We have long felt that WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] is one of the most inconsistent world champions in the sport. When he's bad, as he has been in a number of recent fights, he's really poor. At other times however he looks sensational, with a great work rate, under-rated power with the skills to out box opponents and the physicality to bully them. Today he was great as he put on one of his best performance and breezed past mandatory challenger Robert Barrera (18-2, 12), who looked out of his depth for the most part.
Barrera actually started well, and had some success early in the bout, but that success wasn't enough to net him the round as Taguchi turned it on in the final minute and stole the round with his aggressive fighting and combinations. From then there always seemed to be a pattern of Barrera having moments, but ones that were easily forgotten as Taguchi answered back with vicious combinations, pinning Barrera on the ropes and really unloading to head and body.
It was the body shots of Taguchi that really took their toll, and more than once it looked like Barrera was breaking down, just from a the shots to the body. The challenger showed his toughness to stay in the bout, and in rounds 3 and 5 he had really some really good moments, but there was several times where he was forced to hold on just to survive.
As we moved in to the second half of the fight it began to look like the fight had been beaten out of the challenger, with rounds 6, 7 and 8 being very one sided in favour of Taguchi, who pinned the Colombian to the ropes numerous times.
Late in round 8 it looked like enough was enough, and that Barrera was staying in their on pride alone. Sadly for him the fight had been knocked out of him, but his mind refused to quit. The following round even the referee had seen enough, and waved the bout off after just 24 seconds of round 9.
The win for Taguchi moves him one step closer to a showdown with WBO champion Kosei Tanaka, in what looks like a done deal, if Tanaka is successful in his next defense in September. For Barrera this was a humbling defeat. He looked second best throughout, and it seemed very kind of the judges to to have this 78-74 on all 3 cards when the bout was stopped. It could easily have been a shut out, and there was at least one round where we could have seen a 10-8 in Taguchi's favour.
Whilst the challenger was tough, his skills never looked close to matching those of Taguchi, who was due a good performance after taking a draw in a poor performance last time out.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
World Title Results
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