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Saka wins OPBF super featherweight title by TKO over Koibushi in bloody battle

Feb 17, 2024 11:37 am

  The Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation’s fifth-ranked super featherweight Kosuke Saka of Nakazato Boxing Gym, overcoming a momentary scare in the third round, stopped sixth-ranked Ken Koibuchi of Yokohama Hikari Boxing Gym in the fifth round to capture the vacant OPBF title on Feb. 16 in Tokyo.

Saka (R) prevails against Koibuchi despite being hit hard many times

  The technical knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder at Korakuen Hall came 44 seconds into the round when the referee waved off the contest as Koibuchi bled profusely from above his left eyelid. There were no knockdowns in the fight.

  While Saka was initially supposed to fight Yoshimitsu Kimura of Shisei Boxing Gym on last New Year’s Eve, the fight was called off the day before the fight as Kimura failed to reduce his weight and was sent to a hospital.

The title was left vacant last November by Kimura’s stablemate Musashi Mori.

The 31-year-old Saka, a former Japanese featherweight and super featherweight champion, and the 27-year-old Koibuchi exchanged fierce blows from the first round.

  Koibuchi suffered a cut above his left eyelid due to Saka’s punch in the second round while Saka also suffered a similar cut.

  Though Saka forced Koibuchi in the third stanza by right uppercuts, he was staggered by Koibuchi’s straight right but managed to hung tough.

  Saka managed to land his punches to the head and body in the fourth round as Koibuchi bled profusely from the injured part.

  After the fourth round, two of the three judges saw it dead even, while the remaining judge had Koibuchi ahead by 2 points.

  Soon after entering the fifth round, the ringside doctor checked Koibuchi’s eyelid injury, and the referee stopped the contest on the advice of the doctor.

  With the victory, Saka improved his record to 23 wins, including 20 KOs, against seven losses. Koibuchi fell to a 10-7-1 win-loss-draw tally with nine KOs.

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