It was a night that core Japanese boxing fans couldn’t take their eyes off the action for even a second. And they were fortunate that all the local stars left the ring as the winners.
WBC flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi retained his belt by unanimous decision (117-111, 117-111, 116-112) over Mexico’s Edgar Sosa, while London Olympic middleweight gold medalist Ryota Murata scored his second straight professional win, beating Dave Peterson of the United States in a star-filled big show held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan on Friday night.
Yaegashi, who seized the belt in April with a win over compatriot Toshiyuki Igarashi in April and defended it in August, masterly escaped the aggressive attacks by Sosa while he occasionally landed accurate hooks, getting himself ahead by points for the entire bout.
“I’m relieved for the time being,” Yaegashi said. “Sosa kept coming at me until the end, so I couldn’t put my guard off.
“I feel sorry for the fans that I couldn’t put up an interesting fight, but hopefully I can show an exciting match next time.”
Meanwhile, Murata, who made his pro debut with a second-round technical knockout win over Akio Shibata in Tokyo in August, was forced to have a tougher fight this time against the American Peterson. Murata looked a little stiff earlier and wasn’t able to land punches to cause damage, except for his signature body blows.
Murata started throwing jabs effectively and finally got some rhythm, starting in the fifth round. From then on, the contest belonged to the local star.
Murata caught Peterson, who seemed fatigued and just rolled around the ring to escape from the Japanese, in the eighth and final round. After Peterson endured a standing knockdown, Murata continued to land punches and the referee stopped the fight with a TKO at 1 minute, 27 seconds into the round.
“I wasn’t as smooth as I wanted to be early on, that’s something I have to reflect on,” Murata said. “But if I look at it positively, I was able to fight for eight rounds and won with a TKO. That proved my stamina a little bit.”
Now, with the victory, Murata is expected to have his first overseas in Macau in February.
Earlier in the evening, Japan’s next big thing, Naoya Inoue, finished business in a good fashion, winning the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation light flyweight title against Jerson Mancio of the Philippines with a fifth-round TKO.
“If I’m given the stage (soon), I’ll just get to work harder because that’s my job,” Inoue said of his possible world championship shot.
Also, challenger Ryosuke Iwasa defeated champion Hiroki Shiino with a technical knockout win in the fifth round to grab the new OPBF bantamweight belt.