Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (9-1-2, 3) [池原シーサー久美子] retain her title with a split decision win over veteran Kayoko Ebata (9-7, 5) [江畑 佳代子]. Whilst this was the second time Ikehara had over-come Ebata, following a split technical decision last year, the bout really was something special.
The fight started hot and both were happy to trade shots almost from the off. Their was head clashes, punches from both hands it was just a war with both regularly meeting in the centre of the ring. The pace and action was tremendous with both unloading, until the later stages when the 40 year old Ebata began to show her age.
With Ebata slowing Ikehara seemed to do enough in the later stages to take over those rounds, though the question was really how close the cards were going into the championship rounds.
Sadly for Ebata her slow down may well have cost her the bout with scorecards of 96-94 for Ikehara, twice, and a card the same way for Ebata, who has now come up short in 5 world title bouts, and likely gave this bout her all.
With 4 defenses to her name Ikehara has cemented her place as a genuine champion, but it's fair to say that other fighters will be targeting her title. For Ebata this probably will be the end of her career, a career that has seen her become the bridesmaid but never the bride.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)