By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
IBF#14 Japanese 115-pound champ Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12 KOs), 115, kept his national belt on a unanimous technical decision (88-84 twice, 88-83) over Yuta Matsuo (15-5-2, 8 KOs), 114.5, at 1:55 of the ninth round in a scheduled ten on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Having dethroned then world-rated Takayuki Okumoto by an upset decision in Osaka last December, the stylish upright southpaw Kenta took the initiative against the game willing mixer from the outset, utilizing his speed and skills to a great extent. After the fifth, the open scoring system indicated Nakagawa leading on points: 49-46, 48-47 twice. The ninth saw each suffer such a bad cut on an accidental butt—Nakagawa from the left eyebrow and Matsuo from the forehead—that the referee halted the proceedings and then wisely took the technical decision.
The 34-year-old veteran, in his second reign as the national titleholder, may face Okumoto to return an opportunity for him to regain the belt.
Highly expected ex-amateur three-time national champ, Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1 KO), 132, made a successful pro debut when he exploded his southpaw left to halt Yuya Azuma (5-4-1, 1 KO), 132.25, with the referee’s intervention at 1:23 of the second session in a scheduled six. Kimura, a tall lefty at 23 after his graduation of Toyo university, looked promising.
Promoter: Misako Promotions (at the Korakuen Hall behind closed doors).