In the last few years Japanese boxing fans have been fortunate enough to see a rise of youngsters who have essentially taken the lower weights by storm. The most notable of those is obviously Naoya Inoue though the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue have also gained notable attention, both in Japan and across the boxing world.
Another name to add to the list of "youngsters to watch" has been Ken Shiro (6-0, 3), who was ear marked for success from his debut.
Earlier today Ken Shiro claimed his biggest win so far as he out pointed veteran Kenichi Horikawa (30-14-1, 7) to claim the Japanese Light Flyweight title, adding the belt to his WBC Youth crown.
On paper the bout was intriguing. The youngster was stepping up in class and was expected to be given a serious test against a man who had really worked hard for his success, in fact he just turned in a career best performance to stop Shin Ono to win the title back in September. In the end however it was slightly less intriguing and competitive than we had anticipated.
Early on Ken Shiro was too quick and too sharp, landing a busy jab and accurate right hand counters. It seemed as if the two men were in completely different leagues. That was the pattern of the fight until the later stages with Horikawa finally having his success when Ken Shiro began to slow and, particularly in round 10, become rather ragged. By then however it was too little, too late for the veteran who was a mile behind on points.
The fight back from Horikawa did close the scorecards slightly, but they all clearly favoured the younger man who ran out the winner with scores of 98-93, 98-93 and 97-93.
The win was followed by respect from both men who complimented each other and showed the respect that they had shown in the build up to the fight. Horikawa admitted that he had lost to the better man, whilst Ken Shiro confessed that Horikawa had been really strong and was a tough man to beat.
With the victory the Teraji family become the third family to have champions in both a father and son.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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