Unbeaten Yoshino barely keeps Japanese 135lb belt

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By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda

Unbeaten Japanese lightweight titlist Shuichiro Yoshino (12-0, 10 KOs), 135, barely retained his national belt, but had a very tough time coping with taller fast-moving counterpuncher Izuki Tomioka (7-3-1, 2 KOs), 135, and scored a come-from-behind stoppage at 1:55 of the eighth round in a scheduled ten on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.

Surprisingly the prohibitive favorite Yoshino hit the deck with his careless absorption of Tomioka’s short right to the button in the opening session.  Though regaining his feet, the champ looked rubbery legged for a while and managed to have a narrow escape.

It became a see-saw battle since as Yoshino desperately fought back and kept stalking the foxy footworker to take some counters from the challenger.  Obviously taking the sixth and seventh, the challenger revealed his fatigue and then the champ swarmed over him to turn the tables.  His furious attack paid off with Tomioka finally sagging to be saved by the ref Nakamura.  Yoshino, formerly an excellent amateur star, experienced his toughest pro bout and it was a good lesson for him.

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