Last year we saw youngster Retsu Akabane [赤羽根 烈] (4-2, 2) reach the All Japan Rookie of the Year final at Minimumweight losing to the talented Yuga Inoue. We also saw Kento Yabusaki (6-2-1, 4) [薮﨑 賢人] on the same Rookie of the Year card, and he came up short in the Flyweight final to Joe Shiraishi. Today they faced off, with Akabane moving up to Flyweight to take on Yabusaki in a brilliant all-southpaw match up.
The fight started at a great tempo, and it seemed like Akabane was the bigger puncher, finding a home for stiff straight left hands, though Yabusaki did have moments, including a brilliant uppercut in the opening round. The second round saw Yabusaki look to pick up the pace, and he seemed to out land Akabane but it was against a round that Akabane seemed to land the better shots.
In round 3 Akabane came out with bad intentions and tried to back up Yabusaki and up the pace. It came at a cost however and the two began to trade as Yabusaki tried to avoid being trapped on the ropes, his shots landed cleanly and seemed to daze Akabane who couldn't avoid a clean and hurtful straight left hand that dropped him. Akabane got back to his feet but was hurt again moments later as his team through in the towel.
For Akabane this will be a set back, but at the age of 19 he has time to rebuild, for Yabusaki however this is a great win and we expect to see a lot more of the 21 year old, as he continues to build on his successes since the Rookie of the Year set back.
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