Early on the bout was a battle of high level boxing with both men trying to establish their jabs. The better shots were from the challenger who seemed to land at a notably higher rate though it was during these early stages that Yamanaka was landing the heavier shots. For 4 rounds the two men were essentially cancelling each other out with high level boxing and trading of jabs.
The WBC rules, that were in effect, had the bout edge to Yamanaka after 4 rounds with the champion leading by a score of 39-37 on two of the cards whilst the third had the bout even. At this point it was relatively difficult to argue either way with the bout being incredibly close up to that point, though perhaps having 10-10 rounds would have reflected things a little bit more accurately than the typical 10-9 rounds.
The open scoring seemed to spur on Moreno who came on strong in round 5 as the bout picked up pace. It was another highly competitive round but one that seemed to be in Moreno's favour with the slipper Panamanian managing to avoid the bigger shots from Yamanaka whilst landing his left hand. The round saw both men change their tactic with Yamanaka getting on the move whilst Moreno became more aggressive. The success in round 5 was built on by Moreno who seemed to clearly with round 6 with the same tactic of pushing Yamanaka back and forcing the action in what was another good round for the challenger.
The challengers success was halted in round 7 as Yamanaka began to actually land his much vaunted left hand. It was another round that could have gone either way, with Moreno landing plenty of shots himself, but it seemed like Yamanaka could have made enough of a case to get, especially at home. Despite the respite of some success in round 7 Yamanaka really struggled in round 8 and showed some clear frustration, at one point pushing Moreno down. It was clear that whilst a lot of the action was close it was Moreno who was in the ascendency and was managing to get into the head of the local fighter.
The scorecards after 8 rounds were again read out and this time they had changed notably with Moreno leading on one cards, 77-75, and level on the other two, with a score of 76-76.
Moreno's success continued in round 9, his most dominant round of the fight. The challenger rocked Yamanaka and seemed to be looking for the finish before he got caught by a left hand and started to show more respect to the still dangerous champion. Despite Yamanaka earning Moreno's respect it was a very clear round for the challenger, who seemed to have gone into the lead on all 3 cards.
Yamanaka, knowing he was down, went out for round 10 with the intention of getting a KO and he was very left hand happy, almost “spamming” the punch. It was a successful tactic for the champion who seemed to hurt Moreno for the first time in the fight. The challenger, realising the danger that was still in front of him, was happy to hold and see out the storm. The same storm however came again in round 11 as Yamanaka continued to hunt the KO, and almost got dropped himself during a wild exchange that saw his knees buckle but his hands and ass stay off the canvas, had a knockdown been scored that would likely have swung a 10-9 Yamanaka round to a 10-8 Moreno round and made the bout Moreno's almost by default.
With Yamanaka having seemingly got his nose in the lead on two of the scorecards it was all to play for in round 12. The round was a tricky one with both men looking tired though it seemed that Yamanaka, who had put a lot into the previous 6 minutes, was the more tired and it seemed that Moreno just managed to take the round, which was mired in clinches.
Looking at the open scoring from round 8 it seemed that the cards were likely to be declared a majority draw with with 114-114, 114-114 and 116-112. The judges however saw something different and seemingly gave Yamanaka the all important 12th round to give him a split decision with scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115, all from American judges.
The decision was met with some anger online and Chemito also seemed to feel disgusted with the result. Given the result we wouldn't be shocked to hear talk of a rematch, possibly in 2016, though we could see Moreno declining the fight if it was to be held in Japan again.
For Moreno this is a second set back, and one that will hurt just as bad as his previous loss, a controversial technical decision to Juan Carlos Payano. For Yamanaka it was a headache and easily the toughest bout of his career. The next step for both will be interesting and could either see a rematch, to “right the wrong”, it could see both men go their own way, with a move to Super Bantamweight for Yamanaka being one that seems to make sense even if it's not been spoken about too much recently.