Bloodied Miyazaki retains minimumweight title


Japan’s Ryo Miyazaki narrowly beat Mexican challenger Jesus Silvestre on points to retain the World Boxing Association minimumweight title in Osaka on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old champion had his left eyelid cut when the two banged heads accidentally in the second round and the corner of his right eye was also bloodied by another clash in the 10th round as the two boxers fought at close range over 12 rounds.

Panamanian judge Ignacio Robles and Finland’s Erkki Meronen scored in favour of Miyazaki by 115-113 and 115-114. Venezuelan Reina Urbaez carded it a 114-114 draw.

It was Miyazaki’s second defence of the crown he won by beating Thailand’s Pornsawan Porpramook by split decision in Osaka last New Year’s Eve.

That fight came after the title in the 47.6-kg division was vacated by Japan’s Kazuto Ioka, who stepped up to light-flyweight and later became champion of the class.

“Silvestre isn’t much of a skilful boxer but he is younger than me and aggressive,” Miyazaki said of the Mexican, two years his junior and the No. 1 contender.

“I’ve got guts and I didn’t want to be outdone when it comes to guts,” he said. “I was anxious after both my eyes got swollen and I couldn’t see well. But I thought I had won by a narrow margin.”

Miyazaki improved his record to 20 wins, 11 of them inside the distance, against three draws.

It was Silvestre’s fourth loss against 27 wins, 20 of them by knockout.

Miyazaki said he was ready to step up to a heavier class. “I have nothing to dwell on as far as the minimumweight is concerned. I will aim for yet another title.”

The Mexican said: “I am not satisfied with the scoring. Wasn’t I slightly better on points? I went out fighting as I knew his punches could not knock me down.

“But I wasn’t aggressive enough to knock him out. It was not my day.”