Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall had a real treat as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (13-0, 5) took on former world title challenger Nihito Arakawa (25-6-1, 16), and claimed a well fought win.
The bout, which saw Naito dipping his toes at Lightweight, saw the youngster put under pressure early on from Arakawa who showed good movement and landed sharp body shots in the early going. Despite Arakawa's good start to the action it didn't take long until Naito found his rhythm and began landing combinations and landing wonderfully crisp uppercutts that quickly slowed his veteran foe.
Arakawa seemed to get a second wind in the middle rounds as Naito himself began to slow and things began to look ominous for the unbeaten youngster as we went into the final rounds. Suddenly however Naito himself looked recharged and took the 9th round.
The final round was the best of the fight with both fighters appreciating the competitiveness of the action.
Despite the great effort from Arakawa he was generally not award on the scorecards which all had Naito as a clear winner, with scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 97-94.
For Arakawa, who was fighting for the first time as a Watanabe gym fighter, this will be a frustrating defeat but one that shows he can continue to fight with the best in Japan. As for Naito this will may tempt him to making a move to 135lbs, a weight that he will almost certainly grow in to sooner rather than later.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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