GIFU – Kosei Tanaka defended his World Boxing Organization flyweight title Saturday with a victory over compatriot Ryoichi Taguchi by unanimous decision.
All three judges scored the fight for Tanaka following a fierce 12-round battle at Gifu Memorial Center.
The 23-year-old from Gifu Prefecture took control after the opening rounds, using his exceptional speed to wear his opponent down. With the win, he improved to 13-0 with seven knockouts.
Tanaka, who is trained by his father, said he still saw room for improvement despite winning in convincing fashion.
“I’m glad I was finally able to fight Taguchi. It went better than I imagined. I’m not completely satisfied with my performance, but it was a good fight,” Tanaka said.
The title defense was the first at flyweight for Tanaka, a three-division champion who has previously won belts at minimumweight and light flyweight.
Though battling from behind throughout, Taguchi continued to press for a win with a determined display of counterpunching.
The 32-year-old — a former World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation light flyweight champion — said he was mulling his future following the loss.
“I wanted to box a more technical fight, but I just wasn’t able to,” ,” said Taguchi, who dropped to 27-4 (12 KOs).
“Tanaka was physically very strong and fought with incredible confidence. I’m going to give my future a bit of thought.”