By Joe Koizumi
Former Japanese super bantamweight champ Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 12 KOs), 122, regained the national belt when he floored defending titlist Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6 KOs), 121.75, in the fifth and won a unanimous decision (97-92, 96-93, 95-94) over ten hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
Kuga, when he was the champ, defeated Tamura on points and kept his title in July 2017. Kuga, however, yielded his throne to southpaw speedster Shingo Wake via tenth round TKO last July. Wake then relinquished his belt to pursue his way to have an ambitions shot at the world belt again (as he once failed to win the vacant IBF belt by an eleventh round stoppage in 2016).
Tamura, a perennial contender, acquired the vacant national belt and participated in a rematch with Kuga with his newly gained belt at stake. It’s unfortunate Tamura hit the deck in the first half and couldn’t overcome his deficits on points because of Kuga’s determined retaliation against the champ’s last surge.