Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu, unleashing a barrage of right and left combinations, stopped compatriot Kyohei Tonomoto in the seventh round to retain his title at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on July 16.
The fight and one more title match took place as a closed-door event due to the persistent novel coronavirus infection or COVID-19, which forced the cancellation of domestic boxing matches for about four and a half months until recently.
The day’s bouts followed in the footsteps of the July 12 central Japan rookies’ tournament in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. It was also held as a closed-door event.
The end of the scheduled 12-rounder at the hall came 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the round when the referee stopped the contest as southpaw Shimizu landed his signature straight lefts and right hooks to the challenger almost at will.
Shimizu was fighting for the first time since losing to World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific super featherweight ruler Joe Noynay of the Philippines a year ago. It was Shimizu’s fifth successful defense of the title. He improved his record to nine wins, all by knockout, against a loss, while Tonomoto fell to a 9-3-1 win-loss-draw record with four Kos.
In the other match, lightly regarded Daishi Nagata wrested the Japanese super lightweight title by stopping the previously undefeated Koki Inoue in the seventh round of a scheduled 10 rounder.
Inoue, a cousin of World Boxing Association ‘’super’’ and International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, suffered an accidental cut above his right eye in the third round and could not put his punches together.
The referee stopped the close contest 2 minutes and 17 seconds into the seventh stanza due to Inoue’s worsened cut. Nagata upped his record to 15 wins, including six KOs, against two losses and a draw. Inoue failed in his second title defense and fell to 15-1 with 12 KOs.
Polymerase chain reaction tests were conducted on all the 10 concerned persons — the four boxers, their chief seconds and two referees — for the first time in Japan. They all tested negative for COVID-19. It was the first PCR tests administered in connection with boxing matches.
Hideyuki Ohashi, the manager of both Shimizu and Inoue and a promoter of the matches, summarized the day’s event by saying, ‘’No spectators at the hall caused me to have a strange feeling. But what is important is for boxers to have bouts. In that sense, it was successful.