By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unbeaten WBC light-flyweight champ Ken Shiro (12-0, 6 KOs), 107.25, retained his belt as he easily demolished WBC#11 Panamanian Gilberto Pedroza (18-4-2, 8 KOs), 107.75, en route to a fine TKO victory at 1:12 of the fourth session on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. Ken, making his second defense since dethroning Mexican Ganigan Lopez this May, took the initiative from the second round on thanks to his superior speed and physical power to the shorter footworker. The fleet-footed champ, 25, kept moving to and fro and connected with a solid shot at a time and gradually hurt the challenger. The fourth witnessed Ken swam over Pedroza, also 25, with a flurry of punches to drop him near the ropes. Pedroza resumed fighting, but Shiro turned loose to have him on the deck again, which eventually prompted the referee’s intervention. The referee was Laurence Cole (US). The judges were Hubert Minn (US), Timothy Cheatham (US) and Ed Pearson (Canada), all of whom agreed that the champ had swept all rounds prior to the trick happening.
The winner’s best punch was a countering right in the fatal fourth, which had Pedroza staggering to the ropes that indicated he was so really hurt that he desperately tried to grab the aggressor. Ken accelerated his attack upstairs and downstairs, pinning him to the ropes to score a first knockdown. The loser’s second and final visit to the deck was also produced by Ken’s body bombardment.
The champ’s real name is Kenshiro Teraji, named after a hero Kenshiro of very popular comic strip “Hokuto no Ken” by his father Hisashi Teraji, former OPBF light heavyweight champ who scored an excellent mark of 20-1-3, 11 KOs with his only blemish inflicted by future world middleweight titlist Shinji Takehara in 1992. Teraji, once a politician and then a boxing club owner after his retirement, attempted to register his son’s ring name as Kenshiro in one word such as the comic strip’ hero or such as a baseball legend Ichiro in the major league. The Japan Boxing Commission (JBC), however, has a principle to have the registration with the given name and surname such as Joe (first name) and Koizumi (second name) in separation. Then, Teraji registered his son’s nom-de-guerre as Ken Shiro as if Ken is his surname and Shiro his given name.
His father Hisashi is a tall man standing 6’4”, while Ken Shiro a short person at 5’4”. But Ken is more talented as boxer than Hisashi. Shiro had an amateur career with 58-16, 20 stoppages as a student of Kansai University, but wasn’t such a first class amateur boxer though having won a national tournament once. His latest improvement in skills and punching power was remarkable enough to impress fight fans. Looking like a teenager, the baby faced champ wishes to be more famous among the television audience.
By demonstrating such an impressive performance, Ken Shiro may become a household name in the near future. The victor jubilantly said, “The final combination was a Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken, a lethal weapon throwing fifty punches within three seconds displayed by his comic strip hero Kenshiro. Now that my fight was telecast live, people may more recognize my name and face. The dejected loser gloomily said, “Ken Shiro is a good champion, but I didn’t expect my defeat by knockout. I tied to clinch him when his punch really hurt me, but he kept punching and finished me.”
Ken Shiro’s next will be against former champ Ganigan Lopez from whom he wrested the WBC belt. Ganigan may recognize his development in speed and power in their revancha (rematch).