• Kyodo

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Katsunari Takayama captured the vacant WBO minimumweight title on Saturday by defeating fellow Japanese Riku Kano by unanimous decision.

The title was the sixth of the 33-year-old Takayama’s career. Kano, the top-ranked contender was, at the age of 20, attempting to become the youngest world champion Japan has ever had.

The second-ranked Takayama dominated the fight but his left eyelid was cut by a head butt from Kano in the third round. With Takayama leading in points by an overwhelming margin through the sixth round, doctors stopped the fight when the injury worsened. Takayama was declared the winner by decision.

“I won, but it is unfortunate to be on an injury decision,” said Takayama, who lost the title on New Year’s Eve. “I am satisfied to have the belt back in my hands. Frankly speaking, it was too soon for him (to be taking me on).”

His record improved to 31-8-1 (12 knockouts), while Kano fell to 10-2-1 (five KOs).

Also on the card at Komagatani Gym, Australia’s Luisa Hawton defeated 30-year-old Kei Takenaka by unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBO women’s light flyweight title.

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