Top-ranked challenger Masamichi Yabuki of Midori Boxing Gym, unleashing a barrage of left-right combinations from various angles, stopped the previously undefeated Kenshiro Teraji of BMB Boxing Gym in the 10th round and wrested the World Boxing Council light flyweight crown on Sept. 22 in Kyoto, western Japan.
The technical knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder at Kyoto City Gymnasium came 2 minutes and 59 seconds into the round when Yabuki severely staggered Teraji with a counter punch and swarmed all over him by throwing various punches, prompting referee Yuji Fukuchi to step in to call off the fight.
After the fight, the 29-year-old Yabuki said, ‘’I almost gave up while fighting but was able to continue thanks to the encouragement of my cornermen and the rooting of my fans. I know Kenshiro (Teraji) may not have been in a good condition. I hope to fight him again at his best sometime in the future. Honestly, I had had retirement in mind with this fight. But since I won the fight, I will think about my future career.’’ It was Yabuki’s first crack at a world title.
With the defeat, Teraji, also 29, failed in his ninth defense of the title he won from Ganigan Lopez of Mexico in May 2017.
While the fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 10, it was postponed for 12 days due to Teraji having tested positive for COVID-19 in late August,
With the victory, Yabuki improved his record to 13 wins, including 12 KOs, against three defeats. Teraji fell to an 18-1 win-loss tally with 10 KOs.
Teraji started out fast by sticking out left jabs, but Yabuki controlled the fight by landing counter rights and right hooks to the head. At the end of the fourth round, two of the three judges had Yabuki ahead at 40-36 and the remaining one saw it an even at 38.
Aware he is behind on points, Teraji moved forward from the fifth stanza only to fall victim to Yabuki’s counter punches. At the end of the sixth round, Teraji’s lid of the right eye was visibly swollen.
In the seventh round, Yabuki’s hard right momentarily staggered the champion. But Teraji reached down for something extra and landed one-two punches, which wobbled Yabuki. After the hard-fought eighth round, all the three judges had Yabuki ahead at 78-74, 79-73 and 77-75.
Gutsy Teraji showed everything in his arsenal in the ninth round by landing effective body shots and throwing various punches by putting Yabuki against the ropes. While some fans had a feeling of a dramatic upset, Teraji bled profusely from the swollen right eyelid as Yabuki connected with hard counter blows.
In the 10th stanza, while Teraji put Yabuki against the ropes, Yabuki’s tenacious fighting style caused the referee to wave off the fight due apparently to Teraji’s accumulated damage.