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Boxing | International

Great night for Japan's fighters



Japanese boxers won all five world title fights that brought the boxing year to an end on Monday.

The last tournaments of 2012, held in Tokyo and Osaka, produced excellent performances from the local fighters.

Leading the whitewash, Takashi Uchiyama stopped Bryan Vasquez of Costa Rica in the eighth round of their WBA super-featherweight title fight in Tokyo.

Uchiyama piled up the points by pummelling Vasquez with lefts and rights to the stomach, and finished the fight three minutes into the eighth round.

"My opponent had never lost before and was never knocked down, so I really wanted to win in style," said Uchiyama, 33.

"This champion's belt is just a formality. My top priority is to become stronger," he added.

It was Uchiyama's sixth defence of the title that he took from Juan Carlos Salgado of Mexico in January 2010. He is still undefeated, boasting a record of 19 wins, including 16 knockouts and a draw.

The 25-year-old Vasquez now has 29 wins, including 15 KOs and one defeat.

IOKA STILL UNDEFEATED

And In Osaka, Kazuto Ioka stopped Jose Rodriguez in the sixth round to take the vacant WBA light-flyweight title.

Ioka, a former WBC strawweight and WBA minimumweight champion, knocked down the Mexican in the first round with a left hook to the body.

He knocked the visitor down twice in the sixth round and the referee stopped the fight 2 minutes and 50 seconds into the round.

The 23-year-old Ioka, who was ranked second by the WBA and has now won two “world” titles in different categories, stretched his unbeaten record to 11 wins, including seven KOs.

"I don't feel that I really did it, but I'm very happy," said Ioka. "I wanted to prove that hard work will make one’s dream come true."

Rodriguez, also 23 and ranked fifth, now has 28 wins, including 17 knockouts and two defeats.

Japan's Ryo Miyazaki beat Pornsawan Porpramook of Thailand by a split decision to win the vacant WBA minimumweight title.

Two judges scored the bout 116-112 and 116-111 in favour of Miyazaki. The third had it 114-113 for Pornsawan.

Miyazaki, 24, who was ranked No 2 by the WBA, improved his record to 18 wins, including 10 knockouts and three draws. Pornsawan, ranked fourth, has now 27 wins, including 17 knockouts, five defeats and a draw.

"It's been my dream to become a world champion since I started boxing. I'm really happy that I made it. My fans cheered me on and I could not give up. I'm determined to become stronger," said Miyazaki.

Pornsawan said: "I thought I won. Miyazaki was not so strong. My punch to the stomach was ruled as a low blow. I don't think the referee was fair."

SATO RETAINS HIS BELT

In the tournament in Tokyo, Yota Sato beat fellow Japanese Ryo Akaho on points to retain the WBC super-flyweight title.

The scores were 117-111, 117-112 and 118-110, all in favour of the champion.

It was Sato's second defence of the title he wrested from Suriyan Sor Rungvisai of Thailand in March. His record improved to 26 wins, including 12 knockouts, against two defeats and a draw.

Akaho, who is ranked fifth by the WBC, now has 19 wins, including 12 knockouts, against one defeat and two draws.

Japan's Kohei Kono knocked out Tepparith Kokietgym of Thailand to win the WBA super-flyweight title.

The eighth-ranked Japanese finished off the champion two minutes and eight seconds into the fourth round, after knocking him down three times.

It was the 32-year-old Kono's third attempt to win a world title. The win stretched his record to 28 wins, including 11 knockouts, against seven defeats.

Tepparith, who has beaten champions Drian Francisco of the Philippines and Japan's Daiki Kameda, Tomonobu Shimizu and Nobuo Nashiro, now has a record of 21 wins, including 13 knockouts, against three defeats.



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