Takayama, defending the IBF belt for the second time, was facing former Tanaka foe Ryuji Hara (19-2, 11) and managed to score an 8th round TKO over Hara, who started well but came apart when Takayama upped the pace and showed his ability to go through the gears.
Early on it was Hara with success. He landed a number of solid body shots on to the champion and also managed to re-open a cut over Takayama's left eye, an injury that has been a recurring one in the champions illustrious career. The cut however seemed to spur Takayama on and in round the champion began to up the pace, when he did that Hara struggled to stay with him with a left hook late in the round being just one a number of solid signs that the bout was changing.
In round 5 the bout was becoming more dominated by Takayama, who was in complete control by the end of round 7. Then it seemed only a matter of time with Hara eventually being saved by the referee in round 8.
Following the bout Tanaka challenged the champion and it now looks like a New Year's Eve bout between the two men is likely barring the WBO ordering a mandatory for Tanaka before then.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)