November 10, 2018


Hard-punching Japanese Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22 KOs), 114.75, seized the right to make a mandatory challenge to the IBF 115-pound titleholder Jerwin Ancajas as #3 Funai scored a quick victory over #7 Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-3-1, 7 KOs), 115, by stopping the Mexican at 2:09 of the second round on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Funai, 33, caught Olivo with a vicious right cross and badly dropped him for the compulsory eight count. Though Olivo, 22, resumed fighting, he sank to the deck again with referee Robert Byrd (US) promptly calling a halt at his second visit to the canvas.

Having lost to such name rivals as future world champ Shinsuke Yamanaka (TKO by 7), Rolly Lunas (TKO by 9; OPBF bantam title bout), also world-rated Sho Ishida (majority decision by; national super-fly title go), et al., Funai eventually went to win the national 115-pound belt from his former high school mate Kenta Nakagawa in March of the previous year. The late bloomer, lately with seven consecutive victories since his last defeat, will finally participate in a dream-come-true title crack at the IBF belt against Ancajas soon.

Once-beaten 130-pound prospect, JBC#7 Shuya Masaki (11-1, 5 KOs), 129.75, managed to squeeze out a split duke (77-76, 77-75, 76-77) over tall and fast jabber, #2 Izuki Tomioka (5-2-1, 1 KO), 129.5, over see-saw eight. In earlier rounds Tomiokafs snappy jabs often bounced off the face of Masaki, who, in later rounds, maintained the pressure to earn a hairline verdict. Tomioka, 21, had failed to win the OPBF lightweight belt from Masayoshi Nakatani via eleventh round stoppage in Osaka last July. Prior to his TKO loss, however, he had shown such a fine performance as to be tallied: 94-95 twice, 93-96 though losing. Both Masaki and Tomioka will be worth watching.

Unbeaten Shawn Oda (10-0, 8 KOs), 134.5, seized the vacant Japanese youth lightweight belt as the 20-year-old muscular prospect from Okinawa eked out a split nod (77-76, 77-75, 75-77) over game and gallant Seiryo Toshikawa (10-5, 6 KOs), 135, over give-and-take eight. Oda, handled by ex-WBA champ Yoko Gushiken, seems promising due to his physical strength if he can take punch.

Also, unbeaten Jun Ishizawa (5-0, 5 KOs), 105, acquired the vacant national youth minimumweight belt when he finally caught up with previously unbeaten Yuga Inoue (7-1-1, 1 KO), 104.25, and halted him at 0:46 of the sixth session in a scheduled eight. Inoue, ranked #10 by the JBC, was the winner of the annual Novice King four-round tourney last year. Itfs a hard-fought encounter of the young prospects.


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