Tada matches record with eighth title defense

Kyodo

WBA minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada successfully defended her eighth title Sunday with a unanimous decision victory over Naoko Shibata, matching the record by a Japanese female boxer for the most world title wins.

Eleventh-ranked Ayaka Miyao, meanwhile, upset WBA light minimumweight champion Mari Ando by the same judges’ decision in the women’s world doubleheader in Osaka Prefecture.

Although the 31-year-old Tada won, the decision was too close for comfort, with a disparity of just two points on each judge’s scorecard.

“Honestly, I am relieved to have won,” said Tada, who implied that tying the record was not part of her final goal. “This is just a stage I need to pass through to be a better boxer.”

The southpaw-fighting Tada deployed an effective right jab and a stinging left to rack up points on her way to matching WBC atomweight boxer Momo Koseki for the most successful title defenses.

“The champion didn’t have the punches or speed I imagined she would. When it was over I thought that I might have taken it, but I didn’t throw as many punches as she did,” said Shibata. “If we fight again I feel confident I can win.”

Miyao put Ando, who failed in her second title defense, on the back foot with a flurry of pinpoint shots throughout the match to pull away in convincing fashion.