Dan Rafael: Bryan Vasquez

Busy New Year's Eve in Japan

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
10:40
AM ET
Takashi Uchiyama and Bryan VasquezAP Photo/Toru TakahashiTakashi Uchiyama celebrated the new year with a KO victory over Bryan Vasquez in Tokyo.

If there is any kind of offseason in boxing, in most of the world anyway, it’s usually the second half of December and early January. But not in Japan, where having a big show -- or shows -- on New Year’s Eve is becoming something of a tradition.

So on Monday, there were two major cards in Japan featuring five world title bouts.

There were three In Tokyo and two more about 300 miles away in Osaka.

Here’s a look at the what happened in Tokyo:

• Junior lightweight titlist Takashi Uchiyama (19-0-1, 16 KOs) stopped Costa Rica’s Bryan Vasquez (29-1, 15 KOs) at the end of the eighth round to retain his belt for the sixth time. Vazquez was the mandatory opponent because he had been the interim titleholder.

• Junior bantamweight titlist Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12 KOs) kept his belt with a unanimous decision against countryman Ryo Akaho (19-1-2, 12 KOs). Scores were 118-110, 117-112, 117-111.

• Kohei Kono (28-7, 11 KOs) pulled an upset against Thailand’s Tepparith Kokietgym (21-3, 13 KOs) to claim a version of the junior bantamweight title. Kono scored three knockdowns in the fourth round for a TKO at 2:08. Kokietgym’s three previous defense had come against Japanese challengers -- Daiki Kameda, Tomonobu Shimizu and Nobuo Nashiro -- so Kono got a little revenge. Kokietgym led on all three scorecards through three rounds.

And here’s what went down in Osaka:
[+] EnlargeRyo Miyazaki and Pornsawan Porpramook
AP Photo/Kyodo NewsRyo Miyazaki needed 12 hard-fought rounds to claim a vacant strawweight belt over Pornsawan Porpramook Monday in Osaka.

• Ryo Miyazaki (18-0-3, 10 KOs) won a vacant strawweight belt by split decision over Thailand’s Pornsawan Porpramook (27-5-1, 17 KOs) on scores of 116-111, 116-112 for Miyazaki and 114-113 for Porpramook, who is best known for being stopped in the 10th round by Akira Yaegashi 14 months ago in the spectacular 2011 ESPN.com fight of the year.

• Former unified strawweight titlist Kazuto Ioka (11-0, 7 KOs) stopped Mexico’s Jose Rodriguez (28-2, 17 KOs) at 2:50 of the sixth round to win a vacant junior flyweight belt. Ioka, who vacated his strawweight belts and moved up in weight, dropped Rodriguez three times, once in the first round and twice more in the sixth.

New Year's Eve title fights in Japan

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
1:00
PM ET
Want to ring in the new year with boxing? Just head to Japan, where there will be four world title bouts on New Year's Eve.

On a card in Tokyo, a triple world title bill was announced. In the main event, junior lightweight titlist Takashi Uchiyama (18-0-1, 15 KOs) will make his sixth defense against interim titlist Bryan Vasquez (29-0, 15 KOs) of Costa Rica. On the undercard, junior bantamweight titlist Yota Sato (25-2-1, 12 KOs) will make his second defense against Japanese countryman Ryo Akaho (19-0-2, 12 KOs) and Japan's Kohei Kono (27-7, 10 KOs) will challenge junior bantamweight titlist Tepparith Kokietgym (21-2, 13 KOs) of Thailand.

On another card in Osaka -- on a competing television network (they do that sort of thing in Japan, too), former strawweight titlist Pornsawan Porpramook (26-4-1, 16 KOs) of Thailand will face Japan's Ryo Miyazaki (17-0-3, 10 KOs) for a vacant 105-pound belt. The belt became vacant when Kazuto Ioka relinquished the title to move up in weight. He will appear on the undercard in a junior flyweight nontitle match.

Porpramook lost his strawweight belt to Akira Yaegashi last October when he was stopped in the 10th round of the 2011 ESPN.com fight of the year. It was an extremely violent, non-stop action brawl that goes down as the greatest strawweight fight in the division's history.

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