Jut over 3 years ago Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-4-6, 7) [福原 辰弥] was being beaten by a debuting Takuma Inoue, today however he find himself the new WBO “interim” Minimumweight champion, following a split decision win over Mexican warrior Mexican Moises Calleros (25-7-1, 14). He also finds himself a local hero in Kumamoto and perhaps the most improved boxer of the last few year.
Today he got his big chance, battling against the aggressive and exciting Calleros, and he took that chance showing his skills, toughness and desire to over-come the Mexican.
From the opening moments it was clear that these two were brilliantly well matched with Fukuhara trying to box and move, whilst Calleros came in looking for a fight. The styles clicked immediately action was captivating for the fans in the arena. It was a truly great back an forth, and one where the judges were deciding whether it was the rounded boxing, and the skills on the back foot from Fukuhara or the aggression and pressure of the Mexican.
Through the first 6 rounds there was very little to pick between the two men, though it did seem that, in round 7, Fukuhara got a break though. The Japanese fighter suffered a cut from a headclash but fired back and landed a nasty southpaw left hand to the body that seemed to slow down the Mexican who was again forced to take a solid body attack in round 9 with Fukuhara seemingly finding a new tool in his arsenal.
That body attack became the key to Fukuhara's gameplan in the later rounds as he managed to low Calleros down and back him up, whilst showing his incredible will to win and doing enough to take the narrow decision, with scores of 116-112 and 116-112 which over-ruled a score of 115-113 in favour of Calleros
With the win Fukuhara became the first boxer from a Kumamoto gym to win a world title, even if it is “just” and interim title, and also secured himself a potentially lucrative bout with Katsuunari Takayama later in the year, with the two men set to fight in the next 180 days. Sadly the bout wasn't aired on major TV in Japan, nor was it featured on an online service such as Boxingraise or Asign,but hopefully Fukuhara will earn his chance to impress a wider audience next time out. As for Calleros the loss will be a hard one, but he's certainly a man who can come again with his exciting and committed aggression, which will also go down well with fans.
(Image courtesy of https://boxmob.jp)
So far this year we've not seen many title changes but late on Friday we did see one title change, as 3-time American Olympian Rau'shee Warren (14-2-0-1, 4) suffered a shock loss to Kazakh pressure fighter Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-1, 18), and claimed the WBA Bantamweight Super title.
The start of the fight was a nightmare for Zhakiyanov, who was dropped twice in the opening round giving Warren a 10-7 opening round. It seemed like Warren's speed and skills would be too much for the relatively basic Zhakiyanov. Amazingly though Warren failed to build on the good start as Zhakiyanov managed to regroup and have a solid second round, though, again, it was a round that Warren took.
From round 3 onwards the bout seemed to turn, with Zhakiyanov applying intense and breaking through the guard of Warren with regularity. The pressure seemed to have immediate effect and he was unlucky to not to have a KD scored in his favour late in the round.
Warren was again roughed up in rounds 4, 5 and 6 as Zhakiyanov continued to force the action and and really trouble Warren, who continually backed up and invited the pressure from the challenger. It was easy to forget the 10-7 first round and by the end of round 6 it was almost impossible to make a case for Warren being in the lead. Despite being in the lead ZZ seemed to be slowing down and in round 8 Warren began to take advantage of Zhakiyanov's slowing down and stood his ground in the opening minute. Despite the moments of success Warren failed to build on it and quickly let Zhakiyanov push him backwards.
Warren managed to have his moments in the final rounds, though began to look more and more tired with Zhakiyanov seemingly aware that he may need to have a huge finish to impress the judges. He was tired, as would be expected given the huge amount of work he had put in, but his desire continued to show through as he continued to apply the pressure.
With both men standing at the end of 12 rounds the bout went to the scorecards and given the amazing start for Warren it was clear the cards would be close, with Zhakiyanov needing to make up for the 10-7 opening round. The judges were split though thankfully they made the right decision with two of them favouring the Kazakh, who's desire and will to win earned him the victory on two of the cards.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.