Right now Japanese fight fans are in a very lucky situation where they get not only world class fighters at the very top of the sport, such as Naoya Inoue and Shinsuke Yamanaka, but they also have a list of amazing domestic level warriors. Today they saw two such warriors put on a thriller as Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) [長嶺 克則] saw off Tetsuya Tomioka (5-2, 5) [富岡 哲也] in something special.
As has become typical of a Nagamine performance there was skills on show but also raw aggression from both men. From the off both men went looking for the other and let their straight right hands go. Nagamine, to his credit, made the most of his experience and looked to establish his jab and use his footwork. The tactic was a smart one from Nagamine but didn't stop Tomioka from coming forward.
Nagamine's skills would tell in round 2, and late in the round he scored a flash knockdown to seal a 10-8 round. With the knockdown against him Tomioka came out for round 3 looking to level the score, but was forced to take some huge countes as the two men traded bombs in a brilliant back-and-forth exchange. Another amazing exchange followed soon afterwards as the two tried to destroy each other.
Although round 3 had taken it's toll on both men neither wanted to show it and they continued to have amazing exchanges in round 4, with questions as to how much either man could take. Part way through the round Tomioka suffered his second knockdown, but then dropped Nagamine as he looked to charge in for the finish. That then lead to Tomioka charging at Nagamine and raising the atmosphere of the crowd, before Tomioka was dropped for the third time, just before the bell.
By the start of round 5 there seemed to be a new found respect between the two and whilst they both threw some spiteful bombs they also seemed to know they could be badly hurt, and it was also clear the pace was taking it's toll on both men. Despite that they again erupted into an exchange part way through the round. Whilst the tempo was takign it's toll so two were the shots and part way through round 5 a huge swelling appeared over Tomioka's right eye. It was a massive target for Nagamine who who fired in hurtful lands hands on to the area.
In round 6 the referee seemed to be aware of how banged up Tomioka was, and when he was rocked the referee stepped in, as Tomioka's corner waved the towel. Immediately the two men went to each other showing the repsect they had earned in what was a really special bout.
Next for Tomioka will be a long break to heal from the war whilst Nagamine will be seeking a Japanese title fight later in the year, and it's a well deserved one following a good run of domestic results in recent years, following a one-sided loss to Ken Shiro back in 2015.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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