March 11, 2016


Unheralded Japanese Hikaru Nishida (15-7-1, 7 KOs), 160, astoundingly captured the OPBF and Japanese national middleweight belts when he greatly stunned the spectators by upsetting IBF#10 defending champ, compatriot and grudge rival Akio Shibata (27-9-1, 13 KOs), 159.5, with an unexpectedly spectacular knockout at 1:28 of the third round on Friday in Tokyo, Japan. Shibata, making his sixth defense of the OPBF belt, had once defeated Nishida on points with both belts at stake in July 2014, and was a prohibitive favorite thanks to his better credentials. It was Nishida, however, that took the leadoff as he dropped the champ with a vicious left hook and sent him sprawling to the deck again in round two. Shibata, six years his senior at 34, had a very narrow escape, withstanding the challengerfs furious attack for a minute after the second visit to the canvas. Strongly encouraged by his stablemate and WBA 130-pound super champ Takashi Uchiyama during the recess, Shibata attempted to fight back in the fatal third, when he absorbed a wicked left hook of Nishida to sink for the full count. Shibata, a fleet-footed footworker, had suffered only a setback at the hand of Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata in his pro debut in August 2013 since his defeat by Charlie Ota in 2010, and recently boasted of his stable reign by scoring four TKO victories in a row. Who had expected Nishidafs coronation in such a splendid fashion?

Promoter: Yokohama Hikari Promotions.


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