Dan Rafael: Jose Rodriguez
December, 31, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP 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:
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.