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Ex-world minimumweight champ Takayama returns to ring with win in light flyweight fight

Jun 13, 2023 9:17 am

  Former world minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama of Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club, overcoming the sixth-round knockdown, pounded out a unanimous decision over Joel Lino of the Philippines in a light flyweight eight-rounder in Kyoto on June 11.

  It was the 40-year-old Takayama’s first fight since losing to then World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Elwin Soto of Mexico with a ninth-round technical knockout in Dallas, Texas in May 2021.

  Fighting at KBS Hall in Kyoto, fleet-footed Takayama controlled the fight by moving side to side while landing occasional counterpunches.

  Though Takayama was sent down to the canvas in the closing moment of the sixth stanza due to Lino’s straight right, his damage was light as he rebounded by connecting with a variety of blows to the head and body in the following round and ended the fight on top.

  After the fight, Takayama said, ‘’Though I injured my right arm during the training and had to depend mostly on my left jabs, I think I was able to show the new Takayama. I started boxing when I was 15-years-old, I hope I can continue fighting until I am convinced about it.’’

  With the victory, Takayama improved his record to 33 wins, including nine KOs, against nine losses, while the 28-year-old Lino fell to a 12-5-1 win-loss-draw tally with five KOs.

  Takayama, who made a professional debut in 2000, became the World Boxing Council minimumweight champion in 2005. He then captured the World Boxing Association minimumweight interim title in 2006. He also won the International Boxing Federation minimumweight title in 2013 and then the WBO title in the same division in 2014, becoming the first Japanese to win all the given titles of the four major sanctioning bodies.

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