Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans were treat to a special bout as Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (27-2-1, 20) retained his title, though had to dig deep and battle hard to see off the spirited effort of former Super Bantamweight title holder Rikiya Fukuhara (30-8-1, 22).
The bout was the second meeting between the two men, and also the second defense of Hosono's second reign. It proved however, to be much tough than their first meeting, which was back in 2012.
In their first meeting Fukuhara started well but was eventually saved by the referee as Hosono's power took it's toll on the Watanabe gym fighter. This time around however Fukuhara took the biggest shots of the Ohashi promoter "Bazooka" and fought back, showing his heart and desire.
Early on the challenger looked sharp and used his legs. It was a tactic that served him well in their first bout. For the first 2 rounds it appeared that Fukuhara had the style to beat Hosono, who simply seemed too slow. In round 3 however Hosono managed to cut the distance and make his pressure begin to pay.
The pressure of Hosono helped him land some crunching blows which eventually put Fukuhara on the canvas in round 4. It seemed the end was inevitable.
Fukuhara, despite being hurt, managed to recover from the knockdown and see out a hairy round 5 as Hosono smelt blood. To his credit Fukuhara managed to find a way to survive the onslaught from his dangerous foe and then began to find a home for his own shots.
It was during the later rounds that Fukuhara managed to land some of his best shots and at one point it it seemed he hand landed a counter that would have felled an elephant. Hosono however remained up right showing he had a chin to match his power.
Sadly for a swollen Fukuhara he couldn't turn the fight around and instead he had to settle for merely going the distance as he lost the decision with scores of 98-91, 98-92 and a surprisingly close card of 95-94.
Whilst Fukuhara was on the losing end of the decision it wasn't a great day for Hosono who seems unlikely to get a world title bout next time out. He didn't look his best, though in fairness to him he had been out of the ring for almost 9 months and some sharpness had clearly gone given the break between fights. Hopefully a quick turn around will see Hosono moving towards a title fight at the end of the year, thought the Featherweight division is certainly not an easy one to crack at the top and we'd understand Mr Ohashi holding his charge back, at least for now.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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