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.
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.