By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Former Japanese flyweight champ Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8 KOs), 115.75, appeared for the first time since he failed to win the WBA 115-pound belt by a unanimous decision loss to Khalid Yafai in Birmingham UK last May, and barely defeated compatriot Ken Achiwa (11-13-5, 4 KOs), 116.75, by a close but unanimous nod (all 76-75) over eight hard-fought rounds on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.
The more experienced Muranka floored his foe with a solid left hook in the opening session, and people thought it would be a matter of time. But the fight went against their wish to go out of the Hall early to drink at cold night. The game Achiwa came out fighting toe-to-toe and had Muranaka befuddled with his volume of punches despite his better precision. Suguru, a fine combination puncher, was forced to mix it up and fought a see-saw battle in every round thereafter. It’s fortunate Muranaka emerged victorious even with such a hairline verdict.