By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
IBF#4 Keita Obara (23-4-1, 21 KOs), 146.5, dethroned Japanese welterweight champ Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13 KOs), 146.5, via a lopsided TKO win at 2:39 of the seventh round on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
The more experienced Obara, formerly national and OPBF 140-pound ruler, was in complete command from the outset despite the defending champ Nagano’s occasional retaliation, leading on points with 50-44 by all judges on the open scoring system after the fifth session. Nagano fought back hard in round six, but his damage was so obvious that his corner, in the next round, signaled a surrender to have the ref Biney Martin halt the proceedings.
Obara previously had an unsuccessful crack at the IBF 140-pound throne against Eduard Troyanovsky only to be dispatched with a single shot in round two in Moscow in 2016. Obara, 33, is gunning for his second shot at any of world welterweight belts.