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Hasegawa blasts Rocha in one

14
Jul

Hozumi Hasegawa stopped bantamweight prospect Nestor Rocha in the first round of their scheduled 12 rounder in Kobe, Japan on Tuesday.

Hasegawa (27-2, 11 knockouts) defended his WBC 118-pound title for the ninth time as well as his reputation as the world's best bantamweight. The destruction of Rocha (21-2, 7 KOs) was the 27-year-old southpaw's fourth consecutive title defense (against solid opposition) that ended before the third round.

Hasegawa, THE RING's No. 1-rated bantamweight, is not a power puncher but he's a well-schooled sharp shooter with very fast hands and an uncanny ability to set up his accurate straight left, as Rocha found out.

Hasegawa took his time in the opening minute against Rocha, pawing with his right jab while getting in position to deliver his lighting bolt left. Rocha unwisely waited on the titleholder, who struck with a little over a minute left in the round.

A straight left stunned Rocha as he backed to the ropes. The Southern California native smiled as he tried to shake off the effect of the punch, but Hasegawa struck again with a lead left followed by a crisp right hook that dropped Rocha in a heap.

Rocha got up on unsteady legs but was quickly redeposited to the canvas by a two-fisted flurry from Hasegawa. Rocha bravely got up again but stumbled as he walked towards referee Gary Ritter, who wisely waved the bout off at the 2:28 mark of the opening round.

In the co-featured bout of the Teiken-promoted card THE RING's No. 1-rated strawweight Roman Gonzalez (24-0, 20 KOs) defended his WBA 105-pound title via unanimous decision (three scores of 118-110) against former WBA/WBC titlist Katsunari Takayama (23-4, 9 KOs).

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