BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – Suguru Muranaka’s bid for a first world title ended in resounding defeat Saturday, with the Japanese fighter losing by unanimous decision to champion Khalid Yafai in a WBA super flyweight title bout.
The 31-year-old Muranaka made Yafai work in the Brit’s first defense of the title at Barclaycard Arena. But Yafai, 27, knocked down the challenger in the second round and his class told in the end, the official scorecards coming back 118-108, 119-107, 119-107 in his favor.
Yafai remains undefeated, improving his record to 22 wins (14 knockouts), but the Birmingham native admitted he had struggled to put plucky Muranaka away.
“I had to box my way through,” Yafai was quoted as saying by local media. “I have a lot to work on. I am still a work in progress.
“He (Muranaka) has one tough head, he took everything I had. My hands are in agony.”
Muranaka, meanwhile, could not hide his disappointment at the defeat, admitting he had taken a proper hiding.
“It was a dismal performance from me. I could not move the way I wanted to,” he said. “He (Yafai) used body blows to good effect from start to finish, really came in hard from the outside.
“I’ve never been punched like that before. He was a strong opponent. I thought to myself ‘okay so this is what a real world champion is.’ “
Muranaka saw his record drop to 25 wins (8KOs) three losses and a draw.