Hasegawa loses WBC featherweight title

Kyodo

Hozumi Hasegawa failed to make it a trifecta for Japanese champion fighters after he was stopped by Mexican challenger Jhonny Gonzalez in a fourth-round technical knockout Friday, relinquishing his WBC featherweight crown in his first title defense.

Both WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka and WBC super featherweight champion Takahiro Ao beat their respective opponents with knockouts on the same day in the world tripleheader at Kobe Memorial Hall.

The top-ranked Gonzalez connected across the chin of Hasegawa with a powerful right hook to send him reeling to the canvas before referee Mike Griffin waved off a groggy Hasegawa at 58 seconds in the fourth round.

“I am very happy. This is the result of four months of training,” Gonzalez said. “Hasegawa had speed but his punches weren’t that hard so I was able to keep up the pressure.”

Gonzalez improved to 48-7, including 42 KOs. Hasegawa slipped to 29-4 (12 KOs).

“I was just the weaker fighter in this bout, period,” Hasegawa said. “I didn’t see that right come in. I think I was ahead on points but that’s just points. Boxing is a sport with knockouts.”

Nishioka stunned Argentine challenger Mauricio Munoz with a crushing left for a knockout in the ninth round to successfully defend the title for the sixth time.

The referee counted out the sixth-ranked Munoz at 3 minutes, 7 seconds in the round. The 34-year-old Nishioka improved his slate to 38-4-3 (24 KOs).

“Actually, I hurt my left fist during training, so I have to give myself high marks for getting the knockout. I waited patiently early on and was able to make a good finish. I think I could cheer up the people of Japan with my fight,” Nishioka said.

Earlier, Ao knocked out Mexican challenger Humberto Gutierrez in the fourth round to successfully retain the WBC super featherweight crown in his first title defense.

Ao hit the third-ranked Gutierrez with a powerful right to the body that sent his opponent caving at 1:06 in the round.

The Japanese champion improved to 21-2-1 (10 KOs). From the opening bell, Ao put Gutierrez on the retreat with effective body shots before the knockout counter punch.

It is the first time that three Japanese champions defended their titles on the same day at the same venue.