Prior to 2011 very, very few people knew who Shinsuke Yamanaka was. In 2011 however Yamanaka took his chance to announce himself to the wider boxing public courtesy of 2 fights. The first of those was his thrilling victory over compatriot Ryosuke Iwasa which managed to become a bit of an internet hit with fans around the world and some put it up there as a FOTY contender.
The second was his world title winning effort against against Mexico's Christian Esquivel, a bout that saw both men competing for the previously vacant WBC Bantamweight title. This was the bout that showed Yamanaka was more than just a Japanese level fighter, in fact it was a bout that showed Yamanaka was a world class puncher with dynamite in his left hand, great timing and and understated knowledge of distance, something that is often forgotten about him. Yamanaka's thunderous power was first on show in round 6 when he dropped the Mexican very late in the round to secure a 10-8 round. Although Yamanaka himself was down the following round he never looked hurt, though Esquivel did, several times in the round.
In round 11 and whilst way up on the score cards Yamanaka went for the fan pleasing ending and managed to get it after dropping Esquivel for a second time in the round. Prior to the stoppage the Mexican looked in real trouble and Yamanka spotted it immediately. Since this win Yamanaka has proven his ability time and time again with numerous defences and is now regarded by many as the premier Bantamweight on the planet. For Esquiviel this has been 1 of 3 painful visits to Japan and he has since been stopped by Malcolm Tunacao and Shohei Omori.
(Video, which is in Spanish, is courtesy of Boxeo De Gala)
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