By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Once-beaten ex-university amateur Katsuya Yasuda (11-1, 7 KOs), 134.5, struggled to acquire the vacant WBO Asia Pacific lightweight belt as he defeated previously unbeaten Thailander Apichet Petchmanee (15-1, 5 KOs), 134.5, by a unanimous decision (115-113, 116-111, 118-109) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. The climax was seen in round four, when Yasuda decked his muscular rival with a southpaw right hook, while Apichet dropped him back with a well-timed straight right to the button moments later. In the championship rounds Yasuda ran out of gas or mental power, repeating clinches time and again. It was Apichet that was penalized a point for throwing the ever-grabbing Japanese to the canvas in the final stanza, but the audience also criticized Yasuda’s repeated holding. The new champ Yasuda’s face was more grotesquely swollen with his absorption of the Thailander’s less aggressive but more effective shots.
The semi-windup saw formerly ten-time amateur national champ Kenji Fujita (4-0, 3 KOs), 126, halt unbeaten Filipino Daniel Nicolas (7-1, 4 KOs), at 0:54 of the second round in a scheduled eight. Fujita, whose amateur mark was 153-21, is a promising southpaw.
Promoter: Yokohama Hikari Promotions.