By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Japanese heavyweight prospect, WBO#7/WBC#17 Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10 KOs), 222.75, impressively retained his OPBF and WBO ASPAC (Asia Pacific) belts when he made good use of fast footwork and hand speed, caught up with game Australian challenger OPBF#4 Randall Rayment (8-4, 3 KOs), 233.75, and sunk him for the count at 2:50 of the fifth round.
Rayment, having upset Herman Purcell (who lost to Kyotaro via TKO route with the vacant WBO ASPAC belt on the line) this July, was three inches taller and some ten pounds heavier than the fleet-footed champ.
Fujimoto, who had the hair dyed red as usual, outlegged and outspeeded the taller challenger, dominating the first two rounds with ease. Rayment, however, turned loose in round three and attempted to corner or pin the champ to the ropes with roundhouse shots, winning a point. But Fujimoto displayed a fine retaliation with a sharp one-two punctuated by a solid left to the side of the belly and took back the initiative in the fourth. After the fourth, all the officials (Aussie Mohammad, Thai Surat and Ukrit) saw it 39-37 in favor of Kyotaro.
The fifth witnessed Fujimoto accelerate his sharp attack and connect with a well-timed right following a left-right combo, badly dropping Rayment on the deck. The courageous Aussie barely pulled himself up only to be counted out by Japanese referee Yuji Fukuchi. It’s one of Kyotaro’s finest performance shown after his K-1 career since 2011.
The victor Fujimoto confidently said, “I’ll go anywhere at any time to challenge Joseph Parker in quest of his WBO heavyweight belt.”
Even the loser Rayment praised his speed, saying, “If Kyotaro faces Parker, it may be a competitive fight since he has good judgement of distance and good timing.”
In rugby test matches, New Zealand has been always a mercilessly one-sided winner over Japan. But Fujimoto may or may not be competitive with the unbeaten New Zealander.