Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Tanaka unseats Fuentes to win junior flyweight belt


Kosei Tanaka earned his second world title in as many divisions with a fifth-round technical knockout of Moises Fuentes to capture the WBO junior flyweight title Saturday at the Memorial Center in Gifu, Japan.

The time of stoppage was 1:52 with the fight becoming a total washout from the third round on as Tanaka (8-0, 5 knockouts), of Tajimi, Gifu, Japan, forced Fuentes (24-3-1, 13 KOs), of Mexico City, to the ropes and punished him with right hands.

Tanaka opened Fuentes up with short feints and side steps similar to Ricky Hatton to pound away with left hooks and right hands through the guard. Early in the fifth, a flurry of quick shots set up a right hand which snapped Fuentes’ head back and an uppercut which bent Fuentes over.

Further punishment sent Fuentes down to all four, prompting referee Raul Caiz Jr. to waive off the fight without a count.

All three judges had it a shutout at the time of stoppage at 40-36 for Tanaka, a 21-year-old who told last year that he was an Economics student at Chukyo University in Nagoya, Japan.

The fight took place in the afternoon Japanese time and will be shown on delay on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (CBC).

Tanaka had previously reigned at 105 pounds, winning the WBO title last year and making one defense before moving up in weight.

Fuentes, a former WBO strawweight titleholder as well, assumed the 108-pound title when Donnie Nietes opted to vacate and move to flyweight instead of facing him a third time.

On the undercard Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17 KOs) retained the Japanese featherweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Akifumi Shimoda (31-6-2, 14 KOs). Two judges scored the fight 95-94 while the third had it 97-94.