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WBO flyweight champ Kosei Tanaka defends title against Ryoichi Taguchi via unanimous decision


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.”

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