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Tanaka weathers knockdown, stops Saludar in six to retain title

Fighters Network
Photo: JIJI PRESS - Getty Images

Photo: JIJI PRESS – Getty Images

WBO strawweight titleholder Kosei Tanaka overcame a fifth-round knockdown to stop Filipino challenger Vic Saludar in round six at the Aichi Prefectural Gym in Nagoya, Japan, on New Year’s Eve.

The 25-year-old Saludar (11-2, 9 knockouts) was ahead by the tallies of 50-44 on two scorecards and 49-45 on the third, according to a copy of the cards posted on the Facebook page of Saludar’s promotional company, ALA Promotions.

That was all erased when Tanaka, THE RING’s No. 4 fighter at 105 pounds and an economics student at Chukyo University, dropped Saludar for the 10 count in round six with a left hook to the body. The time of stoppage was 2:15.

The win was the first defense of the WBO title which Tanaka (6-0, 3 KOs) won in May with a unanimous decision over Julian Yedras. Tanaka, 20, told RING earlier this week that he intended to move up in weight in the future.

Servania wins decision in return

On the undercard, Genesis Servania, the unbeaten Filipino who is rated No. 4 by RING at 122 pounds, returned to the ring for the first time since February with an eight-round unanimous decision over Hendrid Barongsay (29-24-3, 18 KOs).

The scores were 80-72 on all three cards.

Servania (27-0, 11 KOs) was fighting for the first time since leaving ALA Promotions, which promoted Servania since early in his career. ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told this writer earlier this week that the fight was not authorized by the company and claimed that Servania was still under contract through August.

Attempts to reach Servania for comment were not returned.