By Joe Koizumi
Former world challenger and ex-OPBF featherweight champ Hiroshige Osawa (34-5-4, 20 KOs), 125.75, very impressively finished highly regarded WBA#7 Belmar Preciado (18-2-1, 11 KOs), 125.25, when he continually battered the breadbasket of the Colombian, had him visibly slowing down and finally dropped him twice en route to a clean knockout victory at 2:33 of the ninth round on Saturday in Osaka, Japan.
Having failed to win the WBO 126-pound belt at the hand of Oscar Valdez via seventh round stoppage in Las Vegas in November 2016, Osawa scored three wins since but dropped his last to former WBA 122-pound ruler and compatriot Shun Kubo by a split duke this April.
But Osawa, an aggressive boxer-puncher, had his stock raised with this triumph over the world rated Preciado.
His fight plan to aim at the belly worked well, and Preciado kept retreating to avert Osawa’s body shots as the contest progressed. The seventh saw Hiroshige catch him with a solid right following a barrage of punches, flooring him in the closing seconds of the eighth. Osawa, in the fatal ninth, exploded a vicious left-right combo and sent him sprawling to the deck again.
The veteran victor said, “I’m happy to get world rated again so that I’ll have a second world title shot.” The crestfallen loser Belmar admitted his defeat by a knockout, prior to which the official tallies had been 79-73, 78-73 and 77-75, all for Osawa.