March 26, 2014


Patient and persistent Japanese Kohei Kono (30-8, 13 KOs), 115, impressively acquired the vacant WBA super-flyweight belt as he chalked up a fine KO victory over interim titlist Denkaosen Kaovichit (62-4-1, 26 KOs), 113.75, from Thailand, at 0:50 of the eighth round in an elimination bout on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.

Everyone cannot be a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs, but the less talented Konofs ceaseless effort thus paid off. It was amazing that the 33-year-old Japanese still improved a lot technically and physically to seize the belt again in such a fine fashion. It was a clearcut knockout.

It was?in a sense?a bizzare fight as the contestants completely exchanged their roles. Previously Kono was well-known by his non-stop aggressive style, while Denkaosen, 37, was usually a shrewd counterpuncher. Kono, however, kept utilizing his footwork all the way, while Denkaosen kept going forward to finish his rival from the start. It was like Tom running and Jerry stalking.

Kono made good use of mobility to avert Denkaosenfs furious opening attack and occasionally scored with long rights to the face. The second saw Konofs stinging left almost topple the Thailander who lost his equilibrium and had rubbery legs. But Denkaosen desperately fought back hard and threw very solid straight rights to the Japanese footworker who averted them with his hands and feet.

Kono, in round three, landed a smashing right to the onrushing Thailander, who, however, came back fighting so aggressively that he kept stalking the cautious footworker thereafter and offset his bad absorption of the right hand early in the round. Two judges rendered this round to Denkaosenfs aggressiveness, while the other to Konofs damaging right. Like it, this fight was tallied differently by the officials in every round except in the fourth and seventh.

The first climax was witnessed at about two minutes into the fourth session, when Kono connected with an eye-catching countering right, dropping the veteran Thailander with heavy damage. Denkaosen barely stood up and resumed fighting on, but his retaliation was surprisingly so furious that Kono was forced to move away from his do-or-die attack in the last minute.

Apart from his damage by the knockdown in the previous round, Denkaosen came out fighting in the fifth and kept stalking with powerful rallies to the dancing Japanese, who refused to mix it up but moved side-to-side to have him missing his solid blows.

It was also Denkaosen that took the initiative in the sixth, when he went forward and attacked the circling opponent who seldom threw good punches but concentrated on moving around to wait for Denkaosen to punch out by missing the air time and again.

The Thailander, in round seven, kept stalking the footworker with his wild and powerful punches, while Kono responded with some good shots just after Denkaosen missing blows. Denkaosen looked more aggressive, but Kono seemed a little more effective.

A catastrophe of Denkaosen abruptly occurred early in the fatal eighth round, when Konofs very well-timed right exploded at the button of Denkaosen, who fell face down and barely attempted to regain his feet before the referee Raul Caiz Sr. completed a fatal ten. Itfs a dramatic knockout by the Japanese boy who people didnft think was a hard-puncher but only a busy-punching fighter.

Some experts had predicted a result, saying, gShould it end by a knockout, the victor will be Denkaosen due to his stronger power-punching.h Konofs devastating right shot also KOfd those knowledgeable people.

Reviewing his career, Kono was never a bright star but only an aggressive puncher with abundant stamina and fighting spirit as well. He failed to win the vacant WBA super-fly belt, losing a hairline decision to compatriot Nobuo Nashiro in 2008. He again failed to win the WBC 115-pound belt although he badly dropped defending champ Tomas Rojas in the twelfth and final session, since he lost the first eleven rounds due to the champfs speed and skills in 2010. From this fight, Kono suffered three consecutive defeats, also losing to future WBC titlist Yota Sato and ex-amateur prospect Yohei Tobe. Our people thought Kono was already through.

But Kono upset highly regarded Thailander Tepparith Kokietgym to annex the WBA belt on the last day of 2012, but yielded it to interim champ Liborio Solis in a WBA unification bout via highly controversial decision in May of the previous year. WBA ruler Solis faced IBF counterpart Daiki Kameda in a unification bout last December, but failed to make the stipulated weight to forfeit his belt, which Kono and Denkaosen disputed this time.

Kono's life was full of ups and downs, but his constant diligence in training carried him to the coronation, which was celebrated by the packed-house crowd at the Korakuen Hall.

Prior to the breath-taking knockout, the official tallies were quite inconsistent among the judges: Guillermo Perez (Panama) 67-66 for Kono, Stanley Christodoulou (South Africa) 67-65 for Denkaosen, and Pascual Procopio (Canada) 66-66. It was such a hard-fought battle despite Kono having badly dropped Denkaosen in the fourth round?because of the Thailanderfs furious retaliation.

Kono became the seventh current world champion out of Japan along with Takashi Uchiyama (WBA 130), Takashi Miura (WBC 130), Shinsuke Yamanaka (WBC 118), Tomoki Kameda (WBO 118), Akira Yaegashi (WBC 112) and Katsunari Takayama (IBF 105). Kono might be the least talented of them all, but his tremendous dedication made him win the world belt for the second time. His triumph may greatly inspire our young aspirants after the world championship, saying, gIf Kono can, why not me?h

Promoter: Watanabe Promotions.

WBA supervisor: Yangsup Shim (Korea).


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