By Joe Koizumi
Unbeaten two-class WBO world champ Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs), 112, impressively decked also undefeated, #13 Ronnie Baldonado (10-1-1, 7 KOs), 111.5, in round four and finally halted him at 2:26 of the ninth session on Saturday in Nagoya, Japan.
Baldonado, whose de facto manager is Manny Pacquiao of MP Promotions, furiously started attacking Tanaka from the outset, swinging roundhouse solid shots, but the ex-champ, 22, cleverly averted them and connected with short but more effective counters to the onrushing opponent. Having swept the first three rounds with precision, Tanaka badly sent him to the deck in agony with a wicked left hook to the belly, but Baldonado amazingly stood up and came back fighting on.
Since then, Tanaka battered the game Filipino from all angles, but Baldonado admirably fought back hard with many but less accurate combinations. Tanaka kept controlling the contest and piling up a point in every session. After the eighth, all the officials identically tallied 80-71 in Kosei’s favor. The fatal ninth witnessed Kosei accelerate his attack to the retreating rival, when the referee Fukuchi wisely declared a halt to stop the affair. WBO world flyweight champ Sho Kimura was in attendance along with his manager Ariyoshi. We look forward to seeing the encounter of Kimura and Tanaka with a high expectation of Tanaka attempting to gain his third world belt in his twelfth pro bout, as Lomachenko is aiming to.
The semi-windup saw the promoter/ex-WBC champ Kiyoshi Hatanaka’s son, Kento (5-0, 5 KOs), 112, decked his fifth pro victory by stopping JBC#5 Kenta Matsui (8-8, 1 KO), 112.25, at 2:15 of the fifth round in a scheduled eight. Kento, aggressive all the way, may need more skills to cope with higher ranked compatriots, but looks promising at this stage of his career.
Promoter: Hatanaka Promotions.