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Iwakawa narrowly retains WBO female atomweight title

Sep 27, 2020 17:32 pm

World Boxing Organization world female atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa struggled to a 10-round split decision over compatriot Nanae Suzuki to retain her title on Sept. 26 in Kobe, western Japan, the first world title match in Japan since the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus virus or COVID-19 earlier this year.

It was the 37-year-old Iwakawa’s first successful defense of the title she wrested from her compatriot Nao Ikeyama in July 2018. With the victory, she improved her record to 10 wins, including three knockouts, against five losses and a draw. Suzuki, 28, fell to a 10-4-1 win-loss-draw record with one KO.

Fighting at the Kobe Central Gymnasium, neither boxer failed to land effective blows in a lackluster fight.

In one of the undercards, former Japanese bantamweight champion Kohei Oba, nicknamed ‘’the Japanese Floyd Mayweather’’ for his fighting style, was stopped by unheralded compatriot Yoshiki Minato in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder. It was Oba’s first bout in six years.

The end of the technical knockout came 32 seconds into the second round when Oba hit the canvas with Minato’s straight right to the head soon into the round. While Oba struggled to his feet, Minato was all over him by landing many punches, forcing a referee to call the halt to the one-sided contest. The 35-year-old Oba dropped to 36 wins, including 14 KOs, against four losses and a draw. With the win, Minato upped his record to a 9-3 win-loss record with four KOs.

Former World Boxing Association super bantamweight champion Shun Kubo pounded out a unanimous decision over compatriot Takashi Igarashi in an eight-round nontitle bout held as the main event of the day.

While there were no knockdowns, southpaw Kubo controlled the fight throughout with right jabs. Kubo, 30, improved his record to 14 wins, including nine KOs, against two losses. The 24-year-old Igarashi dropped to a 13-5 win-loss record with five KOs.

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