August 11, 2014


OPBF super-lightweight champ Keita Obara (12-1, 11 KOs), 140, registered ten consecutive stoppages in keeping his regional belt by a dramatic one-punch halt of WBO#13 ranked ex-national titlist, southpaw hard-puncher Shinya Iwabuchi (23-5, 19 KOs), 140, at 0:19 of the twelfth and final session on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Also, WBA#5/WBO#10 super-fly, unbeaten Sho Ishida (17-0, 9 KOs), 115, finely captured the national 115-pound belt as he outboxed an outpunched IBF#12 ranked defending champ Yohei Tobe (8-2-1, 5 KOs), 115, over ten hard-fought rounds.

It was a sensational encounter as each had a good reputation of being a knockout artist, while the challenger Iwabuchi was higher ranked in world ratings thanks to his valuable TKO win over then world-rated Jimrex Jaca this February. Iwabuchi, formerly a national champ having defended his belt three times, made a furious opening attack to the cautious and defensive titlist with roundhouse southpaw lefts followed by solid right hooks in the first round. Obara, a junior to an Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata in their alma mater Toyo University, kept his cool unlike his usual Carl-Froch-styled performance, and connected with compact right-left-right combinations to the rough-and-tumble challenger. After the fourth, the open scoring system indicated 39-37 twice for the champ and 38-38, showing that it was still a close game.

Obara, cautious and cool against Iwabuchifs wild swinging, kept moving in and out to have him missing roundhouse blows time and again, and counter him with short combos with precision. Iwabuchi, however, abruptly exploded his vaunted aggression in round eight, when he often caught the champ with powerful lefts and brought him to a standstill and on the verge of a knockdown. The champ had a narrow escape with the bell coming to his rescue.

It was Obara that was leading on points after the eighth as announced: 77-75 twice and 78-74.

Iwabuchi was in command in the ninth, but Obara regained his rhythm and dominated the tenth and eleventh with more accurate combinations to the face of the bloodied challenger.

The fully-packed spectators at the Hall then expected Obarafs triumph due to his constant cautiousness rather than his familiar aggressiveness. Beautifully did Obara connect with a well-timed countering left hook to the face of the game challenger, who fell flat with a thud. The referee Yuji Fukuchi promptly declared a halt without taking a count, considering the loserfs serious damage. He stayed prone for minutes but managed to pull himself up. Obara, two years his junior at 27, is ambitiously gunning for a world title shot in the future, but he may need a little more flexibility and versatility in his offense and defense.

It was also a very competitive fight with the speedsters exchanging sharp combinations from various angles that fully entertained the audience. Ishida, from Osaka, made a good start with fast stinging lefts that frustrated the champ who once had beaten current WBA super-fly titlist Kohei Kono on points in 2011. Tobe, who lately acquired the national belt by a fine stoppage of Daiki Eto this April, came back hard to dominate the second and fourth, while Ishida was in command with his sharp left-right combinations to the onrushing champ, winning the third and fifth.

After the fifth, the JBC (Japan Boxing Commission) announced that it was Ishida that was winning more points: 48-47 twice and 50-45.

Tobe, from the sixth on, turned loose and made his best effort to attack the lanky counterpuncher. Tobefs strategy wasnft necessarily successful as Ishida occasionally scored with effective counters and made good use of his shifty footwork to avert the champfs furious but less accurate rallies. Ishida appeared to control the eighth and ninth, but the champ, aware of trailing on points, displayed a do-or-die attack to turn the tables. Ishidafs cleverness and smartness, however, saved him from any mix-up with the desperate champ down the stretch. Ishida, a tall and lanky speedster belonging to Ioka Gym, looked like his idol Hiroki Ioka, formerly two-time world champ in the minimum and light-fly categories.

Probably it was the most spectators in attendance seen at the Hall this year, indicating SRO. The doubleheader greatly entertained the crowd at the Hall fully packed to the limit.

Promoter: Reason Promotions.


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