Tokuyama retains WBC super flyweight title by decision

Kyodo

Masamori Tokuyama held off a challenge from Jose Navarro of the United States to retain the WBC super flyweight title by a unanimous decision on Monday.

News photoMasamori Tokuyama throws a punch at Jose Navarro during their WBC super flyweight title bout at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium.

Tokuyama kept the top-ranked contender at bay for much of the match and won 116-113, 117-113, 116-113 on the judges’ cards in his first defense of the title he reclaimed last July with a unanimous decision over Japanese archrival Katsushige Kawashima.

The victory improved Tokuyama’s record to 32 wins, including eight knockouts, three losses and one draw. Navarro, who lost to Kawashima in January last year, dropped to 23-2 with 11 knockouts after his latest failure in a shot at a world title.

Tokuyama said after the match that it was his last super flyweight fight, although he did not make clear his future plans.

“I’ll ‘graduate’ from the super flyweight with this match,” Tokuyama said, indicating his intention to make the title vacant.

“Navarro was very strong. This ‘hit and clinch’ style of boxing may look boring but I have no choice but to stick with it because it’s my style. I was involved in a traffic accident two weeks ago and it hurt my preparations for tonight’s match,” he said.

After recapturing the title with his victory over Kawashima, Tokuyama cited a lack of enthusiasm and told people close to him that he intended to bring his career to an end after Monday’s match.

The 31-year-old has also struggled with weight reductions and said earlier that he had reached the limit physically in the super flyweight class.

On Monday, Tokuyama looked sharp from the opening bell and landed some hard rights and an effective right-left combination, opening up a cut above Navarro’s right eye late in the first round at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium.

The champion continued to dictate the pace with sharp rights to Navarro’s face and outboxed him in late rounds as he tired and slowed down under increased pressure from the American.

Fighting with a points advantage he took in earlier rounds, Tokuyama all but secured victory when he dominated the final round, staggering Navarro to the ropes with another right.

Tokuyama, a North Korean resident of Japan, first became the WBC super flyweight champion in 2000 and successfully defended the title eight times — the third-longest streak in world title defense by a Japan-based boxer.