Earlier today Japanese fans got their first televised card of the year, as Kadoebi Houseki put on a Dynamic Glove card, headlined by Kyotaro Fujimoto. Whilst the main event, an OPBF Heavyweight title fight, was the stand out bout the card did have two other bouts of note.
The first of those was a rematch between Japanese ranked Middleweights Shoma Fukumoto (10-1, 8) [福本 祥馬] and Kazuyuki Fukuyama (10-8, 3) [福山 和徹]. These two had fought back in January 2015, and that bout had been very competitive with Fukumoto doing just enough to deserve a majority decision. This time around however the judges weren't needed with Fukumoto seeing off his man in the 4th round. Fukumoto seemed to look like a more confidence fighter this time around and that showed from the opening seconds, he looked a better puncher, and dropped Fukuyama hard in round 4. Although Fukuyama rose to his feet following the knockdown he was stopped soon afterwards, as he crashed to the canvas for the second time.
The other bout was a really intriguing match up between a rising novice and a veteran former champion. The former champion was Akinori Watanabe (33-6, 28) [渡部あきのり], who had previously held PABA, JBC and OPBF titles, his opponent was the unbeaten and really promising Takeshi Inoue (8-0-1, 3) [井上 岳志].
From the opening round it looked like Inoue was out to make a statement and he twice hurt Watanabe in the first round, and had the bell not come when it did there is a chance Watanabe may have been dropped. Inoue went straight on the offensive in round 2 and started to bully Watanabe around the ring with a combination of intelligent boxing and physicality in the clinch. Watanabe had his moments but really struggled to get the respect of Inoue, despite the fact Watanabe is a genuine puncher.
In round 3 Watanabe had one of his best round as he fought fire with fire and was happy to punch back with Inoue. It was however having more of an effect on Watanabe than Inoue with Watanabe's face swelling around his eyes, with that swelling getting worse through the fight. Watanabe also had a solid 4th round, but then seemed to struggle as Inoue moved up a gear and neutralised the power of Watanabe whilst landing his own bombs, shots that would have dropped many of his fellow domestic fighters.
By the end of round 6 it seemed like Watanabe was too far behind to win and was more going to impress based on his bravery and toughness. Those traits allowed him to dig in deep in rounds 7 and 8 to see out the final bell, but he was thoroughly out worked in both of those rounds and was, at times, badly hurt with Inoue hunting a stoppage particularly in the final round.
Given how much of the bout Inoue had dominated there was little doubting the winner, with Inoue taking the unanimous decision courtesy of scorecards that read 78-74, 78-74 and 79-73.
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