Orient Report

by Joe Koizumi


June 15
TOKYO--Korakuen Hall--Lanky boxer-puncher RICK "YOSHIMURA" ROBERTS, 134 1/2, proved too strong and sharp for less experienced ANDREI BUNTA, 134 1/4, as the Japanese-based US military worker lopsidedly battered him to prompt the referee's intervention at 0:21 of the 7th to retain his Japanese national lightweight title for the 14th time. Rick boosted his credentials to 31-5, 18 KOs, including his two defeats in as many outings in New York. Bunta fell to 10-4-5, 6 KOs.

It looked like a mismatch because of Rick's superior speed and accuracy in his combination punching. In the 5th and 6th, Rick had him at bay with his onesided rallies to the face and belly. When Rick swarmed over Andrei in the fatal session, referee Ukrid Sarasas wisely declared a halt to the lopsided affair.

Rick, WBA #9 ranked 135-pounder, is 33 years of age, but he is still young, fresh and strong. He regained the national light crown by outscoring Hiroyuki Maeda in Jan., 1995, and kept it 14 times since with 8 inside the distance. Rick, an Alexis Arguello stylist, had once lost his Japanese title on an upset 9th-round TKO by upcoming Hiroyuki Sakamoto, currently ranked #3 by the WBC, in Dec., 1993. Rick is eager to revenge this defeat on Sakamoto, who, however, is gunning for the WBC crown against newly crowned Cesar Bazan in Yokohama on Aug. 23. Rick registered 16 victories straight.

Fast-rising bantam hard-puncher Shigeru Nakazato, 118, needed just 1:38 of the opening session, as he exploded a vicious left hook following a solid right and sank Filipino Eddie Felisilda, 117 1/4, in a scheduled 10. Nakazato, a sturdy and muscular puncher, scored 12 wins straight and bettered his mark to 14-1, 9 KOs. The JBC #3 ranked bantam Nakazato needs more speed on foot and hand, and more flexibility on the upper body, but none can deny he can punch. Felisilda, GAB #12 minifly, reportedly dropped to 16-9-3, 8 KOs.

JBC #3 light fly Ryuji Muramatsu, 108, was awarded a very quick TKO win, as he showed an opening attack to JBC #6 contender Satoshi Yoshida, 108, and pinned him to the ropes, when referee Hiroyuki Tezaki abruptly called a halt at 0:27 of the first round in a scheduled 10. Muramatsu, who had failed to win the national light fly title only to lose to Hidenobu Honda twice, raised his mark to 15-4, 7 KOs. Yoshida impaired to 12-10-2, one KO.
Co-promoters: Kyoei and Ishikawa Promotions.

June 16
TOKYO--Korakuen Hall--JBC #4 ranked feather Atsushi Hagiwara, 125, had a tough time with Shinya Kiuchi, #7 ranked feather, but earned a close but unanimous decision (78-77, 79-76 and 79-77) over 8. Hagiwara, who had failed to win the national feather title via a split verdict to Takashi Koshimoto, is 19-4, 9 KOs. Kiuchi fell to 12-5-1, 5 KOs.

Unbeaten but slower swinger Taiji Okamoto, 119 1/4, extended his unbeaten streak to 11-0-1, 9 KOs, as he won a unanimous nod (double 79-75 and 79-76) over Kenta Shimizu, 120, over 8. Oakmoto, a stout-built puncher, couldn't catch the game willing mixer Shimizu, who dipped to 11-5-1, 4 KOs.
Promoter: Kokubunji Saito Promotions.

June 17
TOKYO--Korakuen Hall--This is a card presented by Misako Group consisting of ex-Orient fly champ Hitoshi Misako, ex-Orient welter champ Yoshinori Takahashi, ex-WBA world junior middle champ Koichi Wajima, ex-Orient bantam champ Takao Sakurai, ex-Orient light boss Shinichi Kadota, ex-WBA junior middle contender Masahiro Misako and Akio Kanai. They were managed by Misako, and then established their own gyms after their retirements. Misako Group regularly shows a card featuring all bouts by their boys.

Akifumi Yoshizaki, 126, floored Hiroshi Watanabe, 126, with a straight right, and the latter raised himself up, but the towel was tossed in to save the loser from further punishment at 2:14 of the 5th in a scheduled 6. (This was the main event.) Yoshizaki is 6-2, 6 KOs. Watanabe fell to 6-5, a KO.

June 13
KITAKYUSHU--Kokura Kita Gymnasium--Tatsuichi Hanayama, 117 3/4, decked an upset TKO victory over previously unbeaten Tomohito Higashijima, 117, as the underdog battered the prefight favorite so lopsidedly as to prompt the referee's well-received stoppage at 1:13 of the 6th round in a scheduled 10. Hanayama is 8-3-1, 6 KOs. Higashijima tasted his first defeat and dropped to 8-1, 7 KOs.

Daisuke Nakahara, 115 1/2, floored Isamu Murakami, 115 3/4, with a flurry of punches in the opening round, which carried him to a close but unanimous decision (double 96-95 and 97-96) over 10. But for the first round knockdown, Murakami would have been a points victor. In the second half Murakami was an aggressor, as Nakahara ran out of gas and kept retreating and clinching to avoid his opponent's retaliations. Nakahara is 8-3-2, 3 KOs. Murakami is 7-9-2, a KO.

Local favorite Hidezo Kai, 140, JBC #8 super light, won a shutout decision over Yuji Maruyama, 141, over 8. The 6th saw the loser throw him down to the canvas a la judo. Kai then became furious and battered him to the punch in return. It was a fiasco. Kai, who previously failed to win the Japanese national junior welter (super light) title only to sink in the first round in the pevious year, is 13-3, 7 KOs. Maruyama is 3-2, a KO.
Promoter: Takahashi Promotions.

Joe Koizumi
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