• Kyodo


Kosei Tanaka successfully defended his WBO flyweight title for the second time after defeating Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez by technical knockout on Saturday.

Tanaka knocked down the Puerto Rican southpaw with punishing body blows in the third and fourth rounds at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena before the referee stopped the match shortly before the bell in the seventh.

“I was thinking that my strategy would be to make it a contest of speed, but I wasn’t able to,” said the 24-year-old Tanaka, who improved to 14-0 with eight knockouts. “Still, I think I have the ability to win like that.”

Tanaka’s father, Hitoshi, who is also his trainer, said, “I gave him instructions to get it done (before the start of the seventh round). I noticed that if he fights with confidence, he’ll get that kind of result.”

Gonzalez fell to 22-3 with 13 KOs.

Tanaka, a three-division champion with previous world titles at minimumweight and light flyweight, won the WBO flyweight belt off Sho Kimura last year and beat compatriot Ryoichi Taguchi in his first title defense in March.

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