Earlier today fight fans in Japan saw a new WBO female Super Flyweight champion being crowned as Tamao Ozawa (17-5, 6) [小澤瑶生] made the most of her third shot at a world title, and dethroned Miyo Yoshida (15-3) [吉田実代] at Korakuen Hall, ending Yoshida's second reign only a few months after it began.
From the off Ozawa tried to box behind a busy jab, letting her hands go and limiting the amount of success Yoshida could have, despite the fact Yoshida was typically the one coming forward. The higher work rate of the challenger saw her do enough to take not just the opening round, but many of the early rounds to establish an early lead.
Whilst Ozawa boxed well, there were moments where Yoshida managed to get close, and this resulted in something of a messy brawl, the type of fight Yoshida has typically had success in. Sadly for Yoshida however it seemed that Ozawa had more to her skillset that Yoshida, and even with Yoshida being more versed in the brawling style she couldn't take control of the action, and was often found being handcuffed by the work rate of Ozawa.
As the bout went on Yoshida managed to have her moments, especially in the second half of the bout, but by then she was well down on the scorecards and fighting more make the scores respectable than actually fighting in the hope of retaining her title.
After 10 rounds it seemed like a clear win for Ozawa, and on two of the scorecards that was the case with judges scoring it 97-93 to Ozawa, with those two judges scoring the bout exactly the same and giving Yoshida rounds 4,7 and 10. Somehow the third judge had Yoshida winning, 96-94, giving Yoshida rounds 3,4,5, 7, 9 and 10, in a score that really didn't reflect what was a clear win for Ozawa.
Last year we saw Tomoko Okuda (7-3-2, 1) [奥田朋子] over-come Miyo Yoshida (15-2) [吉田 実代] for the WBO female Super Flyweight title, with a technical decision win. Today the two women faced off again with Yoshida looking to prove she was the better woman and Okuda looking to show her win over Yoshida last year wasn't some sort of freak win.
From the off Okuda looked to make the most of her size advantages, using her jab at range and catching the shorter Yoshida with uppercuts when she got inside. It was a solid start from the champion, but Yoshida was show real determination and managed to get inside in round 3 as her pressure slowly began to see her claw her way into the bout. That pressure began to have more of an effect in rounds 4 and 5 as Yoshida refused to back down, despite being caught by some solid jabs from Okuda.
Despite Okuda's brave effort Yoshida managed to have one of her both rounds in round 6 as she managed to get close and force a fire fight that got the attention of the fans, who broke out into applause for what the women were giving us. It was a relatively short moment of sustained success for Yoshida, before Okuda came back really well in round 8, preventing Yoshida from getting in the pocket for the round. Okuda's ability to keep the fight at range was, however, not something she could do for ever and the final round saw Yoshida going all out with pressure, unleashing shots with both hands up close forcing Okuda to fire back.
The huge effort from Yoshida provide vital when we went to the judges, with the former champion reclaiming the WBO title via a split decision, with scores of 96-94, twice in her favour and once in favour of Okuda.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fans were able to see two different shows, with the second of those being headlined by a WBO female Super Flyweight title bout between defending champion Miyo Yoshida (14-2) [吉田 実代] and unheralded challenger Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子].
Going in to this Yoshida, a single mother who's story has really connected with the Japanese media, was seeking her second defense of the title she won last year, when she beat Casey Morton. For the challenger however this was likely to be her one and only shot at a world title, given she was 37 and father time waits for no one. It was also expected to be a physically draining effort for Okuda to make weight, coming down from her natural Bantamweight to Super Flyweight, a tough ask for a woman who looked massive at 118lbs.
Despite the stories going into the bout, it was Okuda who proved to be too good, too strong and too powerful.
From the off Okuda looked to be the aggressor, and looked to take the initiative, dropping Yoshida with a big right hand in the opening round. It was the perfect start for the challenger who continued to be the bully in there, using her size, strength, power and physicality when she needed to, and her big right hand as often as she could.
After starting in a hole Yoshida began to find her groove in round 4, using her speed to get in and out with some success. She seemed to be on the verge of building some moment as we entered the middle rounds though a head clash in round 5 left Okuda badly cut, and time began to tick down on Yoshida's chances of turning the bout around, with the bout being stopped in round 6.
Given the cause of the cut we went to the scorecards which favoured Okuda 59-54, twice, and 57-56, and saw the title change hands.
Although not currently available to watch on demand the bout will be uploaded to Boxing Raise in the coming days for fans to enjoy.
Earlier today in Chiba Japanese female fighter Miyo Yoshida (13-1) [吉田 実代] claimed her third professional title, the WBO female Super Flyweight title, as she out pointed Casey Morton (8-2-3, 1) over 10-rounds, in what was a totally one-sided fight.
The naturally bigger Yoshida took control from the opening round using her speed and movement to neutralise Morton, who looked game but out of her depth. The jab of Morton was failing to land clean, and when it did it did little to slow the Japanese fighter who got inside as and when she wanted.
Morton was well behind as we entered the middle section of the fight, but she tried to turn things around in round 4. Sadly the Morton tried, and the more she upped her work rate the worse her defenses got and she was being tagged at regularly by the light but sharp punching Yoshida. Sadly Morton had no answer, she couldn't up the tempo without taking more shots, she couldn't win the bout defensively and she couldn't battle toe-to-toe with Yoshida, who was quicker, stronger and and more technically sharp.
Morton continued to try new things, but she was never really able to establish her fight, with one judge giving her the 9th round in what seemed a decision made from sympathy of her effort than much else.
After 10 rounds the judges had the bout scored 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 to Yoshida, who has now added a world title to her collection that previously included a Japanese and OPBF title. For Morton this is a second loss at Super Flyweight and it feels really obvious that she should be competing at Flyweight, not Super Flyweight.