Yamada's retirement left the title vacant. Earlier today saw that vacancy filled as Japan's Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (6-1-1, 3) took a split decision over Gretchen Abaniel (15-6, 6).
The fight saw Abaniel intensely coming forward though Ikehara did well to unload her shots in a very active contest that saw both women unloading shots. The bout's all action back and forth saw both giving as good as they got in most rounds though in round 8 Ikehara made her size and power count.
The power and strength of Ikehara seemed to be enough to take the decision though unexpectedly the bout was ruled a split decision with scores of 98-92 and 97-93 both in favour of Ikehara whilst the third, the dissenting voice, gave the bout to Abaniel with a card of 96-94 for the Filipino. What made these cards a little bit strange is, from what we understand, the one judge who scored it to Abaniel was Japanese judge Katsuhiko Nakamura whilst Filipino judge Salven Lagumbay actually scored the bout for Ikehara. The one neutral judge came from Thailand.
For Ikehara this was a crowning glory of her career and saw her becoming a world champion at the first time of trying. She isn't the fighter Yamada was but still winning a world title is a great achievement. As for Abaniel this is her second world title defeat in Japan inside a year. She's not at the end of the line though she will perhaps realise that she needs to stay at Atomweight, where she has fought in the past, and needs to pick an easier mark for her next bout.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)