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Sho Ishida failed in his first attempt to claim a world title on Saturday when he lost on a unanimous decision to reigning champion Khalid Yafai in their World Boxing Association super flyweight match.

Although Ishida had his moments, Yafai won his mandatory title defense comprehensively on the judges’ scorecards 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. The Briton extended his perfect record to 23-0 including 14 knockouts.

But Yafai, 28, said, “I wasn’t too impressed (with my performance). A bit sluggish, but I got the win against an awkward opponent.

“My hands are sore, so we’ll see how long they will keep me out. If I could get out in the spring, that would be great,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

For his part, Ishida, who is now 24-1 with 13 knockout wins, had no complaints about the result.

“I am disappointed but (the result) is fair. It would have been strange if I had been named the winner,” said Ishida, who caught Yafai with a sharp right in the seventh round but gradually ran out of steam.

Ishida had hoped that Yafai would be deducted points for a low head charge but admitted that he “just wasn’t good enough.”

“I thought I would be able to land more punches but it didn’t turn out that way,” the 25-year-old added.

“(Yafai) came out right from the start, although I had figured that would be the case. I can’t finish like this. I accept today’s defeat and will definitely aim for another shot at a world title,” he said.

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