It's fair to say that 2015 has been a very good one for the Watanabe gym. They started the year with 3 champions and have ended the year with 3 champions, as well as the 2015 Eddie Townsend Award winner and have seen their fighters go 5-0 in world title fights.
One of their final world title fights of the year saw WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (23-2-1, 10) dig deep to force 9th round retirement of Colombian challenger Luis de la Rosa (24-6-1, 14).
The challenger got off to the perfect start, forcing the pace and tempo of the fight. Not only was de la Rosa forcing the action but he was getting better of it and making Taguchi look very uncomfortable with what was an all out bombardment from the challenger. It was the type of effort we weren't expecting from de la Rosa and it seemed like Taguchi hadn't expected it either.
After the slow start by the champion he began to slowly work his way into the contest and by the middle rounds he was beginning to get back into the fight by fighting fire with fire. It made for some great action though it was a risky strategy that saw Taguchi depend more on his toughness than his boxing ability.
By round 7 de la Rosa was beginning to slow notably but continued to try and force the champion to fight the wrong fight. That however was the start of the end for de la Rosa who unable to land with the ease that he had earlier and now it was Taguchi letting the shots go and landing as and when he wished. That saw Taguchi dominate round 8 and take round 9 as de la Rosa began to break down. The challenger seemed to know that he was on the way out and in round 9 stayed in his corner, retiring from the bout.
At the time of the stoppage de la Rosa was leading on two of the cards, with scores of 87-84 and 86-85, whilst Taguchi was remarkably 87-84 on the other card, the fight however was turning quickly against de la Rosa who likely knew his best chance had gone.
For Taguchi the intention for 2016 seems to be a unification bout with either IBF champion Akira Yaegashi or WBC champion Yu Kimura. Both of those bouts are makable and both would be very interesting and very different types of bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
World Title Results
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