Tanaka keeps WBO 108lb belt

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda

Unbeaten WBO junior flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6 KOs), 108, came off the canvas in the first round, fought back hard by utilizing his shifty footwork, dropped back Palangpol CP Freshmart (24-8, 10 KOs), 107.5, and finally halted him at 1:27 of the ninth round on Wednesday in Osaka, Japan.

It was surprising that Tanaka, the prohibitive favorite, hit the deck due to the Thailander’s sharp left-right combination in the end of the opening round. Tanaka, 22, tried to outbox and outpunch the challenger from the second on, hitting him upstairs and downstairs. Palangpol turned loose in the sixth, but Tanaka accelerated his attack and caught him with a beautiful combo followed by a solid right, decking Palaongpol to the canvas in the ninth. The Thailander barely resumed fighting, and Tanaka swarmed over him with a flurry of punches, when referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. (Puerto Rico) declared a well-timed halt. Prior to the stoppage, the official tallies were as follows: Gerard While (US), Jose Roberto Torres (Puerto Rico) both 77-74, William Lerch (US) 76-75, all for the defending champ. Tanaka had the left optic swollen after the first-round visit to the deck and the right eyebrow cut in the fourth, which made it look a tough affair for him.

Promoter: Ioka Promotions.
WBO supervisor: Tsuyoshi Yasukochi (Japan).

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