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.