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Nakatani scores 3 knockdowns, decisions Cortes to retain WBO super flyweight title for 1st time

Sep 19, 2023 8:46 am

  World Boxing Organization super flyweight champion Junto Nakatani of M.T Boxing Gym scored three knockdowns en route to a lopsided 12-round decision over sixth-ranked challenger Argi Cortes of Mexico and successfully defended his title for the first time on Sept. 18 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena in ‘’Prime Video Presents Live Boxing 5.’’

Nakatani hurts Cortes with long straight left

  Two of the three judges scored the fight 119-106 and the remaining judge saw it 118-107, all in favor of the 25-year-old Nakatani, who won the vacant title in this past May by demolishing Andrew Moloney of Australia in the 12th and the final round in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  The left-handed Nakatani started out cautiously by sticking out right jabs from the long distance while occasionally throwing straight lefts.

The undefeated Nakatani dropped Cortes in the fifth round with a left hook to the body. Though Cortes struggled to his feet, he was dropped again due to Nakatani’s combination blows also to the body. The Mexican fighter managed to get up and survived the round.

But Cortes, who lost a close but unanimous decision to his fellow countryman and World Boxing Council super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada last September, momentarily staggered Nakatani in the sixth stanza by landing a straight right to the head, sending his much taller opponent against the ropes. But Nakatani warded off his further offense.

Nakatani also scored a knockdown in the ninth round with a left hook to the body. The gusty Cortes beat the referee’s count and survived the round.

After the relatively quiet 10th and 11th rounds, Nakatani visibly came forward in the 12th and final round, trying to repeat what he did when he captured the title. But Cortes hung tough and managed to survive the round.

After the fight, Nakatani said, ‘’I fought as if it was not a title defense. I am happy that I was able to win. While I wanted to knock him out in the 12th round, Cortes was a strong-minded boxer. It was a good experience for me. I am determined to do better so that I can display a knockout scene again.

With the win, Nakatani improved his record to 26 straight wins, including 19 KOs, while Cortes sagged to a 25-4-2 win-loss-draw tally with 10 KOs.

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