Earlier today fight fans in Hiroshima got a real war, as bloodied and bruised local Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] gritted his teeth to earn a controversial draw with Filipino youngster Rolly Sumalpong (10-2-2, 4).
On paper the bout didn't look likely to be anything great, but the paper doesn't fight and fans who knew about the actual fighters would have expected something exciting, and that's exactly what they got.
The fight started well for Itagaki, who uses his experience and speed early on, but things went down hill quickly for him with a cut around his left eye being opened in round 3 and then a second cut being opened around the same eye the following round. This lead to Itagaki fighting much of the bout with blood running down his left cheek.
Although drawing blood Sumalpong was unable to finish off Itagaki who finished the fight swinging and managed to do enough to get a split decision draw. Though one that hard cards all over the place. One judge had it even at 77-77, on judge had Sumalpong dominated at 79-74 whilst the other judge had it 78-75 to Itagaki.
Although Sumalpong clearly felt he deserved the win he seemed to feel happy about having a good performance in Japan, and it's likely he will be invited back in the near future, for what would be his third bout there following a previous loss to the recently crowned WBC Light Flyweight world champion Ken Shiro.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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