On paper a lot of today's bouts were mismatches, though one contest did stand out as being very competitive on paper and very well matched, in fact on another day it was a bout that could have headlined on a really good domestic Japanese card, rather than been 4th down the billing of a super card.
That bout was a Japanese Featherweight title bout between defending champion Satoshi Hosono (30-2-1, 20) and former Super Bantamweight world champion Akifumi Shimoda (30-5-2, 13). It was competitive on paper, with both being in or around the world rankings and both having similar records, and it was just as competitive in the ring with neither man doing quite enough to take charge of bout in a back-and-forth battle.
The fight started fast with Hosono unable to apply his usual intense pressure and with Shimoda using his feet and speed to great effect to neutralise the aggresive champion. Both had their moments though it was clear, even early on that the judges were going to struggle to separate the two fighters. That was shown when the cards were announced after round 5 with the judges split. The of them had Hosono in a narrow 48-47 lead whilst the third judge had Shimoda in charge 49-47.
With the cards close both men knew they had to turn it up in the second half in an attempt to distance themselves on the cards. This higher pace made the action even more competitive, more exciting and more intense. Sadly for Shimoda however the step up in action didn't help him as much he'd have hoped and a low blow in round 8 cost him a point. That point deduction had come at a bad time as he had seemingly had Hosono hurt and gave the champion time to regroup before the two finished with an all out brawl in the final 2 rounds.
The judges seemed to have been impressed by Hosono in the late rounds as he won it clearly one one card, 97-92, and relatively clearly on another, who had it 96-93. A dissenting judge however had Shimoda winning 96-95.
Following the bout Hosono said that he was still hoping to become a world champion, and it seems likely that the win today will help him secure a shot at one of the champions. For Shimoda this loss will be a hard one to swallow, but he'll likely know that he's able to win at this level and will almost certainly bounce back from this loss.
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