Japanese fighters have, amazingly, never won a world title in Europe. That run sadly continued earlier today as Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) came up short against Englishman Lee Haskins (32-3, 14) who scored a remarkable stoppage of the Japanese fighter and claimed the IBF interim Bantamweight title.
From the opening round it seemed like Iwasa's game plan was based around coming on strong as Haskins slowed. Sadly for Iwasa he never got to see that plan come to fruition.
Haskins started amazingly well and looked sharp from the off with his right hooks, counters and elusive movement. It seemed that whilst Iwasa was the bigger and naturally stronger man Haskins was the quicker and sharper man. From opening bell it was Haskins who was making the most of his advantages and he took the first 2 rounds with no doubt at all.
It was in round 3 that the fight took it's first turn with Iwasa manage to make the action close, especially in the later part of the round as Haskins looked to be feeling the pace and effect of his own movement. The slowing down of Haskins showed again in round 4 as Iwasa clearly took the round and seemed to find the range of his heavy left hands. It seemed that the bout was turning and that Iwasa was set to come on strong.
Haskins managed to regroup his composure in round 5, though it was a messy and a close round plagued by clinches. It seemed that Haskins was certainly feeling the pace whilst Iwasa looked relaxed, despite being well down on the cards.
Round 6 started well for Iwasa who landed a big right hand and had blood coming from Haskins's nose. It seemed again that Iwasa was set to come until he walked into a monstrous counter shot from Haskins. It will probably go down as the best shot Haskins will throw. The shot was amazing and rocked Iwasa who went down hard seconds later. The Japanese fighter, amazingly, got up to his feet at the count of 7 but a follow up attack forced the referee to step in and stop the contest.
For Iwasa it's back to Japan and back to rebuilding, with a probably move to Super Bantamweight in the near future. As for Haskins he'll now have to await the next step of Randy Caballero. A bout between Haskins and Caballero is likely to happen when Caballero returns from his injury.
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.