This past Saturday in Switzerland fans had the chance to see Swiss based Japanese fighter Aniya Seki (34-4-2, 5) fight in the most significant bout of her career. The veteran took on WBA female Super Flyweight champion Maribel Ramirez (13-9-2, 3) and unfortunately she came up short, losing a clear decision to the Mexican fighter.
Ramirez took control of center ring and from the opening moments and scored a knockdown in round 2 that really allowed her to take clear early control of the bout.
To her credit the 39 year old Seki didn't just roll over and instead she fought back, though was always on the back foot and regularly came off second best to the under-rated Mexican champion.
At the end of the 10 round bout there was no doubting that the Mexican had won, and the judges, from Switzerland, France and Spain, all scored the bout to Ramirez with scores of 98--91, twice, and 97-92.
Sadly it's unlikely Seki will get another shot at the top, but for Ramirez this was a great win. She made her first defense and has now scored notable back-to-back wins on the road, having won the title in Peru this past May by defeating Linda Laura Lecca.
(Image courtesy of www.20min.ch)
Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall got the chance to see the highly skilled Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) successfully retain her WBA female Super Flyweight title as she repelled the challenge of the talented Tomoko Kawanishi (9-2, 4).
The bout started pretty well for the challenger who used her superior reach and height to great effect early on by letting loose with her jab and straight shots. Not only was Kawanishi using the right tactics but she was also looking very sharp, in fact some would suggest she had never looked so good in the ring.
Although Kawanishi had clearly stepped up her game it still wasn't enough to over-come Fujioka who managed to find her rhythm in round 2 and began to cut the distance a little bit. On the inside it was Fujioka landing the hooks and uppercuts and neutralising the difference in size. It was great back-and-forth between two fighters who were trying to prove their world class skills and for the first half of the fight it was brilliantly competitive 2-way action.
The proof of a fighters skill is their ability to adapt, to change their tactics and to take over a bout. In the second half of the contest it was Fujioka who managed to adapt whilst a tiring Kawanishi began to unravel and tire. The heart was still there from the challenger but by round 8 it was clear that Kawanishi was begin to show signs of fatigue and this seemed to spur on the champion who found the time and space to dominate the final few rounds and put the bout beyond any doubt.
Despite the competitive action early on the judges all agreed on the score of the bout awarding the decision to Fujioka with scores of 97-93 to allow her the first defence of her title.
Although Kawanishi came up short here she did show enough to suggest that she has the ability to win a world title somewhere down the line. As for Fujioka it still seems that she's effectively unbeatable at 115lb and hopefully a big name opponent will be her next challenge.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's not often a female fight can genuinely get the attention of a filled venue but that's exactly what happened earlier today as Japanese boxing had one of the few major female fights of the year.
In one corner we had the destructive and big hitting Naoko Yamauchi (22-4-3, 18), the defending WBA Super Flyweight champion, in the other we had Naoko Fujioka (11-0, 6), a fighter who was jumping up from Minimumweight where she had previously held the WBC title.
The general view seemed to be that Yamaguchi went in to this bout as the power puncher whilst Fujioka would be the cautious fighter using her movement and speed to try and over-come Yamaguchi's natural strength and power. What we got however was a masterclass of boxing from Fujioka who showed all the skills of a genuine elite level fighter.
From the opening round it was obvious that these two were in totally different classes. Fujioka, boxing and moving, was landing her jab, her straight and her hook almost at will. It was obvious that she was wary of Yamaguchi's much vaunted power, especially in the defending champion's right hand, though she was avoiding it with ease before firing back her own shots.
As the rounds went on Fujioka became more and more confident. She continued to land her shots at will but became less and less worried about the power of Yamaguchi, in fact when they did trade it was Fuijioka's power that had the lasting effect and not Yamaguchi's with Fujioka scoring a knockdown in round 3 as she continued to dominate.
Whilst Yamaguchi was struggling to land her punches round 4 did see her hurting Fujioka, albeit from a headclash which was one of the few times we saw Fujioka in any sort of pain at all. Unfortunately for Yamaguchi she was punished by Fujioka for the clash of heads and staggered late in the round.
By round 7 it appeared that Fujioka was set on taking Yamaguchi out. The challenger had Yamaguchi staggering several times as she hunted a second knockdown though Yamaguchi showed great heart in seeing out the storm and hearing the bell. By then though the fight was a lost cause.
After a strong Fujioka round in the eighth it really was all over barring Yamaguchi scoring a knockout, something that had seemingly become impossible due to the fact Fujioka took her shots so well. Despite that Yamaguchi did manage to arguably claim the final two rounds which included a scrappy round 9 and a good back-and-forth round 10.
By the time we got to the final bell there was only ever one winner. With or with out the knockdown Fujioka had clearly taken the decision and the title as she scored arguably the most notable victory of her career and took home her shiny new title.
-The official scores were 98-91, 97-92, 97-92. We had it 98-91.