In their ring walks Kubo looked like a nervous child, a man taking a massive step into the unknown and moving into world class for the first time. Cermeno on the other hand looked calm, calculated and relaxed. Like a man who had been here and done this before. Despite their ring walks it was Kubo who got off to a good start, boxing at his tempo and cautiously picking Cermeno apart with accurate left hands to the head and body of the defending champion. Cermeno looked old and slow during the round, but refused to just hand over his title, and in round 2 the visitor had some genuine moments.
The challenger reasserted himself with a very good round 3, as he out sped, out boxed and out landed the champion, who took some meaty body shots from the patient and cautious challenger. It was the perfect round from Kubo but one that may have left him with a false sense of security with Cermeno upping his pressure in round 4 and giving Kubo a scare or two, despite the fact that Cermeno suffered a notable cut on his right cheek, a result of the straight left hands Kubo was landing. The round was a close one,and one that showed Cermeno was dangerous, despite being behind on the cards.
Kubo took back total control in round 5, as he used his speed and size to land at range on Cermeno, who looked like an old man in there. Although Kubo was the boss Cermeno landed a right hand late in the round to remind Kubo that he was still there. Kubo'sclean accurate punching was again on show in round 6, as he landed some devastating body shots, seemingly hurting Cermeno at one point. Although Kubo landed the better shots through the round Cermeno managed to end the round with some success as he began to force a brawl on Kubo.
Although well behind on the cards there was a sense that Cermeno was a dangerous fighter. That proved to be the case in round 7 when he gave everyone a serious scare. Part way through the round he seriously shook up Kubo with a right hand. The challenger tried to hold and spoil but was eventually dropped as Cermeno went for the challenger. Kubo got to his feet but was hurt again in the final seconds of the round and it suddenly seemed like Kubo's great work was going to come un-done.
Thankfully for the challenger he managed to hear the bell to end the round, though he did come out for round 8 looking unsure of himself and it took much of the round before he managed to reassert himself on the fight. When he did finally refind his feet however Kubo looked just as confident as he had earlier in the fight,and was bouyed further by a loud "Kubo" chant. The chant helped Kubo re-energise but Cermeno still seemed to feel he had a chance and had s respectable round 9.
Cermeno, surely aware that he was behind on the cards, came out for round 10 in an aggressive fashion and seemed to be sent out with a mission. It was a good round for the veteran, and one where he again seemed to hurt the challenger, but Kubo showed his mettle and came through the slight scare to have some success late in the round, possibly stealing the round.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed like we still had a finely balanced fight. Kubo was surely well up on the score cards, but Cermeno had hurt him more than once and looked to be a veteran with the ability to turn it on late. Surprisingly however Cermeno stayed in his corner after the bell to start round 11, technically retiring 5 seconds into the round to hand Kubo the title!
For Cermeno the retirement likely spells the end of his long career. For Kubo it puts him in the mix for major bouts down the line as the champion, and also sees him adding his name to the top Japanese fighters in a division packed with fighters from the Land of the Rising sun. A match up against IBF champion Yukinori Oguni may well be considered, but bouts against the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Tomoki Kameda, Shingo Wake and Yusaku Kuga will all be plausible all-Japanese bouts. Likewise a show down with the winner of the upcoming Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Moises Flores bout could also be an interesting assignment for Kubo. The win also sees Kubo moving one step further to becoming he Shinsei gym replacement for Hozumi Hasegawa, who retired late last year.