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Mori decisions Watanabe, wins vacant OPBF super featherweight title

Jun 25, 2023 10:12 am

Third-ranked Musashi Mori of Shisei Boxing Gym, scoring a knockdown in the 12th and final round, won a unanimous decision over fifth-ranked Takuya Watanabe of DANGAN AOKI boxing gym and won the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super featherweight title on June 24 in Tokyo.

It was a direct rematch between the two as they fought to a 12-round draw in the OPBF title fight last March. But this time all three judges scored the fight 117-110 in favor of Mori.

Fighting at Ota City General Gymnasium, both got off to a relatively quiet start. But the left-handed Mori landed straight lefts to the head and body earlier in the fight. While the 34-year-old Watanabe rallied with left and right uppercut, Mori, 23, connected with a right hook to the head to keep his lead.

Aware he is behind on points, Watanabe forced forward and occasionally landed his favorite uppercuts. At the end of the eighth round, Mori led the fight only by 2 points on the official scorecards and did not warrant any optimism for him.

But Mori, utilizing his side-to-side movement, picked up points by landing left punches at crucial juncture and floored Watanabe with a beautiful straight left to the head in the final round for a mandatory eight count. Though Mori failed to knock him out, he ended the fight on top.

After the fight, Mori said, ‘’This win only serves as a way station for moving to a world title challenge. Based on today’s fight, I want to win a world title.’’

With the win, Mori improved his record to 14 wins, including seven knockouts, against a loss and a draw, while Watanabe impaired to a 39-12-2 win-loss-draw tally with 22 KOs.

The fight was held as one of the chief supporting cards for the World Boxing Association super flyweight title match.

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