By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unbeaten younger brother WBC#9/WBA#10/IBF#13/WBO#14, bantam prospect Takuma Inoue (10-0, 2 KOs), 119, defeated former Japanese titlist Kentaro Masuda (27-9, 15 KOs), 118.25, by a unanimous decision (98-92, 97-93, 96-94) over ten hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. Takuma, a talented speedster, had a tougher time than expected with the 34-year-old veteran Masuda though taking the initiative in earlier rounds. Takuma, twelve years his junior at 22, mixed it up toe-to-toe in the middle of the contest, and then had to change his strategy to his original hit-and-run because of Masuda’s persistent retaliation in the second half. Hurting the veteran with a solid countering right in round nine, Takuma kept his accumulation on points to seize an elaborated triumph. Takuma was scheduled to face the then WBO 118-pound ruler Marlon Tapales in December of the previous year, but unfortunately suffered a hand fracture to cancel the world title go. He made a comeback to beat former world challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (now fighting as Hiroyuki Kudaka) this August, and this was his second comeback appearance. He needs more power as shown by his low knockout ratio.