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Tuesday. June 22. 2021

‘Little Pacquiao’ Fukunaga retains WBO Asia-Pacific, Japanese super flyweight title with TKO

Hard-hitting World Boxing Organization Asia-Pacific and Japanese super flyweight champion Ryoji Fukunaga of Kadoebi Boxing Gym, nicknamed ‘’Little Pacquiao’’ a la legendary Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, stopped Takahiro Fujii of Kaneko Boxing Gym in the eighth round to retain the titles on June 21 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

It was the 34-year-old Fukunaga’s second successful defense of the WBO Asia-Pacific title and his first of the Japanese tile.

The technical knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder came 1 minute and 19 seconds into the round when southpaw Fukunaga sent Fujii, ranked fifth by the WBO Asia-Pacific and eighth by the Japanese rankings, flat on his back with a counter left followed by a barrage of right-left combinations, prompting the referee to wave off the fight.

While Fukunaga got off to a good start as he landed right jabs and powerful lefts, sending Fujii to backpedal, the 32-year-old Fujii, also a southpaw, rallied occasionally only to be overpowered by Fukunaga’s powerful punches.

With the victory, Fukunaga, ranked 14th by the WBO and World Boxing Council, respectively and eighth by the International Boxing Federation, improved his record to 14 wins, all by KO, against four losses. Fujii fell to a 12-7-1 win-loss-draw record with three KOs.

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