Over the last few years we've seen Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22) make a name for himself as a Mexicutioner as he defeated a string of Mexican opponents, such as Gamaliel Diaz, Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon and Edgar Puerta. This past Saturday he tried to continue to build his reputation though, sadly, came up short in a brilliant bout with another Mexican, Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17). The loss was not only Miura's first to a Mexican but also saw him lose the WBC Super Featherweight title, though despite the loss he built on his fanbase and has seemingly became a man that Western fight fans have finally woke up to.
The bout actually started horribly for Miura who was rocked to his core from a hard right hand from Vargas. At that point it seemed almost certain that Miura wasn't going to last long and in fact he was only held up by sheer bloody mindedness. Sadly for the defending champion he was unable to avoid Vargas's right hand and it seemed like a very early night was on the cards.
Vargas's success in the opening round grew and in round 2 he again seemed to be unable to miss Miura who's most notable response was left hands to the body.
It wasn't until round 3 that we began to see Miura finally find his way into the bout, and although his much vaunted power didn't seem to hurt Vargas during the round it was clear that Miura was coming back into it, and was beginning to find his groove.
It was in round 4 that we finally saw the explosive power of Miura in all it's beauty as he dropped Vargas hard, and split his eye. It was a round that saw Miura at his best and it was a round that really acted as a wake up call for Vargas, and the fans, who had perhaps not realised just how hard Miura really punches.
The success from round 4 saw Miura start the following round fast, as if he could smell the blood that was on Vargas's face. Sadly though the Japanese fighter seemed to get over-excited at times and was too intent on loading up rather than using his ability to set up the left hand. As a result Vargas got the time he needed to recover and by the end of the round it was Vargas who was looking the better man again.
The 6th round was one of the most competitive though seemed to show Vargas outworking Miura, who again focused on loading up. Whilst Miura did have some success, especially to the body, he didn't seem to do enough to re-establish the control he had had earlier on. In fact it seemed like Miura was too focused on the knock out and was defensively naive at times, being forced to eat shots whilst trying to land his left.
Despite not looking his best in round 6 Miura was back on top in round 7 and by the end of the round it seemed the end was nigh with Vargas's left eye swelling shut due to the heavy shots that Miura was landing. It was clear that it Miura's power that was the Japanese fighter's key weapon and that Vargas was the better boxer, but the power had made Vargas very wary, and despite the wariness he was being tagged by a lot of clean lefts.
It was a clean left near the end of round 8 that rocked Vargas to his core. A follow up attack seemed to have Vargas in all sorts of trouble before the bell saved the Mexican fighter who genuinely looked spent. The fight looked in the bag for Miura who was expecting to come out for round 9 and finish what he had started before the bell. Instead however it was Vargas with the fast start and a right hand early in the 9th dropped Miura. Sadly it was the start of the end, and although Miura got to his feet, and did his best to survive, he was unable to keep Vargas off him eventually forcing the referee to step in and save the gutsy Japanese fighter.
Since he bout we've seen fans from Europe and the US describe it as a FOTY contender, high praise indeed, whilst news from Japan has suggested that Miura's camp are hoping to secure a rematch for 2016. If a rematch is indeed made we suspect fans will be more hyped it than they were for this first meeting, which was described by some as a bout for boxing hipsters, though turned out to be one of the fights of the year.
(Image courtesy of GBP)
World Title Results
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