Vic Saludar wins decision over Masataka Taniguchi to retain strawweight belt
Vic Saludar returned to the country where he first won his world title, defeating Masataka Taniguchi by unanimous decision to retain the WBO strawweight title on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.
The scores were 118-110 on one card and 117-111 on the third, all for the incumbent titleholder Saludar (19-3, 10 knockouts) from Polomolok, Philippines, giving him one successful defense and his fifth straight win overall.
Taniguchi (11-3, 7 KOs) sees his three fight winning streak snapped with the loss.
In a match-up between an orthodox fighter and a southpaw, it was unsurprising that the fighters’ main offensive weapons were their back hands. Saludar, who won the title last July with a decision over Ryuya Yamanaka, showed he knew quite a bit about how to deal with a lefty, darting in and out with lead right hands and following up with left hooks.
Taniguchi, three years the junior of Saludar at 25, landed his own share of left hands, often when Saludar backed straight out of exchanges. The body work that Saludar invested throughout the fight paid dividends later on, and kept Taniguchi from being too dangerous, even as he pressed for a dramatic finish in the final round.
Trainer Michael Palacios says he was pleased with how Saludar was able to execute the game plan.
“Win round by round, control the game, not to let the opponent control the pace,” said Palacios, who wants Saludar to get a long rest after training for two months for this fight.
Saludar, who is rated no. 4 by The Ring at 105 pounds, could next face the winner of the WBO eliminator between Robert Paradero (17-0, 11 KOs) of the Philippines and Wilfredo Mendez (11-1, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico. The fight takes place on March 9 in Puerto Rico.