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VETERAN YOSHINO CAPTURES JAPANESE SUPER-WELTER TITLE FROM KAWAI

Joe Koizumi

September 11, 2000

TOKYO, JAPAN-Veteran left hooker Hiroyuki Yoshino, 153 1/2, outhustled and displayed aggressiveness-if not precision in punching-to score a close but unanimous decision over defending champ Joya Kawai, 152 3/4, winning the Japanese national super-welter title over 10.

Kawai, making his second defense, tried to outleg and outspeed the comebacking old soldier, who remained positive and pugnacious enough to take the initiative.  Kawai, 3 years his junior at 29, occasionally landed southpaw lefts, but Yoshino threw plenty of his trade-mark left hooks and piled up points steadily.

Yoshino became tired due to missing many roundhouse blows in later rounds, and the champ started his retaliation from the 8th, which seemed a bit too late.  Yoshino, who had failed to win the WBA super-light belt on a 5th round KO here in 1993, previously kept his national welter diadem 14 times prior to his retirement after his OPBF 147-pound title was dethroned by Korean Sukhyun Yun in 1996.

Yoshino became a ill-fated kick-boxer, and eventually returned to our ring in March 1999, scoring three wins but losing an upset decision to Teruo Nagase in his previous appearance.>  The 32-year-old veteran showed his heart, if not his sharpness and power in his left hook, and thus gained his second national title.

Scored: Uchida 98-95, Uratani 97-95 and Asao 97-96, all for Yoshino, 34-8-1, 25 KOs.  Kawai, a nephew of Tetsuro Kawai (manager of ex-WBA fly champ Susumu Hanagata), fell to 10-3, 4 KOs.

Undercard:

Previously unbeaten Japanís #2 ranked welter Teppei Yasuda, 145 1/4, surprisingly tasted his first defeat as he hit the deck in the second and third, being stopped by unheralded Yoshinori Takenaka, 145 1/4, at 0:25 of the third session in a semi-final 10.

Yasuda dropped to 9-1-1, 1 KO.>  Takenaka, Japanese #7 ranked super-light, bettered his ledger to 15-3, 13 KOs.

Promoter: Noguchi Promotions.

(9-11-00)




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