Keeps Japanese 112lb belt
By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Hard-punching Japanese flyweight champ Yuri Seigo Akui (16-2-1, 11 KOs), 112, impressively retained his national belt when he finally caught up with unbeaten speedster Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4 KOs), 112, at 2:49 of the tenth and final round on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Akui floored the fast-moving challenger with a smashing right in the closing seconds of the opening session, and had the upper hand despite Kuwahara’s retaliation in the first half, the interim scores of which were in the champ’s favor: 48-46 twice for Akui, 47-47.
Fully utilizing his hand speed and faster footwork, Kuwahara made his best efforts to overcome his early deficits on points. But the sturdy Akui, making his second defense, occasionally scored with a solid shot at a time, still leading after the ninth: 86-84 twice (Akui), 85-85.
Kuwahara, formerly an amateur boxer with 68 contests, was so exhausted with his too high pace in the tenth, he looked like a Sugar Ray Robinson against a patiently stalking Joey Maxim. Akui’s vicious right was a haymaker that sank Taku flat on the deck so that he was carried out of the ring on a stretcher. Akui, who had scored nine first-round stoppages, collected another victim within the distance.
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.