Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典] defeat Shun Wakabayashi (9-4, 2) [若林駿] in eye catching fashion.
The fight started with Wakabayashi boxing brilliantly. He was fully aware of Ohashi's power and made sure to neutralise it with smart movement, using his jab and foot work to win the first 4 rounds with no problems at all. It looked less like Ohashi was a former champion and more than he was a crude domestic journeyman, hoping that Wakabayashi would make a mistake.
Ohashi, who lost the national title last year to Taiki Minamoto, was following Wakabayashi around the ring. He was being reactive to Wakabayashi's movements, rather than cutting off the ring or being proactive and this clearly cost him the first 4 rounds.
In round 5 the judges finally gave Ohashi a round. It did however seem like Wakabayashi was almost taking the round off whilst Ohashi was stepping up his out put and connecting with his jab. Despite Ohashi looking good in round 5 he didn't really shine in rounds 6. He was better than he had been but wasn't looking particularly sharp, accurate or destructive.
When you are blessed with lights out power looking and winning rounds isn't needed and that was shown in round 7, when Ohashi's heavy hands bailed him out, ending the fight with a truly brilliant uppercut. The shot left Wakabayashi flat on his back, and undid all his good work, forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
Following the bout Ohashi spoke about wanting to fight for title, though on this performance that probably wouldn't be the best idea right now, given how strong the Featherweight and Super Featherweight title scenes are in Japan, and the wider Asian scene.
For Wakabayashi this will be a loss that's hard to swallow. He looked so good, so talented and was in control, despite being cut in round 5. He showed what he could do, but had all his good work erased and will be wondering what went wrong, and what he could have done to avoid Ohashi's uppercut, and today's loss.
If you're a fan wanting to watch this bout, it is now available on boxing raise.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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