Second generation fighter Rikki Naito (9-0, 5) scored the biggest victory of his career earlier today as he stopped Hiroyasu Matsuzaki (22-7-2, 11) and successfully claimed the Japanese Super Featherweight title.
Naito, tipped by some as one of Japanese fastest rising prospects, was expected to be given the toughest test of his career by Matsuzaki but instead the 22 year old unbeaten southpaw just cruised through the gears. Naito was too fast, too skilled, too big, too power and simply too good for his game opponent.
With Matsuzaki in a deep hole after 8 rounds and being broken down with hard shots to the head and body his corner decided that enough was enough and withdrew their man from the bout to prevent him from taking any more punishment. By then it was obvious their man had no chance and the decision was a good one from a corner who knew that the bout was no longer competitive.
For Naito this seems him becoming the second fighter in the family to claim a Japanese national title, following in the footsteps of his father Cassius Naito. Cassius, who held the Japanese title twice in the 1970's later went on to win an OPBF title, may well view his son's victory here as a sign that his training is working excellently.
Whilst we wouldn't rush Naito, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he could claim an OPBF title in the next 12-18 months. Unfortunately however he is in one of the toughest divisions in Japan with the likes of Takashi Uchiyama, Takashi Miura, Daiki Kaneko and Satoshi Hosono also fighting at 130lbs and it may be a while before Naito can break through to being one of the elite Japanese guys in the division.
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