By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Who says we can see better matchups under the COVID-19 pandemic than previously? No way. It’s just because of our government’s regulation to keep foreign athletes/boxers from freely entering Japan and our promoters have been compelled to book fights of competitive compatriots.
A good example was the unification bout of the regional featherweight champs. OPBF champ and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu (10-1, 9 KOs), 125.5, outhustled and outscored WBO Asia Pacific ruler Musashi Mori (12-1, 7 KOs), 125.75, to win a unanimous nod (116-112, 118-110 twice) over twelve all-southpaw rounds on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
The 35-year-old Shimizu, unusually tall at 5’10.5” as a 126-pounder, welcomed Mori’s infighting to overcome their difference of height by 3.5” and outpunched him in the close quarter. Shimizu’s hit-and-grab and grab-and-grab tactics fully frustrated Mori, fourteen years his junior at 21, and it became the older man’s game with the open scoring after the eighth—78-74 twice and 78-75 in his favor. Mori, whose unluckiness was in his trainer Ismael Salas not working his corner due to the pandemic, accelerated his attack in the last four rounds but failed to show his last surge to overcome his point deficits.
Shimizu, who lost a 20-11 decision to Luke Campbell in the bantam semi-final of London Olympic Games in 2012, was better at utilizing his long arms in frequent clinches all the way.
WBA/IBF world bantam titleholder Naoya “Monster” Inoue, Shimizu’s stablemate, was in attendance.
Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.