by Joe Koizumi

Mar. 7, 1998 TOKYO--Korakuen Hall--The WBC and WBA top ranked 105-pounder ROCKY LIN, 108, defeated a durable Filipino named ALPONG NAVAJA, 108, by a shutout decision over 10.

Lin, a Japanese-based Taiwanese, was an obvious winner, as the scoresheets indicated. But Lin was befuddled by Navaja's durability despite the lopsided proceedings. Lin suffered a cut over the left eyebrow, while Navaja on the skull, both upon their collisions of heads in the same 3rd. Piling up points steadily, Lin attempted to finish the affair with solid body shots following left-right combinations, but Navaja refused to go down until the end.

Lin, 26-1, 11 KOs, had an ambitious crack at the WBC strawweight throne against Ricardo Lopez only to be annihilated in two quick rounds in Tokyo in 1992. It's his sole but mentally damaging defeat.

Since then, Lin kept winning to zoom up to the top rank of the WBC and the WBA. He anticipates his participation in a vacant title bout of either the WBA or the WBC, if Lopez unify the WBC and the WBA titles and renounce both to outgrow the 108-division. But Lopez was held to a 7th-round technical draw by Rosendo Alvarez in Mexico City on Mar. 7.

Whether their rematch may materialize or not, both Lopez and Alvarez will hold their diadems for a while. It means that Lin will be obliged to continue his waiting game for the time being. Navaja reportedly fell to 21-34-7, 6 KOs.

The WBA #2 ranked junior fly contender JOMA GAMBOA, a hard-hitting Filipino, 109, survied a careless first-round visit to the deck, fought back to make Japanese lefty RYO KURUSHIMA, 108 1/2, take a standing count in the 4th and followed up en route to a stoppage at 2:17 of the 9th.

Gamboa had acquired the Fedelatin junior fly title on a surprising first round KO of ex-WBA ruler Carlos Murillo in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sept. 27. He moved up to the #2 rank of the WBA, and will move up to the top rank since the WBA champ Pichit Chor Siriwat beat #1 contender and compatriot Hadao CP Gym in Thailand on Mar. 1.

Gamboa, however, looked too eager to finish the underdog Kurushima, hitting a punch at a time. He must hit more blows in combination. Scored after the 8th: double 78-73 and 77-74, all for Gamboa, who raised his credentials to 23-3-1, 18 KOs. Kurushima, who had lately entered the Japanese top ten by whipping rated Nobuo Murasaki, fell to 7-5-3, 5 KOs. But Kurushima, with his experience in Karate, proved he could punch despite this defeat.

Lefty prospect GO KANEUCHI, 130, had a tough battle due to the tremendous fighting spirit and durability of Mexican warrior FERNANDO ALANIS, 130, but dropped him with a fine combination to make the referee intervene at 2:08 of the 8th.

Alanis was the tough hombre who fought a close battle prior to a 10th and final round stoppage by Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in Las Vegas in Dec., 1996. Kaneuchi sometimes scored his best shots to Alanis, who was never fading but responded to the Japanese lefty's solid combos with his roundhouse rallies.

The 8th saw Kaneuchi battered to the punch temporarily but retaliate with a fast and effective combination, dropping him on the deck. The third man didn't hesitate to declare a halt on Alanis hitting the deck. Kaneuchi, formerly All Japan high school champ, is 10-1, 6 KOs. Alanis reportedly dropped to 17-8-3, 8 KOs.

In a supporting 8-rounder, Japanese-based Mongolian Isoodolin Batnasan, 147, made it 3-0, 3 KOs, as he stopped Japanese Tomonori Ohara, 147, at 1:32 of the 2nd session.

Promoter: Teiken Promotions.

Joe Koizumi
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