Matsunaga halts Shimizu, keeps Japanese 154lb belt

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By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Japanese super welter champ Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1, 11 KOs), 154, kept stalking and whipping JBC#1 Yuto Shimizu (14-5-2, 5 KOs), 154, and finally halted him with the referee’s intervention at 2:24 of the seventh round on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.

The stout-built champ, a lefty Jake LaMotta stylist four inches shorter than the six footer, scored six stoppages in a row to display his aggressiveness and agility as well. Shimizu attempted to outpunch the shorter champ, but couldn’t handle him well like Sugar Ray only to absorb much punishment by the Japanese raging bull.

After the fifth, the non-stop punching Matsunaga was leading on points on open scoring system—50-45, 49-46, 48-47. The champ, a year his senior at 33, badly opened a gash over the challenger’s left eyebrow with his legal shots in round seven, when he accelerated his persistent attack so furiously that the ref Yoshida made a well-timed and well-received halt.

We wish to watch a competitive encounter of Matsunaga and WBO Asia Pacific 154-pound ruler Takeshi Inoue (who failed to win the WBO belt from Jaime Mungia in Houston last year).

Attendance: 720 (on the JBC’s regulation at the Korakuen Hall).

Promoter: Yokohama Hikari Promotions.

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