• Kyodo

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Etsuko Tada defeated Mexican Kareli Lopez by unanimous decision on Friday in a IBF women’s world mini flyweight title bout, taking her first world title in more than two and a half years.

The 34-year-old Tada, who became the WBA minimumweight champion in April 2009 and defended the title on nine occasions, at times found herself on her back foot against Lopez, but scored points using powerful left-handed body punches.

“I’m relieved. I could see them (her opponent’s punches) but it was tricky boxing her,” said Tada, who improved to 15-2-2 (four knockouts). “It wasn’t pretty. I’d like to get strong again.”

Former WBC bantamweight and featherweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa, 34, also won on a unanimous decision at Kobe Central Gymnasium, despite hitting the canvas twice in the third and fifth rounds of his bout with Mexican Carlos Luis.

“This is where I currently stand. I thought I could overwhelm him but I let myself down,” said Hasegawa, ranked ninth among WBC featherweights.

“I had a perfect fight other than the two knockdowns, those were the only clean hits I took. I’ll check the video replay to work out how he hit me.”

He added: “There’s no reason to quit when you know you can get stronger.”

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