Earlier today in Kyoto boxing got a notable upset as long reigning WBC Light Flyweight kingpin Kenshiro Teraji (17-1, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] was dethroned in his 9th defense by fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (13-3, 12) [佐藤政道].
On paper the bout seemed like a routine defense for Kenshiro, who many including ourselves viewed as the best at 108lbs. It was however a bout that had a lot of substories going into it, including the fact that the bout had been delayed by 12 days after Kenshiro contracted Covid19 in August, pushing the bout from September 10th to September 22nd.
The view, by Kenshiro and his team, was that he would have long enough to recover, and although his preparation was clearly damaged by the illness, he was still expected to be good enough and prepared enough to over-come the heavy handed, but flawed, Yabuki.
As it turned out however, that was a huge mistake by the defending champion, who never quite looked his usual sharp, self.
The first round saw Kenshiro showing some of his quality, but Yabuki was the one showing the more intelligent boxing, landing good counters and hard straight right hands through the opening stages. Kenshiro on the other hand pressed and used his jab, but was pretty ineffective with his his pressure. After 4 rounds we got the open scoring and the judges were not impressed by the come forward style of the defending champion, who was shut out on two of the scorecards, and even on the third. It was not the start he needed and not the start he wanted.
Through the middle rounds Kenshiro managed to find some success, raising the tempo in round 6, and landing some good 1-2's, but couldn't really distinguish himself from Yabuki, who seemed to have an answer for almost anything the champion did. This was again shown on the scorecards after 8 rounds, with Yabuki up 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75. Essentially Kenshiro was going into the final 4 rounds knowing he needed something big. At the very least he needed to win all 4 rounds to retain his title.
The champion attempted to turn the tables in round 9 but was left cut around the right eye from a straight right hand of Yabuki's, putting the champion in even more trouble than he had been in before the round started. He knew it and he knew he had 3 rounds to turn things around, and gave everything he had in round 10, however he couldn't take out the challenge who turned the tables late in the round and hurt Kenshiro, before tagging him against the ropes until the referee stepped in and saved him.
Following the bout Kenshiro was taken to hospital. His father attended the press conference and while he didn't blame Kenshiro's battle with Covid, he did state his son's condition wasn't the best, and did suggest that maybe his son had run out of atamina before the finish. The plan now is for Kenshiro to take a break, and then it seems like he will make a decision on his future.
As for Yabuki, he seemed really proud of his his performance and beating Kenshiro, though notable didn't seem like he was in a rush to take on a rematch, though didn't flat out rule it out. Notably he seemed to suggest that, had he lost, he may have retired here, which would have been a huge disappointment.
Just moments ago fight fans in Japan had the chance to see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (18-0, 10) make his 8th successful defense, as he rugged defeated Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (34-11-2, 20) in what was a very, very entertaining contest at the EDION Arena Osaka.
The opening round saw some interesting action, with Hisada being his usual, come forward self and Kenshiro looking to scout what the local favourite had to offer. It wasn't a particularly busy round, but was one that seemed to be very competitive. In round 2 we started to see the difference between the two men, with Hisada being all about will and effort, and Kenshiro being about skill, timing, and ring craft. The jab of Kenshiro's was beginning to slow, and he was starting to control the distance, whilst also hammering some huge right hands up top. One of those rights hands dropped Hisada, sending the challenger down for one of the very few times in his career.
Despite being dropped Hisada's will to win wasn't dented and he recovered well, fighting back hard at the end of the round and having a solid bounce back round in round 3, as he pressed more intently. That pressure did come at a cost, but it was a solid round after beind dropped. Sadly for Hisada he kept finding the same problems. When he had success Kenshiro came back and had more, every good eye catching flurry of Hisada's was followed by some eye catchign moments of Kenshiro's, and the jab of Kenshiro was giving him the ability to control the action as and when he needed.
After 4 rounds the open scoring kicked in for the first time, and the scores were 38-37, twice and 40-35, all in favour of Kenshiro
Through the middle rounds the action really intensified. Hisada was having more moments. He was gritting his teeth and making things tough for Kenshiro. He was winning the rounds, but he making Kenshiro work for them. What was particularly eye catching from Hisada was how often he managed to land right hands, putting Kenshiro on the back foot, albeit temporarily, and it would have been interesting to see how a younger, sharper, fighter would have capitalised on those moments. As for Hisada, he followed Kenshiro when they happened, before the champion regrouped and punished him.
Rounds 5 and 6 were genuinely fantastic with their back and forth action, however they both seemed to be rounds where Kenshiro's extra class and natural ability were the difference maker. His ability to turn the tide with a clean, accurate combination, or a burst of body shots, meant he always seemed in control, even with Hisada was having success. these rounds, along with rounds 7 and 8, were fought at mid range with a very high tempo and they made for some exhilarating action, with their back and forth. The action was exciting, the tempo was high and the quality was also great, particularly with Kenshiro's body shots.
