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KOBORI WINS OPBF 130LB BELT


PhilBoxing.com


TOKYO, JAPAN -- Hard-punching WBC#9/WBA#9 Japanese super-feather champ Yusuke Kobori (20-2-1, 11 KOs), 130, acquired the vacant OPBF 130-pound belt as he dropped taller southpaw Junji Murakami (15-5-2, 7 KOs), 129.5, four times and finally halted him at 1:52 of the seventh round on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Both the OPBF and national titles were at stake, and Kobori won all.

As ex-OPBF champ Nobuhito Honmo had an unsuccessful shot at Edwin Valero's WBA throne this May, he had renounced the regional belt in accordance with the OPBF's regulations. Murakami had been slated to have a rematch with Honmo (who lately announced his retirement after being annihilated by Valero) before his obligatory relinquishment, and this elimination bout took place between the leading available contender Kobori and Murakami.

Murakami, a slick-punching lefty, made a very good start by making good use of southpaw jabs and fast footwork. Kobori, in the second, caught his lanky opponent with a vicious right following a furious assault to drop him twice. With 90 seconds still left, we thought it was a matter of time for Kobori to bring back the bacon within the second canto. But the game southpaw amazingly fought back to last the round, and furthermore dominated the next two sessions.

The fifth, however, saw Kobori explode again with a same right to the lefty's button, dropping him badly onto the canvas. Again Murakami barely lasted the crisis by showing his admirable determination. Kobori then accelerated his attack to be in command in the sixth and finally caught him with a wicked right, flooring him for the fourth time. Murakami gamely resumed fighting, but Kobori$B!G(Bs fierce follow-up combination promoted the ref Asao to call it off without bothering to count. Kobori, less skillful but powerful, had served as a sparring partner for Marco Antonio Barrera to prepare for his ill-fated defense with Juan Manuel Marquez. Kobori didn't show his technical improvement through his service for Barrera, but displayed his raw power as usual.

Undercard:

A couple of stunning upsets were seen in preliminary bouts. Nobuhiro Hisada (just 7-5-2, 3 KOs), 104.75, scored an unexpected decision over Japanese #3 minimum Toshiki Ogawa (14-5-1, 8 KOs), 105, a lately fast-rising prospect, over ten. Ogawa, after twice defeating ex-national champ Makoto Suzuki, was praised by experts, but unbelievably showed a luckluster performance tonight. Unbeaten underdog, unranked Hidenori Kobayashi (12-0-1, 4 KOs), 124, was awarded an upset majority nod (96-94, 97-96 and 95-96) over Japanese #8 super-bantam prospect Yuta Nagai (19-4-2, 12 KOs), 124, over ten. Kobayashi had been inactive for four years due to his eye ailment and recently made a successful comeback. Though it was regarded as too much for him to face such a rising prospect as Nagai in his second comebacking bout, Kobayashi, a powder-puff puncher with precision, gamely mixed it up with the hard-hitting Nagai and barely outpunched the only offensive-minded rival, whose poor defensive skills cost this game and most probably his Japanese rating.

PS Today is the Boxing Day in Japan, as Yoshio Shirai wrested the world flyweight title by defeating Dado Marino, of Hawaii, in 15 rounds to become the first Japanese world champ today of 55 years ago.

Promoter: Kadoebi Jewel Promotions.

Matchmaker: Joe Koizumi.

(5-19-07)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joe Koizumi.


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