by Joe Koizumi

Apr. 20, 1998
TOKYO, JAPAN--Korakuen Hall--WBA #7 ranked junior bantam TAKATO TOGUCHI, 115, found it easy to sink Filipino RUDY IDANO, 115, with a single shot to the side of the belly at 0:40 of the 2nd round in a scheduled 10. Toguchi raised his mark to 22-3, 19 KOs. Idano fell to 29-29-10, 12 KOs (according to Phil Marder's record book).

Toguchi had an unsuccessful shot at the WBC flyweight throne against Yuri Arbachakov in Aug., 1996, but he thus registered 4 straight wins--all within the distance--after his comeback. Toguchi, however, needs more sharpness in punching and mobility, if he copes with Filipino lefty Gerry Penalosa in a quest for his WBC super-fly title.

Upcoming Shigeru Nakazato, JBC #3 ranked bantie, 118, scored a one-punch KO to extend his winning streak to 11, when he embalmed Filipino Joseph Paden, 116 1/4, with a left hook to the jaw at 0:50 of the 2nd round in a semi-final 10. Nakazato, a hard-hitting prospect, bettered his ledger to 13-1, 9 KOs. If he gains more smoothness, he may be a dangerous opposition to the national champ Shin Yamato. Paden reportedly fell to 32-17-2, 12 KOs.

Formerly world-rated ex-Japanese junior welter champ Hiromu Kuwata (who began fighting under the new ring name of Yoshihiro Kuwata), JBC #1 ranked contender, 139 1/2, surprisingly suffered a TKO defeat at the hand of unheralded Takayuki Yoshioka, 140, at 2:41 of the 9th canto.

Kuwata was, of course, a prefight favorite, but Yoshioka fought better than expected and remained aggressive especially in later rounds. In the fatal 9th, Yoshioka landed a very effective right and pinned him to the ropes with a fusillade of punches. The ref intervened to save Kuwata from further punishment. Kuwata, who had previously defended his national title 10 times, dropped to 23-4-2, 16 KOs. Yoshioka, a lanky upset victor, is 10-3, 6 KOs.
Promoter: Kyoei Promotions.

Apr. 20
OSAKA--Osaka Prefectual Gymnasium #2--Kazumasa Otani, 116 3/4, outscored Filipino Roque Murillo, 116 1/2, over 10.

Yoshio Hattori, 126, upset Isao Ohno, 125 1/2, on an unexpected KO at 2:20 of the 6th in a scheduled 10. Ohno had entered the Japanese top ten thanks to his upset victory over veteran footworker Atsushi Tamaki, but he was beaten by the underdog.

Apr. 15, 1998
TOKYO--Korakuen Hall--Lefty KO artist with a notorious lantern jaw, FUSAAKI TAKENAGA, JBC #2 junior feather contender, 121 1/2, astonishingly hit the deck twice in the 1st, once more in the 2nd, came back to weaken unranked KOICHI HORIE, 120 3/4, with persistent body shots, but was declared a loser on a technical decision at 2:47 of the 7th, as the latter's gash on the right forehead got worsened. Takenaga, 19-5, 18 KOs, had often came off the canvas to sink his opponent, but Horie showed his determination and durability to withstand Takenaga's retaliations. The upset winner Horie, who will enter the national top ten without doubt, is 10-2, 5 KOs.

JBC #8 ranked junior welter Yasuhito Kasagi, 140, landed a wicked left hook following solid combinations, and chalked up a fine KO win over Norimasa Abiko, 140, at 0:22 of the 3rd round in a semi-final 10. Kasagi, 13-5-1, 12 KOs, utilized his physical advantage so fully as to overpower the legitimate junior lightie. Abiko impaired to 7-7-2, 4 KOs.

Unbeaten ex-All Japan high school champ Toshiharu Kaneyama, 157, easily demolished Korean Kwangbok Choi, 157 3/4, at 1:16 of the 2nd round in a supporting 8.
Promoter: Misako Promotions.
PS It was a first card to be presented on pay-per-view basis through DirecTV.

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