Talking about body shots, they were particularly notable in the second half of the fight, with Kenshiro drilling Hisada's mid section with some massive right hands to the body. Hisada some how took them with out flinching, but they seemed to take the steam out of the challenger in rounds 9 and 10. He was still there, but the incessant pressure we have typically seen from him was only shown in glimpses. He was failing to turn the fight into his fight, he was struggling to land with any consistency, and he was unable to step the tide, which had seen Kenshiro in a very comfortable lead when the open scoring was announced early in round 9. For those curious the scores were 78-73, twice, and 79-72 all in favour of Kenshiro.
Despite looking like his 36 year old body was feeling the intensity through much of the middle portion of the fight Hisada really bit down on his gumshield and found some real reserves of energy in round 11 as he tried to take the fight to Kenshiro once again. Despite the effort he was again coming off second best, and seemed to be hurt late in the round from a body shot. Despite that Kenshiro didn't jump on his man, and Hisada sucked it up before being tagged by some solid right hands again from Kenshiro. It was really impressive stuff from both, with Kenshiro landing some really top level stuff and Hisada showing incredible toughness and will.
That will from Hisada came roaring out in round 12, in what may end up being the final round of Hisada's career. He set the pace, he dictated the tempo and he really refused to back down from a fight. Kenshiro continued to out class him, out skill him, and out box him, but there was no faulting Hisada's desire, as he walked through some massive right hands from the champion. Hisada's toughness saw him begin to force a brilliant sequence of trading in the final moments of the bout, but he couldn't hurt the champion who still remained so energetic right to the bell.
After 12 rounds the final scorecards were 119-108 and 118-109, twice, all in favour of the champion.
After having his arm raised Kenshiro broke into tears whilst being interviewed. It was clear the last 12 months or so have been hard on him mentally and it almost seemed like the win was a step towards redeeming himself. As for Hisada he left the ring to loud cheers and it was clear the fans were hugely supportive of his efforts. He had been the man they had cheered on through out the bout and it was obvious that they had been there to support the local man.
For Kenshiro this was a fine outing. He took a clear decision, over a hungry challenger, got 12 rounds after well over a year out of the ring, and managed to expunge some of the memories of 2020. He did however show some defensive flaws and it's clear he and his team will work on those when he's back in the gym.
As for Hisada, if this is the end he can hold his head up high. He gave a great performance, and whilst he was a very clear loser, the scores don't do his effort any justice, despite being fair scores. He's now 36, time is ticking on his career, but he has managed to achieve a lot more than many may have anticipated for a fighter with double digit losses and is clearly a hugely popular boxing son in Osaka.
Sadly the bout, which was a genuinely good, solid and exciting one, was also a nightmare for fans outside of Japan to watch. Cantere Doga, who streamed the bout, made things awfully difficult for fans to access the service, and it seemed like the bout would have made a lot, lot more sense for Shinsei to have streamed on YouTube. If KTV wanted to back the fight, which is fair to assume given they put it on Cantere Doga, then it would have made more sense to televise it than to stream it behind a paywall. For those who already use the Cantere Doga service this was a nice bonus, but for the other boxing fans out there this was a poor choice from the distributor of the bout.
It might take a long time for WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 1o) [拳四朗] to become a true star, but he's already got a growing cult following, and today he recorded his 7th defense of his world title, as he stopped Filipino challenger Randy Petalcorin (31-4-1, 23) in 4 rounds.
The first round saw little happen. The little that did happen was almost all from Kenshiro's jab as the two men took their time to figure each other out. The second saw the pace step up, with Petalcorin beginning to take risks, but he really had a couple of flash points of success, whilst Kenshiro found the round to land his jab quite regularly. It wasn't as clear cut as the opening round, but felt like the fight was finally starting.
Sadly for Petalcorin the success he had in round 2 didn't carry on into round 3, despite Petalcorin landing the right hook and neutralising Kenshiro's jab. That just meant Kenshiro had to bring another weapon out of his arsenal, and began to rely on his body shots. They were killer and he dropped Petalcorin 3 times in round 3 from body shots. Petalcorin's heart couldn't be questioned, but he clearly couldn't handle the blows to the mid section, and they do stay with a fighter.
Despite suffering a 10-6 round in round 3 Petalcorin came out for round 4 with ambition. It was as if he knew it was now or never. Petalcorin's aggression saw him forcing Kenshiro to back off at the start of the round. It wasn't long however until Kenshiro re-established distance, composed himself and went back to banging the drum. Another knockdown, again from body shots. This time Petalcorin didn't beat the count.
It's unclear what is next for the "Amazing boy" though it would seem likely that he would again pursue a world title unification bout, something that was supposed to happen today until a bout IBF champion Felix Alvarado fell through due to illness. As for Petalcorin it seems clear that he simply doesn't have it at world level, and after today's loss every opponent will target his mid-section.
World Title Results
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