October 6, 2016


Hard-punching southpaw Kenta Nakagawa (13-2-1, 9 KOs), 115, acquired the vacant Japanese national super-flyweight belt as he eked out a split decision (97-95, 97-93, 95-96) over prefight favorite Hayato Kimura (20-6, 12 KOs), 115, over ten close and competitive rounds on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan. The more experienced Kimura outlegged and outmaneuvered the still and nervous opponent with his tricky mobility in the first half, leading on points by the opening scoring system after the fifth round, that is, after the half of the contest: 49-47, 48-47, 48-48. Nakagawa, however, turned loose in later rounds and displayed a furious aggression in round nine, when he cornered or pinned Kimura to the ropes with a flurry of punches to positively turn the tide. Nakagawa was in command down the stretch, winning a hairline verdict that rendered the vacant belt renounced by Sho Ishida, who wishes to prepare for a near-future world title shot rather than a fierce competition with a compatriot. The newly crowned Nakagawa will be obliged to face JBC#3 Ryuichi Funai, who used to be his classmate in the same high school, and says, gIfm reluctant to fight Funai, if possible.h He may be required to select either the national belt or his friendship.


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