May 8, 2016
Fast-rising Japanese prospect, 18-year-old WBO#6 minimumweight Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5 KOs), 104.5, decked a very important victory and acquired the Silver OPBF 105-pound belt as he defeated WBO#1 Filipino Merlito Sabillo (25-3-1, 12 KOs), 103.75, by a split but well-received decision (117-111 twice and 113-115) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Sunday in Sanda, Japan.
The shorter southpaw Kano made a good start and took the initiative, whipping the highly regarded Filipino veteran, fourteen years his senior at 32. He also opened a gash over the left eyebrow of Sabillo, ex-WBO world titlist, in the fourth, after which the open scoring system indicated Kano leading on points: 40-36 twice and 39-37.
Sabillo came back fighting in the middle of the contest to make it close as shown by open tallies after the eighth round: 78-74, 77-75 for Kano, while 77-75 for Sabillo.
Kano, however, took back the leadership by concentrating on body attacks in later rounds that apparently weakened Sabillo. The enfant terrible Kano aims to break the Japanese record of Hiroki Ioka having acquired the world belt at the youngest age?18 years nine months?in 1987.
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