• Kyodo

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Okinawa’s Koki Eto failed in his bid to win the WBC super flyweight title on Saturday, losing on points to Mexico’s unbeaten title-holder Carlos Cuadras.

The 27-year-old Cuadras finished the fight ahead on all three judges’ cards (117-111, 117-111, 116-112) having largely dominated most of the entertaining 12-round slugfest.

“I was aiming to knock him out, but his resilience prevented that,” said a jubilant Cuadras after the fight. “He has agility and he’s a good fighter.”

The Mexican has now defended his title five times since claiming the belt in 2014 and improved his record to 34-0-1, while Eto falls to his fourth loss in his 22 bouts.

Cuadras got off to the better start, tagging Eto with a number of good shots in the first round, including a strong lead hook with his left that quickly got his opponent’s attention.

The second saw the first heavy exchange, with Cuadras taking shots on the ropes before using his superior ringcraft to turn Eto and return fire, landing a rapid combination to establish what would be the tone for the fight.

Eto’s effort and willingness proved to be near-infinite, though, as the Kunigami-born fighter kept coming forward and attacking from the outside, trying to use his superior reach to land blows while staying out of the quick-handed Mexican’s line of fire.

But effort would not be enough for Eto, as Cuadras punished him throughout the fight’s middle rounds. If Eto won a round, it was the 10th, but Cuadras was never rocked despite eating a number of power shots.

The final three rounds saw Eto headhunting, looking for a knockout, but Cuadras managed to avoid his bloodied foe’s increasingly wild, flailing forays.

In the evening’s other title fight, Japan had a better result with 32-year-old Yu Kimura , who hails from Chiba, taking the WBC light flyweight title from another Mexican, Pedro Guevara, in a split decision.

Kimura finished narrowly ahead on two judges’ cards, 115-113, but was mystifyingly scored 111-117 on the third card, leaving Guevara fuming after the fight.

“I don’t know why he won, maybe you have to win by knockout away from home,” said Guevara. “I think it is the wrong decision. Kimura’s punches were hitting my arms and gloves.”

The win gave Kimura, the Japanese light flyweight title-holder, his first world title and he improved his record to 18-2-1, while the 26-year-old Guevara fell to 26-2-1.

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