By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda
Unbeaten 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4 KOs), 126, impressively captured the OPBF featherweight belt when he recklessly mixed it up with defending champ Sa-Myong Noh (11-4, 4 KOs), a Korean brawler at 126, and finally dropped him in the fourth and halted him with a barrage of punches at 1:54 of the fifth session on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Shimizu, an exceptionally tall southpaw at 31, failed to win the gold medal in London, when he lost a 20-11 decision to Luke Campbell in the semi-final in 2012. He couldn’t be a Japanese representative for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, and promptly turned professional thereafter. Shimizu, an awkward puncher despite his advantageous height and reach, loves swapping punches in a short range, and decked a 3-0 mark—all within the distance. Shimizu, six years his senior, exchanged hot rallies from the outset, kept on battling toe-to-toe and sent him to the deck with a flurry of punches following effective body bombardments in round four. Going for a kill, Shimizu accelerated his attack and battered him to the punch to prompt the ref Fukuchi’s well-received stoppage in the fifth round.
Another important result was witnessed in the semi-windup, where upcoming southpaw Reiya Abe (15-2, 7 KOs), 129.75, surprisingly upset WBC#12/IBF#10 feather and three-time world challenger Satoshi Hosono (33-3-1, 22 KOs), 130, by a technical decision (90-81, 89-82 twice) due to the latter’s bad bleeding caused by a head butt at 0:57 of the ninth session. Abe, with his latest winning streak in six bouts, freely whipped a prefight favorite but fading veteran to accumulate points round after round. Though suffering a bad laceration due to a headbutt, Hosono, with a bloodied face, attempted to fight back hard, but Abe retaliated with better precision to maintain the initiative. It was also such a sad swan song as former world challenger Hisashi Amagasa disappointingly showed last Friday.