The Light Flyweight division might not be one of the supposedly “glamorous divisions” but it's certainly a division that is red hot with intriguing match ups, brilliant prospects, exciting champions and pretty all the ingredients of a great division in the making. Today fans got the chance to see several of those brilliant prospects in action, with the most notable being the sensational Ken Shiro (8-0, 4) [拳 四朗].
The 24 year old fighter from the BMB gym was looking to not only defend the Japanese national title, a title that he won at the end of 2015, but also claim the vacant OPBF title, and create a small slice of history with his father. In the opposite corner was the experienced Toshimasa Ouchi (20-9-3, 6) [大内 淳雅], the man looking to derail a prospect tipped for huge things.
The fight started quickly and the opening round was far from the typical feeling out round. From the off both men looked sharp, energetic and like they couldn't afford to just feel each other out for 3 minutes. The pressure came from Ken Shiro, who landed several eye catching right hands, but Ouchi was certainly not there to make up the numbers and fired back with some very good stuff himself.
Knowing that Ouchi was full of desire Ken Shiro began to target the body in round 2 and really sunk in some energy sapping blows to the mid section of the challenger in the early stages. The shots to the body came in regularly through the first third of the fight and although Ouchi was landing some solid right hands of himself, particularly in round 3, it seemed like Ken Shiro just had a bit too much for him.
After 4 rounds all 3 judges had Ken Shiro up, however the bout was still close with one judge having the bout 39-38 in favour of the unbeaten man. Knowing he was still in it Ouchi came out firing in round 5 and began the round really well before being tagged as the two men ended up slugging it out in an enthralling finish to the round. As they slugged it out it appeared Ouchi touched down, but the referee didn't call it and instead the two were allowed to just unload on each other in some thrilling moments.
Ouchi's desire continued in rounds 6 and 7 but those rounds seem to take something out of the experienced man, who put in a lot and couldn't quite do enough to trouble Ken Shiro who was looking comfortable. Although comfortable the youngster did tagged occasionally, and will seek to improve his defenses before a potential world title bout later in the year.
The effort and desire shown by Ouchi in the middle rounds turned out to be his undoing in round 8 as he tried to turn the fight around but was dropped from a devastating counter right hand. The shot would have felled almost anyone in the division and ouch was no exception, however he was up immediately, as if it was a flash knockdown by an absolute peach of a shot.
The Knockdown secured Ken Shiro a 10-8 round and essentially solidified his lead on the scorecards as we went into the final third of the bout. Instead relying on that lead however Ken Shiro came out firing in round 9. It was a quieter round but a clear one for the youngster who seemed to want a KO and chased it in round 10. Ouchi saw off the storms and tried to turn the bout around in the championship rounds but instead it was Ken Shiro finishing on top with the youngster exploding into action in the final seconds after making Ouchi look incredibly crude though out round 12.
Given his clear lead after 8 rounds Ken Shiro knew he had the win at the final bell, and that was confirmed by the judges who had scored the bout 119-108, 119-109 and 117-111 in his favour. We saw the bout 117-110 bur can under stand the wide cards in favour of the now unified Japanese and OPBF Light Flyweight champion.
With the win Ken Shiro records the second defense of the Japanese title and becomes the first ever son of an OPBF champion to also claim an OPBF title of his own. It's an impressive feat and sees him now being a triple champion with the Japanese, OPBF and WBC Youth titles all in his trophy cabinet.
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