By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unbeaten tall southpaw Koki Inoue (13-0, 10 KOs), 140, captured the Japanese super-lightweight belt by outclassing veteran defending titlist Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11 KOs), 139.5, winning a unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 98-93) over ten hard-fought rounds last Saturday (April 6) in Tokyo, Japan.
Encouraged by his cousins/world champs Naoya and Takuma, the talented lefty Koki, 26, seemed to pay too much respect to the 37-year-old champ in earlier rounds, but kept his initiative almost all the way. Valentine failed to cut off the ring to catch up with the taller challenger, and was disappointedly less aggressive against the well-reputed challenger.