WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13) successfully recorded the first defence of his title earlier today as he fought to a split decision draw with Dominican slickster Norberto Jimenez (20-8-4, 10). The bout, Kono's first since stopping Denkaosan Kaovichit back in March, saw him defending a world title successfully for the first time, though it has had to come in his second reign.
The “Tough Boy” from Tokyo was forced to chase the faster moving Jimenez around the ring for the most part with the speedy youngster living up to his reputation as a mover, a shaker and a dancer. The movement seem to trouble Kono more than the punches of the challenger though unfortunately the speed difference really help prevent a tear up, though damage was done in the second round with the challenger being cut over the right eye.
Kono's pressing and pressuring began to have success in round 4 though Jimenez managed to answer back with uppercuts of his own, it was however a sign that Kono could cut the distance. He did the same in round 6 as he managed land his powerful right straight though the telling blow in the round was a low blow from Jimenez which saw him being deducted a point.
Through the later middle rounds Jimenez seemed to get back on on his bike and generate the space he needed to get his shots off with out risking himself too much. It was a tactic he knew worked and that's exactly what it did here as he managed to collect a few much needed rounds and slow down the charge of the champion.
The champion continued to try and finish off the challenger in the final rounds but was unable to land the punches needed to stop the Dominican who had a break out performance in some ways though also made himself some enemies with what was at times a performance more about moving than fighting.
At the end the cards were a bit all over the place though the deciding card was the 114-114 that resulted ina draw, an odd card given the point deduction
Sadly for Kono this paints a big bullseye on his back, he is a champion there for the taking, a title that many in the division will view as being easy to win. Of course he's not a poor fighter but he's certainly a beatable one and we'd not be shocked if Hideyuki Ohashi pulled out the stops to get a fight between Kono and either Ryo Matsumoto or Naoya Inoue made for 2015, if Koki Kameda decides to "go another route" now he's fighting in the US.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.