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Yudai Shigeoka wins WBC interim world minimumweight title by decking Mendez in Tokyo

Apr 17, 2023 21:23 pm

Third-ranked Yudai Shigeoka of Watanabe Boxing Gym decked seventh-ranked Wilfredo Mendez of Puerto Rico with a devastating body blow in the seventh round and won the World Boxing Council interim world minimumweight title in Tokyo on Apr. 16.

The knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder at Yoyogi National 2nd Gymnasium came 25 seconds into the round when the left-handed Shigeoka landed a left hook to the liver, sending his 26-year-old opponent to the canvas for the count. The fight was the main event of the day called ‘‘3150FIGHT Vol.5’’ promoted by Kameda Promotion Co.

Shigeoka, who turned 26 on Apr. 16, also scored a knockdown shortly before the end of the fifth stanza with a powerful left hook to the body, although Mendez, a former World Boxing Organization minimumweight champion, managed to beat the referee’s count.

While Shigeoka was supposed to challenge champion Panya Pradabsri of Thailand for the latter’s title, Panya cancelled the fight earlier this month due to his catching the flue. The left-handed Mendez stood in for Panya, who is an orthodox-style boxer.

Shigeoka said after the fight, ‘’This is not my goal. This is just the beginning. I have to become stronger. Together with Ginjiro (who earlier won the International Boxing Federation interim world minimumweight crown by knocking out Rene Mark Cuarto of the Philippines), we want to vivify the Japanese boxing world more.’’

Ginjiro Shigeoka, a younger brother of Yudai, served as a second for Yudai’s fight after knocking out Cuarto.

With the victory, Yudai remained undefeated in his seven bouts, five by KO, whereas Mendez now has a record of 18 wins, including six knockouts, against three losses.

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