Last year Japanese boxing got a major upset as Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12) [佐藤政道] dethroned Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11) [寺地 拳四朗], and claimed the WBC Light Flyweight title in one of the major Japanese upsets of the year. Soon after the bout Kenshiro's team put the loss down to some headclashes that Kenshiro had suffered in round 9, and issues with training for the bout, with his preparations being hampered by the fact he and his trainer had contracted covid.
Today we get the much anticipated rematch between the two men and we got a bout that was very, very different. In fact we got a Kenshiro that was very different, as he came in with a seek and destroy mentality, and it was clear that he had a point to prove, to the fans, to himself and for everyone who has followed his career.
The first round saw Kenshiro pressing the action behind his jab, and trying to put his gameplan of pressure, activity and keeping Yabuki on the back foot, in to effect. Yabuki had moments in the first round, but it was, for the most part Kenshiro's jab and occassional right hand that controlled the round whilst Yabuki was forced to back up, and try to create space to land his own shots.
Round 2 saw Kenshiro move things up a gear and really take the fight to Yabuki, landing numerous right hands up top, and some eye catching body blow as he began to bully Yabuki around the ring. To his credit Yabuki did find some success with counter shots, but they were few and far between, and when he did land them, they had no real effect against Kenshiro who took them in his stride.
With Yabuki knowing the fight wasn't going his way he came out for round 3 with a new gameplan. Trying to fight Yabuki off, and holding his feet. This was a tactic that was short lived, and within only a few moments Yabuki was back on the back foot, and unable to stop the forward march of the former champion, who found a home for some body shots that backed Yabuki on to the ropes, where he took more body shots. When he finally got off the ropes and created space he left himself open for a huge right hand, that dropped Yabuki. The defending champion got to his feet, but was in not fit state to continue, with the referee waving off the bout.
The performance was a clear statement from Kenshiro, who was desperate to show he was the strongest, the best in the division and that the loss was a freak result. Whilst the loss will hang over him, it's fair to say on this performance not many at 108lbs could live with him, and that he's certainly in the mix to be regarded as the best at 108lbs.
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.