Kurihara keeps OPBF 118lb belt; Matsunaga wins Japanese 154lb belt

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Hard-punching OPBF bantamweight champ Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12 KOs), 118, successfully made his initial defense when he stunned the crowd with a quick demolition of former world challenger, Filipino veteran Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23 KOs), 117.5, with a single right shot to the side of the head at only 0:35 into the opening session of a scheduled twelve on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
Kurihara Matsunaga
Parrenas, who once had an ambitious crack at the WBO 115-pound belt against Naoya “Monster” Inoue only to sink in two quick rounds in 2015, now suffered three consecutive losses.

Perennial contender and ex-WBO AP champ Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9 KOs), 153.75, captured the Japanese national 154-pound belt by halting defending titlist Hiroyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8 KOs), 153.75, after the sixth session in a scheduled ten. The much shorter but stout-built southpaw Matsunaga kept battering the elongated but overpowered champ, also lefty Shindo and stalking him from pillar to post to have him absorb so much punishment that his corner finally decided to surrender on the stool.

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