By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
In a battle of aggressive compatriots, unheralded Ryota Toyoshima (13-2, 8 KOs), 146.25, wrested the OPBF welterweight belt as he floored defending champ Riku Nagahama (12-3-1, 4 KOs), 145.75, in the seventh to win a unanimous verdict (115-112, 116-111, 117-110) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
Nagahama upset previously unbeaten Afghan Kudura Kaneko by an unexpectedly lopsided decision to seize the vacant regional title last February. Highly favored due to his Kudura victory, Nagahama, in his initial defense, suffered a knockdown in round seven, which had the contest turn in favor of the game and gallant challenger.
After the eighth, it was Toyoshima, formerly a kickboxer, that was leading on points—77-74, 78-73 twice. The champ desperately attempted to turn the tables, but Toyoshima’s retaliation with a higher work-rate kept him from displaying his last surge.
Promoter: Kadoebi Jewel Promotions.
Attendance: 633 (under the JBC’s regulation at the Korakuen Hall).