February 12, 2016


An unheralded and unknown Filipino youngster named Al Rivera (15-2, 13 KOs), 140, stunned the crowd on Thursday at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan, where he seized the vacant OPBF super-lightweight belt by a unexpectedly lopsided stoppage of ex-Japanese national titlist Shinya Iwabuchi (26-6-1, 22 KOs), 140, at 1:25 of the seventh round in a scheduled twelve. It was third-time unlucky for Iwabuchi, formerly national champ having defended three times, to have failed to win the OPBF belt on as many occasions as he lost to Korean Min-Wook Kim on points in 2013 and was flattened by compatriot Keita Obara in the twelfth and final canto in 2014.

Obara had renounced the regional belt in order to pursue the IBF world throne after he battled to a hard-fought draw with Walter Castillo in Miami, Florida, last November, and his previous victim thus participated in the OPBF title go for the vacant championship.

In an encounter of the hard-punching southpaws, Rivera, 22, had the upper hand from the outset, scoring with sharper jabs and overhand lefts to the neck. Steadily piling up points, Rivera unleashed solid left crosses, badly decked him twice and almost scored a win by landslide. Suffering a laceration over the right eyebrow and having the face badly swollen, Iwabuchi, 30, attempted to retaliate with what he had in the sixth, when Rivera lifted a picture-perfect southpaw left uppercut to have the veteran reeling to the ropes hopelessly. Logically did Rivera accelerate his attack to bring home the bacon early in round seven, when the referee Fukuchi didnft bother to intervene and hold the bloodied loser to save him from further punishment.

Iwabuchi, thoroughly beaten, said, gIfll consider my future, but most probably will call it quits.h He was a crowd-pleasing Bruce Lee stylist who could win convincingly over inferior opposition but couldnft defeat tougher opposition over him.

Promoter: Reason Promotions.


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