Keeps Japanese 115lb belt
By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Do you remember ex-OPBF two-division champ Yuji Watanabe (25-5, 23 KOs), a very popular KO artist in 1990’s, who unfortunately failed to win world belts from Genaro Hernandez (TKO’d 6) and from Wilfredo Vazquez (KO’d 5) in 1992 and 1997 respectively.
His cousin WBC#22 Suzumi Takayama (7-0, 6 KOs), 114.75, a southpaw hard-puncher like his uncle, impressively turned the tables and kept his Japanese super-fly belt by scoring a fine TKO victory over former WBO AP ruler and JBC#1 Tsubasa Murachi (10-2-1, 3 KOs), 114.75, at 2:44 of the eighth round in a scheduled ten on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
The challenger had an upper hand in the first half, leading on points despite suffering a flash knockdown in round three: 48-46 twice, 47-47. The announcement of the open scoring after the fifth was a wakeup call for the champ Takayama, who turned loose from the sixth. He caught up with the early starter in the eighth, when he decked him twice and prompted the ref’s intervention.
Promoter: Dangan Promotions.