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Tanaka stopped by Panya in WBC minimumweight title fight in Thailand, decides to retire

Jun 29, 2023 10:23 am

The World Boxing Council’s ninth-ranked minimumweight Norihito Tanaka of Misako Boxing Gym was stopped by champion Panya Pradabsri of Thailand in the eighth round and failed to capture the title on June 28 in Thailand.

With the defeat, his second straight to Panya in Thailand following the one in August last year, the 38-year-old Tanaka announced his retirement from the ring.

The technical knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder at Rayong came 2 minutes and 11 seconds into the round when Tanaka’s cornerman urged the referee to call off the fight when Tanaka was sent reeling along the ring with Panya’s punches.

It was the 32-year-old Panya’s fourth successful defense of the title he captured in November 2020.

Both fighters went toe-to-toe from the opening bell. But Tanaka hit the canvas in the first round with Panya’s well-timed left hook to the head. Tanaka got up quickly for a mandatory eight count and resumed fighting again at close range.

In the third round, the damaged Tanaka was sent back to the ropes with Panya’s straight rights. While the referee appeared to step in, Tanaka hung tough and lasted the round.

The gutsy Tanaka, however, exchanged blows toe-to-toe from the fourth round. But the accumulation of the damage was such that he was put visibly on the defensive in the eighth round, prompting the decision of Tanaka’s cornerman.

After the fight, Tanaka responded to Japanese reporters’ questions on Zoom, ‘’Since our fighting styles mesh well each other, I started out strong. But it was me who got hit hard first. I tried my best so I have no regrets.’’

‘’I did my best during training. This was my last fight,’’ Tanaka added.

It was Tanaka’s third world title matches in Thailand as he was decisioned by World Boxing Association minimumweight kingpin CP Knockout Freshmart (whose birth name is Thammanoon Niyomtrong) in March 2020.

With the defeat, Japanese boxers have so far failed to win world title matches in Thailand for 27 times in a row with only one draw.

Panya cancelled his visit to Japan to defend his title against Yudai Shigeoka of Watanabe Boxing Gym in April citing he caught the flu two weeks before. Shigeoka then won the WBC minimumweight interim title.

With the win, Panya improved his record to 40 wins, including 24 knockouts, against a loss. For his part, Tanaka, fell to a 20-10 win-loss tally with 10 KOs.

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