By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
An OPBF title twinbill took place on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan, and we saw both defending champions successfully keep their belts after hard-fought battles. OPBF super-bantam titlist Hidenori Otake (29-2-3, 13 KOs), a shaven skulled Japanese veteran, 121.75, retained his throne as he displayed his great durability and abundant stamina in finally finishing Kinshiro Usui (27-6, 11 KOs), 122, with persistent body bombardments at 3:04 of the tenth round.
Having failed to win the WBA 122-pound belt from Scott Quigg via nearly lopsided decision in Liverpool in 2014, Otake scored six wins straight since and acquired the vacant OPBF belt by beating Filipino Jelbirt Gomera this March. Otake withstood Usui’s sharper lefts in earlier rounds, fought back patiently and had him gradually slowing down with continual combinations downstairs. Usui, a year his senior at 37, knelt down with the champ’s tenacious assault with the towel fluttering from the corner. A towel-tossing during the ref’s counting has the result registered as a knockout here in Japan.
OPBF super-fly champ, Filipino Rene Dacquel (20-6-1, 6 KOs), 114.25, showed his toughness and heart, and kept his regional belt by a unanimous nod (115-113, 116-112, 117-111) over Japan’s Hayato Kimura (21-7, 13 KOs), 115, with blond dyed hair, over twelve. After the eighth, the open scoring system indicated it was nearly even: 76-76 twice and 77-75 for Dacquel. But the game and gallant Filipino dominated three rounds in the last four sessions to confirm his victory.
The man who had inflicted a sole setback to the current IBF 122-pound champ Yukinori Oguni, former OPBF super-bantam titleholder Shingo Wake (21-5-2, 13 KOs), 121.75, returned to ring warfare after a year since he suffered an eleventh round stoppage by Jonathan Guzman in quest of the IBF belt last July, and halted ex-Japanese interim 122-pound ruler Mikihito Seto (34-14-3, 18 KOs), 121.5, at 2:31 of the fifth session. Wake, an upright lefty, had him in trouble from the first round and battered him nearly at will until the well-received stoppage by the ref Asao. Wake needs to improve his precision in punching the target on his future comeback trail.