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Tsutsumi decisions Masuda, retains Japan bantamweight title in hard-fought battle

Aug 31, 2023 8:21 am

  Japanese bantamweight champion Seiya Tsutsumi of Kadoebi Boxing Gym pounded out a 10-round unanimous decision over second-ranked Riku Masuda of Teiken Boxing Gym to retain the title in a hard-fought battle on Aug. 30 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

  It was the 27-year-old Tsutsumi’s third successful defense of the title he captured in June last year.

  While there were no knockdowns in the fight, they exchanged fierce blows all the way.

Tsutsumi suffered a cut above the right eyelid in the fourth round, which touched off fiercer exchange of punches as both boxers landed hard punches in the middle of the ring.

After the end of the fifth round, two of the three judges had Masuda, 25, ahead by 1 point while the remaining judge saw Tsutsumi ahead by 1 point.

They continued throwing punches without letup. Though Tsutsumi’s cut worsened as the fight went by, he reached down for something extra and became more active than Masuda during the latter part of the fight and ended the fight on top.

After the fight, Tsutsumi said, ‘’It was a tough fight as I had expected. But I was planning to be more active during the latter part of the fight, and it paid off. I will do my best in the next fight (with Kazuki Anaguchi) in December.’’

Tsutsumi improved his record to nine wins, including seven knockouts, and two draws while it was Masuda’s first defeat after winning his third straight bouts, all by KO.

The Tsutsumi-Masuda clash was also regarded as the semifinal match for the so-called ‘’Naoya Inoue Monster tournament.’’

Undefeated Kazuki Anaguchi of Shinsei Boxing Gym earned a lopsided eight-round decision over Shori Umezu of Mitani Yamato Sports Gym in the other semifinal held immediately before the Tsutsumi-Masuda fight at the hall.

Anaguchi scored a knockdown in the second round with a left hook to the head and stayed on top. Anaguchi has a record of six straight wins, two by KO. For his part, Umezu fell to a 10-1-1 win-loss-draw tally with seven KOs.

  The winner of the Monster tournament will take home the winner’s prize of 10 million yen (some 68, 300 dollars) aside from the usual pursue. The tournament was launched by Ohashi gym after Inoue unified the bantamweight titles of all the four major sanctioning bodies last December and relinquished all the titles earlier this year to move up to super bantamweight.

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