By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unbeaten WBC light-flyweight champ Kenshiro Teraji (18-0, 10 KOs), 107.25, kept his belt as he displayed his superior speed on hand and foot, winning a unanimous decision (118-109 twice, 119-108) over Tetsuya Hisada (34-11-2, 20 KOs), 108, over twelve fast rounds on Saturday in Osaka, Japan. Teraji floored Hisada with a well-timed overhand right in round two to take the initiative from then on. The referee was Yuji Fukuchi, Japan.
It was a less spectacular contest though the champ making his eighth defense won as expected. It was like a Tom-and-Jerry race with Hisada stalking all the way, while Teraji retreating and circling with some counters to the onrushing challenger.
The officials’ tallies might show a one-sided game, but it wasn’t so but a monotonous accumulation of close rounds, almost all of which went to the less aggressive champ who, however, connected with better precision.
Hisada, formerly a long-time Japanese national titlist, already 36, started well from the outset, winning the first and third rounds on a couple of judges’ scores. But the fleet-footed champ’s left-right combo decked the challenger so early in the second, which deprived Hisada of his rhythm and fight plan in following rounds.
After the fourth, the WBC open scoring system showed Teraji leading on points—38-37 twice and 40-35 all in the champ’s favor. The differences on the tallies would become wider as the contest progressed.
Moving side-to-side and to-and-fro, Teraji, 29, averted nearly all Hisada threw in pursuing the Fancy Dan, who kept jabbing, moving and countering on his safety-first game plan.
The tallies announced after the eighth clearly proved it’s Kenshiro’s game—78-72 twice and 79-72. It also proved that Hisada wouldn’t be victorious unless he should score a come-from-behind knockout in any of the last four sessions.
It appeared the delayed runner attempted to fully exert himself to catch up with the frontrunner by a mile in the marathon race. The last four sessions saw Hisada seldom land any effective shots to the champ still floating like a butterfly. It was revealed–after the fight–that Hisada suffered an optical accident upon his second-round visit to the deck that unfortunately caused a double vision thereafter.
Teraji, in the last four rounds, connected well with a few jabs, uppercuts and right crosses despite his energy-saving strategy. Hisada, though throwing much more blows, hit only the air. The champ swept all with ease down the stretch.
Originally slated on December 19, this contest had to be re-scheduled four months later because of the champ Teraji’s unsocial misdemeanor that he had destroyed a stranger’s car while he was heavily intoxicated. Though he proved he could punch, he was eventually suspended for three months and fined some 30,000 USD by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC).
Kenshiro apologized for his previous scandal on the ring. “I deeply sorry to have badly bothered people concerned as well as Hisada.
Now that he sincerely reflected on his unpleasant affair, he will not do it again.
The crestfallen loser said in the dressing room, “I will hang up gloves for good. I have done all with my best efforts. I simply appreciate warm supports by my people and my family.” He was truly a game warrior.
Another winner might be the promoter Masato Yamashita of Shinsei Promotions. Our government just declared a state of emergency to avert the nationwide infection of the COVID-19 from Sunday to May 11—for the third time. Just a day prior to the declaration, he could breathlessly have this event done as scheduled—with some 2,200 spectators in attendance. It was the very first world title contest staged here in Japan this year.