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Taguchi retains light flyweight crown

Kyodo

Ryoichi Taguchi outlasted compatriot Ryo Miyazaki to defend his WBA light flyweight title for the fourth time in Tokyo on Wednesday, while Kohei Kono lost his WBA super flyweight crown in a 12-round bout against Panama’s Luis Concepcion.

Taguchi improved his career slate to 25-2-1 with the 29-year-old putting on a confident performance at Ota Gymnasium.

With a clear height and reach advantage over Miyazaki, Taguchi kept himself well clear of danger in the early rounds, but did not make too many inroads of his own.

The defending champ had a stellar sixth round, however, a straight right penetrating Miyazaki’s guard and landing flush on his left ear, sending the smaller man stumbling backward but still maintaining his feet.

Despite the matchup ending in a unanimous decision for Taguchi, Miyazaki battled bravely to the end as both fighters kept up a torrid pace throughout the latter rounds, with only the belt holder’s accuracy and length separating the two.

“I was able to control the pace better than I thought,” Taguchi said. “I felt more pressure in this fight than ever before.”

Kono had a rough time of it from early on against Concepcion, suffering as his younger and more compact opponent made his way inside and then unleashed and landed some heavy right uppercuts in the early rounds.

It was Concepcion, however, who had the cleaner fight to win on points as Kono dropped to a career record of 32-9-1.

“I basically clinched it in the 11th round and I want to show my thanks to God for this victory,” said the man from Panama City. “It’s good that I was able to land lots of my blows in flurries.”