Earlier today Japanese fans got a rare all Japanese world title bout for the WBA Light Flyweight title. The bout resulted in defending champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11) [田口良一] recording the 4th defense of his belt as he took a wide, but fun to watch, decision over former WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki (24-2-3, 15) [宮崎 亮].
The bout, the main event of the Watanabe promoted show in Tokyo, had been highly anticipated inside of Japan
The fight started cautiously with both men looking to establish their jab, that was of course a style better suited to the much taller Taguchi who quickly found a right for his jab and looked to follow with straights. Miyazaki, to his credit, got through with some jabs of his own and used his guard well. The fight quickly began to warm up and in round both managed to find success with their power hand, but it was clear that Taguchi's shots had more sting on them and that he was in control of the action.
Taguchi's control over the bout tightened in rounds 3 and 4 and although Miyazaki was finding success he always seemed to be a step behind the champion who was starting to force the issue more frequently. There were some good counters from Miyazaki but they never seemed to really trouble the champion who usually had the last word in an exchange.
In round 5 the crowd picked up, chanting the names of the men, whilst the pace raised slightly. The two men continued to fight at mid range, taking their turns to try and open up the other's guard and unload more telling shots. The pace increased again in round 6 as they began to close the gap and lets shots go up close, with Taguchi's right uppercut being particularly effective and causing Miyazaki to come off second best.
The success of round 6 saw Taguchi continue to push the action as Miyazaki began to look like a man needing time to think of a back up plan. Whilst Miyazaki was thinking Taguchi was working landing the straight right and left hooks on the challenger. Miyazaki tried to turned things around in round 8 and had his moments but couldn't avoid the uppercuts coming back as he unleashed his own shots in an action packed round. Miyazaki tried to again cut the distance in the following round but took some spiteful body shots and got tagged hard around the right eye as Taguchi resumed control of the fight.
Going in to the later rounds it was clear that Miyazaki had a lot of rounds to make up whilst Taguchi could cruise to his 4th defense. Despite being able to cruise Taguchi stayed sharp and continued to try and control the pace, and landed plenty of solid hooks. In credit to Miyazaki however he wasn't willing to just give up and landed a nasty right hand hand at the end of round 10. Unfortunately for the challenger the shot came too late to allow him to build on it and in round 11 it seemed his right eye was bothering him.
Despite being well behind and in discomfort from his eye Miyazaki gave his all in round 12, knowing it was now or never. It was however a case of needing a KO that he was never to going to get against someone as tough and resilient as Taguchi.
At the end of 12 rounds everyone knew Taguchi had retained and the scorecards agreed with scores of 116-112,117-111 and 119-109 in favour of the defending champion.
Taguchi will likely return at the end of the year in the next defense of his title, and he's stated he wants to face a top fighter next. Although Miyazaki was a mandatory he had, in fairness, done very little to deserve the mandatory position. As a result we could see Taguchi in an interesting bout before the year is over. Sadly though Watanabe may look to protect him given that he's their only current world champion.
For Miyazaki the result probably shows that he's not a world class Light Flyweight, however bouts with more stylistically well matched fighters, for example Akira Yaegashi, would certainly make for a competitive bout than this one, with Taguchi seemingly too big and too good for the Ioka man.
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.