By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
On the day of our government’s announcement that no foreigners shall enter Japan for fear of a possible invasion of a new coronavirus variant until end-January, a sensational encounter of our rival compatriots was a highly anticipated attraction despite the JBC’s regulated attendance. Unbeaten OPBF 130-pound champ Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3 KOs), 135, eked out a hairline majority decision (96-94 twice, 95-95) over former WBO junior lightweight champ Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14 KOs), 134.75, on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
Mishiro, a taller jabber, started well with his trade-mark left hand, but Ito who yielded his WBO belt to Jamel Herring last year maintained the pressure and overcame his deficits on points in early rounds. It was Mishiro that kept jabbing with precision in the second half to avert Ito’s further retaliation. Close as it was, Mishiro, three years his junior at 26, looked superior in precision and effectiveness of his jabs and left-right combinations, which had Ito’s left optic bruised and puffed as the contest progressed.
Former OPBF champ, IBF#12/WBO#13 122-pounder Ryo Akaho (36-2-2, 24 KOs), 121.75, displayed his strength in decking overmatched Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8 KOs), 121.5, twice en route to a fine stoppage at 1:52 of the second round in a scheduled eight.
Unbeaten super-light prospect Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9 KOs), 139.75, impressively acquired the Japanese youth 140-pound belt by a quick demolition of Aso Ishiwaki (8-3-1, 6 KOs), 140, at 2:50 of the third session in a scheduled eight. Sasaki, 19, can punch and looks very promising.
Having returned from Mexico, Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 13 KOs), 146, outhustled less experienced Takeru Obata (8-5-1, 3 KOs), 146, winning a unanimous nod (79-73 twice, 77-75) over eight.
Promoter: Yokohama Hikari Promotions.