After a couple of world title fights in this series recently we move down a level to a regional title fight, but give you one of, if not the, most dramatic fight of 2019, and a fight that if you missed it you really need to give it a watch now! This isn't just an Asian treat, but is a boxing treat, of the very, very highest level. We had drama, action, knockdowns, oh boy did we have a lot of knockdowns, and momentum shifts all over the place. Here we have one of the very, very best fights of the year!
Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) vs Ryota Yada (19-5, 16)
The once beaten Yuki Beppu had won the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year and had ran off 14 straight stoppages to start his career. His stoppage run came to an end in 2017, when he fought to a draw with Charles Bellamy. He reeled off 4 more stoppage wins before losing in late 2018 to Yuki Nagano, in a Japanese title eliminator. In early 2019 Beppu scored his first decision win, out pointing Jason Egera, following his loss to Nagano and began to move towards this fight with Yada for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Weltweight title. Although unknown outside of Japan Yada is a very heavy handed boxer-puncher. He's small for a Welterweight, but powerful, composed and a very dangerous fighter, who proved his boxing ability with his performance against Bellamy.
Earlier in this series we featured Ryota Yada's loss to Yuki Nagano, a bout that came about following Nagano's win in 2018 over Beppu, which had seen Yada lose the Japanese Welterweight title. Yada had bounced back from the loss to Nagano with a confidence building win over Robert Kopa which had helped prepare him for this bout with Beppu. Although Yada had 5 losses on his record he had started his career 3-3 and then rebuild, going 16-2, with his losses coming to Yuki Nagano and Jayar Inson. Although not the best fighter out there Yada is heavy handed, aggressive, and a pretty well rounded boxer-puncher, with a gritty toughness. He'd shown that he could run be stopped, with both Inson and Nagano taking him out, but it was going to take a fair bit to take him out.
Fans who had seen the two emerging through the ranks it was obvious this had the potential to be an excellent bout, though few would have expected it to be anywhere near as good as we got. We knew both could punch, we knew both could fight, but we didn't know they would give us the treat that we got, or give so much in their attempts to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight.
Unlike many bouts, which have a feeling out round, this was a war early on. Within 30 seconds Yada was rocked, and badly shaken as Beppu went on the hunt. To his credit Yada saw put the first wave of Beppu's offense, but was shaken again soon afterwards. It looked like we were going to get a very short fight but to his credit Yada regrouped and started to force Beppu backwards.
In round 2 we again saw Beppu's power striking early and he seemed on the verge of a stoppage as he wailed away on Yada, as he was stuck on the ropes. Yada again saw out the storm, but continued to be under pressure and was wobbled badly with over a minute of the round left. Yada got dropped to the canvas with his legs seemingly gone and would soon be dropped legitimately as Beppu hunted the early finish. He was all over the place as he tried to hold on we went to the bell.
From there on it was Yada who began to finally find himself in the bout, and he began to find Beppu, dropping him numerous times as the bout swung in his favour. Beppu would be yoyo'd to the ring numerous times, but his heart and fighting spirit kicked in, as we ended up seeing numerous knockdowns, heart and desire from both, intense exchanges, and a sense that the bout could swing on a single shot.
This was amazing. This was brutal. This was special. Sit down, grab a beer and enjoy a bout that will long live on as the best WBO Asia Pacific title bout!
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.