Earlier today fight fans in Fukumoto saw the latest Japanese title fight, and saw local star Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] retain his title with a 7th round TKO win over the previously unbeaten Genki Hanai (7-1, 5) [華井 玄樹].
The bout, Fukuhara's third defense of the title, saw the champion being put on the back foot to begin with as an aggressive Hanai looked to set the pace. He came out firing and looking to trouble Fukuhara, however the champion showed his resolve to see out the early issues and began to take over in round 3, using his skills to counter the aggressive Hanai.
After 5 rounds it seemed like Fukuhara was taking control, despite a cut, and the open scoring had the local favourite in the lead, with Hanai knowing he'd have to turn things around.
Despite needing to turn things around Hanai was never able to and in roudn 7 Fukuhara had him pinned on the ropes, where he lets his hands go, eventually trapping Hanai on the ropes and forcing the referee to save the challenger.
The loss is a major set back for the touted Hanai, who was ear marked for success from the off, however it'll also be a learning experience and he can certainly rebuild. Unfortunately however he's now got other stiff competition, like Masataka Taniguchi and Hiroto Kyoguchi, rising through the ranks at doemstic level.
As for Fukuhara the future is bright and it's clear that he's looking to make 2017 his year, with his team stating they were now focussing on world title bouts with both the WBO and IBF options seen as ones he would be interested in going forward.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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