Many boxing fans tend to ignore two things. Female boxing, and boxing at the lower weights. Despite that Japanese fans on Thursday got a genuinely brilliant treat as females fighters at 102lbs, the Atomweight limit, fought in a thrilling contest to unify the WBC and WBA titles. The bout, the first unification bout in the divisions history, turned out to be probably the best fight the division has ever seen and a fight that really did sum up everything great about our fantastic sport.
From the first round to the last we saw high level competition as long reigning WBC queen Momo Koseki (21-2-1, 7) took on the fearless Ayaka Miyao (20-6-1, 4), who unfortunately lost her WBA belt despite the performance o a life time.
The fight started fast, neither had great power but they had the fire and will to win that drove them immediately to action. The pace was intense and hectic and although neither was hurt Miyao did score a knockdown in the openign round, albeit one that appeared to be a slip. The knaockdown encouraged the fighters to really go for it and in round 2 Koseki began to bleed from her nose. It was the perfect start for Miyao.
In round 3 it Koseki who began to have the momentum swing her way and by the end of round 5, when the scores were publicly announced, the early knockdown had been cancelled out with the two women being all level at 47-47, on all 3 cards.
Unfortunately for Miyao that was as good as it got as an aggressive Koseki brought the pressure and forced Miyao on to the retreat, where she was less effective than she had been earlier on. Whilst Miyao did have her successes they were out numbered by those of Koseki who did enough in the second half to secure a clear, but very hard fought, win.
The win, which saw the judges turning in cards of 96-96, twice and 95-94, was one of the toughest of Koseki's career and saw both fighters coming away with real credit and if a rematch occurred in early 2016, after a good rest for both fighters, we'd certainly not complain.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)