Today there was two world title fights in Osaka, as the boxing world turned it's attention to Japan. What wasn't given much attention however was a Japanese card in Tokyo, headlined by a female world title bout between WBA female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] and Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ].
This was a bout that seemed to be pitting two of the greats of Japanese female boxing against other, and delivered the hidden gem of the week with an incredibly hotly contest 10 round affair at Korakuen Hall.
The younger, though more experienced, Tsunami got off to a great start. She managed to dictate the pace, using a good sharp right hand to help her dictate the distance and tempo of the bout in the early going. It was this game plan that saw her race into the lead on all 3 cards, leading 40-37 and 40-36, twice, after 4 rounds. She was making Fujioka look old, slow and clumsy, and putting on the sort of performance that many knew she was capable of, but hadn't shown on a regular basis.
As we've seen so many times through her career however Fujioka wasn't going to just sit back, hand over her title and lose. Instead she bit down on her gum shield, refuse to accept defeat, and began to turn the fight around in round 5, then starting a serious fight back, clawing back round after round. She showedthe determined doggendess of a champion and forced the action on to Tsunami, upping her out put and grabbing the bout by the collar. The change in attitude from Fujioka was incredible, and saw her doing just enough to retain he title, with a split decision draw.
After 10 rounds the judges had the bout 96-95 Fujioka, 96-94 Tsunami and 95-95, with Fujioka holding on to her title by the skin of her teeth, in a fantastic 10 round female bout, that certainy deserved more attention than it got on a great day for Japanese fight fans.
(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 fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese amateur standout Chaoz Minowa (5-1, 4) [チャオズ箕輪] take a huge step up in class, as she took on former WBA female Super Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14) [天海 ツナミ], and found herself floundering in a bout for the WBO female Light Flyweight title.
The novice was aggressive form the opening bell, something she has typically been since starting her professional career. The aggression was effective early on, and caught the judges' eyes in the first two rounds but as she began to slow the experience of Tsunami began to show, as she moved around the ring and picked Minowa off with good counters.
The shots of Tsunami megan to land with more damaging intentions and she would give Minowa a nasty cut over her right eye in the middle of the fight. It wasn't a fight ending cut, but it was one that Minowa never really recovered from. Instead Tsunami stepped up her work rate, landing jabs and straights at will and making Minowa look like a novice as she chased her foe around the ring, only to get tagged.
After a really 1-sided 8th round in favour of Tsunami the decision was made in Minowa's corner to pull their fighter from the contest. It was an admission of defeat, and humbling one for Minowa, who had promised much but really look out of her depth. For Tsunami the win see's her becoming a 2-weight world champion and she is now looking to further establish her career, which sh may well have saved with today's win,
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Japan's Tenkai Tsunami (21-11, 10) really is a road warrior and that was seen again late on Saturday as she traveled to Chile, getting another new stamp on her passport, to face local star Carolina Rodriguez (15-0, 1) in a bout for Rodriguez's IBF female Bantamweight title. On paper it looked a mismatch, and on the scorecards afterwards it also looked like a mismatch. In reality however it was a competitive, and fun bout that saw both women engaging in a memorable and exciting bout.
Early on it did look a bit one sided with Rodriguez taking control with her razor like jab, sharp combinations and excellent movement. By the middle rounds however things were becoming more and more competitive with Tsunami landing some solid right hands. It seemed however that whilst the rounds were competitive, and that Tsunami was landing the more solid shots, Rodriguez was winning the rounds on work rate with her working coming from her exceptional jab.
Tsunami, as we've seen in the past, didn't know when she was beaten and in round 8 she moved up a gear and managed to drive Rodriguez to the ropes where she had some notable success. Rodriguez, to her credit, got herself safe and returned fire though it was clear tat Tsunami was coming on strong and looking to take a slowing Rodriguez out down the stretch.
In round 10 we again saw Tsunami move up a gear and from the bell she swiftly forced Rodriguez on to the ropes where the two fighters traded shots before Rodriguez escapes. Moments later the champion was up against another rope with the two fighters again throwing leather at each other. Before the round was over they had traded shots all over the ring in what was the fights stand out round. Unfortunately for Tsunami it was too little too late.
When it came to the decision there was no real drama. There had been competitive action, but on the whole it was Rodriguez coming out on top. That was shown on the cards which had the bout 100-91, 99-91 and 98-92 in favour of the Chilean world champion, who fully deserved the win.
Whilst the main action today was the two world title fights there was also two non-title fights. These contests saw former world champion Tenkai Tsunami (19-8, 8) quickly blowing aside the over-matched Filipino Leslie Domingo (4-2-1, 3).
The 19 year old Domingo was simply no match for Tsunami who was too strong, too skilled and too experienced. Saying that though there were doubts about Tsunami going in to this contest with the former WBA Super Flyweight champion having lost her last 5 bouts.
On the same show Emika Himuro (3-1-1, 1) fought to a 6 round draw with Kai Johnson (3-5-3). This was the first bout for either woman in over a year.