her the future must be at either 102lbs or 105lbs. For Tsunami however this was a great win and great showing for the local fans in Okinawa, where Tsunami hadn't fought in years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Korea fight fans had the chance to see WBA female Super -Featherweight Hyun Mi Choi (16-0-1, 4) [최현미] record her 6th defense, as she easily out-boxed Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-8, 4).
Choi, who boasted a 7cm reach advantage, boxed on the outside and made the most of her sharp jab and accurate straight right hands. The shots from Choi began to take their toll on the challenger as early as the third round with Gomez's face beginning to bruise and swell.
What made things even easier tor Choi was the style of Gomez, which seemed to be based on creating space, the same space that Choi could use to make the most of her natural size advantages. Whilst Gome was struggling to land, and looking really uncomfortably Choi looked happy, smiling at times in the corner and looked incredibly relaxed.
As the bout went on Choi picked up her work rate whilst Gomez became more and more apprehensive, looking to avoided trading shots. It made for a really poor challenge from the Argentinian but Choi couldn't have asked for a more straightward win as she seemed to comfortably win every round.
After the bout a sporting Gomez paraded Choi to the crowd, knowing the local had been the better fighter, before randomly climbing the corner and celebrating, likely patting herself on the back for lasting the 10 round distance.
Choi, who won a WBA female Featherweight title on debut, won't enhance her reputation with this win, but will continue her reign and will likely be asking her team to get her a more serious test for next time out. For Gomez this is her third straight loss, and sees her fall to 0-3 in world title fights.