Over the last few years we have seen Japanese gym Watanabe almost crumble with all of their most established fighters either retiring or suffering notable defeats. The gym, which boasted 3 world champions this time last year, has sadly been hit by loss after loss after their president, Hitoshi Watanabe, became the leading figure at the JPBA.
Today they narrowly escaped another notable loss as WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-2, 11) [田口 良一] just retained his title with a split decision draw against little known Venezuelan Carlos Canizales (16-0-1, 13).
Taguchi had entered the bout as the clear betting favourite, in fact it seemed that almost everyone had viewed the bout as a foregone conclusion despite Canizales warning that Taguchi had picked the wrong opponent. Canizales looked to prove that from the off as he attacked the champion from the opening round and established that he wasn't there to make up the numbers and was a real threat as he kept pressing forward and quickly backed up Taguchi.
Taguchi tried to turn things around but couldn't halt the march of Canizales in the early stages and every time Taguchi had any success Canizales swarmed him, preventing taguchi from every really getting any momentum.
The good start from the challenger couldn't be kept up, especially at the rate he was firing off shots, and in the middle rounds he began to slow, letting Taguchi have more success and claw his way back into the bout with some notable body shots. In round 8 Taguchi finally had a break through, with the crowd cheering him loudly and driving him on to turn things around, with the champion building on his success in round 9 with his jab landing on the face of the challenger.
In round 10 it seemed like Taguchi was finally starting to break down the challenger but he was unable to drop, or seriously hurt, Canizales who saw out the final two rounds with clinching and other spoiling tactics, likely feeling that his work early in the fight had been enough for him to take home the win.
At the final bell the scores were announced at 116-112, 112-116 and 114-114 giving us a split draw that both men will feel frustrated about, especially the challenger who seemed to cruise through some of the latter rounds rather than go for the finish
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.