There's a number of divisions where the OPBF title is regarded as a major stepping stone en route to a world title. This is particularly true in the lower weights were fighters like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka claimed OPBF titles before quickly progressing to the top. In other divisions however they are viewed as being the highest achievement certain fighters will ever reach.
The Super Middleweight division certainly falls into that second category with very few OPBF champions ever claiming a world title.
This past Friday fans in Japan saw the OPBF title being successfully defended by heavy handed champion Yuzo Kiyota (29-4-1, 27) who stopped first time challenger Michael Speed Sigarlaki (16-16-2, 14) in the 5th round.
From the off Kiyota looked like the naturally bigger, stronger and more powerful fighter. Those physical traits really helped him and his body shots seemed to take a quick toll on Sigarlaki, who looked brave but out gunned and was down in round 2, 4 and 5.
It was in round 5 that the referee finally accepted that enough was enough and ended what was always expected to be a one sided contest.
With the stoppage Kiyota marks his third defense of the title though unfortunately it'safe to say that he isn't going to be considered a major threat to any of the world champions. As for Sigarlaki this was his second stoppage loss in Japan this year, following a 4th round TKO defeat to OPBF/JBC Middleweight champion Akio Shibata, in a non-title bout.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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