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Sunday. November 22. 2020

Naito earns TKO win over Konno, retains OPBF super lightweight title

Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super lightweight champion Rikki Naito of E&J Cassius Boxing Gym earned a technical knockout victory over fourth-ranked Yusuke Konno of Kadoebi Boxing Gym at the end of the ninth round of a scheduled 12-rounder at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on Nov. 21.
It was the 29-year-old Naito’s fourth successful defense of the title he won in January 2018. There were no knockdowns in the fight.

Southpaw Naito took the lead in the opening round by landing a counter left to the head and later controlled the match by moving side to side.

Although the 31-year-old challenger momentarily rallied in the sixth round with straight rights and right uppercuts, Naito quickly fired back from the seventh round as Konno could not use his left-hand punches almost at all.

At the end of the ninth round, Konno retired on his second’s advice. According to Kadoebi gym officials, Konno had injured his left shoulder and neck two weeks before the fight.
With the victory, Naito, a son of former Japanese and Oriental middleweight champion Junichi ‘’Cassius’’

Naito, improved his record to 23 wins, including eight knockouts, against two losses, while Konno sagged to 16 wins, nine by KO, against five defeats.

After the fight, Naito said, ‘’I thought I would be able to knock him out late in the fight. But can’t to be helped since my opponent retired. I need to keep rhythm at much earlier stage. Although I want to fight abroad, the current situation (COVID-19) does not allow that. If this situation persists, I want to fight against Japanese boxers like Andy Hiraoka (Ohashi Boxing Gym), Hiroki Okada (Kadoebi gym) and Daishi Nagata (Misako Boxing Gym).’’


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