Earlier today the WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) [黒木 優子] scored her 5th defense of the title as she defeated former champion Mari Ando (13-10, 6) [安藤 麻里] with a unanimous decision, just as she did when she won the title back in May 2014.
The exciting champion made made a perfect start winning the first round and then dropping Ando in round 2 to establish a clear lead. Ando however showed her fighting spriting and fought back hard to win round 3 and get a small foot hold in the fight. Sadly for Ando that success was short lived and she would be down for a second time in round 5 as Kuroki took a huge lead on the cards and left Ando with a lot to do.
Knowing she was well behidn Anod could have just folded, she didn't ever seem to have the power, strength or speed to worry Kuroki, instead however she bit down on her gum shield and refused to just give in. Instead she earned round 6 on all 3 cards, bouncing back well from the knockdown and did enough to claim a share of the later rounds as she gritted out a gutsy performance.
Despite the gutsy effort Ando was a clear loser with all 3 of the score cards reading 96-92 in favour of Kuroki.
After the bout Ando announced that she was retiring, and that she had given the bout her all, something that was clear to fans in the arena. With this being Ando's 5th defense attention may turn to the Japanese fighter facing more notable international names in the future with some tipping her to be one of the "faces" of female boxing over the coming years.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Today fight fans saw the heavy handed Yunoka Furukawa (9-1-2, 6) [古川 夢乃歌] record her first defense of the WBA Atomweight title as she out pointed OPBF female Light Flyweight champion Mika Iwakawa (6-5-1, 2) [岩川 美花] in a tremendous war of high octane action and heavy handed blows.
To begin the bout it was the challenger who started fast, taking an early lead as she used her superiour size and reach to keep the champion at range. In round two Furukawa tried to amp up the pressure but was met by Iwakawa fighting back and the champion struggled to impose her will on the bout.
Despite the good start from the challenger it was clear that she was going to struggle to keep the aggressive Furukawa at range and as the bout went on Furukawa's pressure began to take ahold of the bout, with Iwakawa having her size advantage negated by the relentless pressure of the champion.
Iwakawa continued to try and fight back but as we got into the later rounds the champion extra fitness, power and youthful aggressiveness showed with the champion sweeping many of the later rounds en route to a very hard fought first defense of the title, winning with scores of 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95.
With her first defense under her belt we're expecting to see huge things from Furukawa who looked like she improved during the fight, and looked more like a champion at the end of the bout than she did when she entered the contest. There are still flaws with the champion but she looks like someone who is going to be very tough to dethrone, and every bout is likely to see her improving, bit by bit.
As for Iwakawa the bout might be another loss but she proved that she can compete at this level and will likely bounce back better next time out. She did seem to tire, though a question is whether that was at least partly down to moving down in weight, just as much as the aggressive work of Furukawa.
For fight fans interested in watching this bout it will be on the boxingraise service during the next 24 hours and is well worth a watch for fight fans who enjoy high octane action, even if they don't typically enjoy female boxing.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Some wins are more fulfilling than others and it's fair to say that WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) [池山 直] will have been unfulfilled by her most recent win, a win that saw her scoring a 5th round TKO victory over former WBA champion Ayaka Miyao (21-7-1, 5) [宮尾 綾香], and despite it being the best win of Ikeyama's career it will also be one that will leave her the most empty.
The bout, which promised so much given the action styles of both women, was seen as a real treat for both fans at the Korakuen Hall and fans who use subscription service Boxingraise. It was the chief-support bout for Dangan Ladies 3 and was one of two world title bouts that were set to help ignite the Atomweight division. Instead it left fans feeling under-whelmed, and despite getting 4 rounds of action it wans't the bout that many had hoped for.
The bout started well with both fighters showing their skills and aggression early on, Miyao tried to her jab whilst the 47 year old Ikeyama managed to work her way in and out. In the second round Miyao seemed to begin taking over, getting her engine going and giving the champion some real worries. It was clear that Miyao had the ability to really let loose with her high work rate and could give Ikeyama, a more aggressive fighter, some real problems.
Rounds 3 and 4 were nip and took affairs with neither fighter really getting the best of it, though Miyao did seem to land a really notable shot towards the end of round 4 which looked like it could have sewed the seeds for a future break through. Sadly for Miyao the break through never came and instead it seemed that Ikeyama was fired up, taking the fight to Miyao hard in round 5.
In round 6 Miyao hit the canvas, with her right knee looking like it was the cause of her falling. The brave challenger recovered to her fight but was in incredible pain and a follow up by Ikeyama sent the challenger down to the canvas again, this time forcing the end.
Some have suggested that Miyao's injury could be a very serious ligament issue, and could potentially threaten her career, with the fighter being stretchered out of the ring and looking in pure agony.
For Ikeyama the win was a huge one on paper though one that she won't have felt too pleased by, and her face as her arm was raised seemed to be one of discontent rather than jubilation, showing the concern to her fighting sister.
(Image courtesy of boxnob.jp)