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Yutaka Niida successfully defended his title in a split decision against interim champion Katsunari Takayama securing the WBA minimum-weight unification title on Saturday.

News photoYutaka Niida connects with an uppercut to the head of Katsunari Takayama during their bout Saturday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Niida won the WBA unified title fight in a split decision.
KYODO PHOTO

Niida won his fifth title defense after ringside judges gave him the 2-1 ruling at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

Niida slipped to the canvas in the first round and it was ruled that he went down, but the champion gained momentum later in the match, effectively using a flurry of uppercuts to wear down Takayama as the bout moved into the latter stages.

“I’m really satisfied with this win,” Niida said. “I had been working on my uppercuts in training. This was a real year for me. I gave it my all, so now I just want to take a good rest.”

Niida improved his record to 21 wins, including eight knockouts, one defeat and three draws. Takayama slipped to 18-3 (7 KOs).

Yasuei Yakushiji and Joichiro Tatsuyoshi were the last Japanese boxers to face each other in a unification title bout for the WBC bantamweight crown in December 1994.

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