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Junto Nakatani destroys Ryota Yamauchi in eight rounds, retains WBO 112-pound title

Junto Nakatani assaults Ryota Yamauchi. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Hard-hitting southpaw Junto Nakatani retained his WBO flyweight title for the second time by scoring a brutal eighth-round stoppage over Ryota Yamauchi at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan on Saturday. The official time was 2:20.

Nakatani, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 112 pounds, had things all his own way and dished out a horrible beating. Yamauchi eventually succumbed to the accumulative effects in the eighth and referee Katsuhiko Nakamura saved him from further punishement.

The 24-year-old Nakatani (23-0, 18 knockouts) came out blazing in the opening session, nailing his countryman with a crushing left hand and a brilliant lead right uppercut. The bout was only a few minutes old and Yamauchi was already sporting a broken nose and severe swelling to his eyes.

Yamauchi, who is currently rated No. 10 by The Ring, went beyond the call of duty in terms of bravery. In the fifth, he bit down on his mouthpiece and risked closing the gap against the taller and longer man. He did very well, particularly to the body, and arguably won the session.

However, that success was small solace as Nakatani went through the gears again in the sixth. The damage being inflicted was uncomfortable to watch and the corner showed no interest in rescuing their fighter. There was no way back for Yamauchi and the stoppage was merciful.

There has been talk that Nakatani could move on to 115 pounds. Countryman, and four-weight world titleholder, Kazuto Ioka holds the WBO title in that division and it’s highly likely that the sanctioning body, as per their own rules, would install Nakatani as the No. 1 challenger.

The 27-year-old Yamauchi drops to 8-2 (7 KOs).

In a lightweight battle, Shuichiro Yoshino maintained his unbeaten record by scoring an 11th-round technical decision over former WBO 130-pound titleholder Masayuki Ito. The official scores were 107-102, 107-102 and 106-103.

The bout was competitive, but Yoshino (15-0, 11 KOs) was more consistent and his punches more effective. Ito sustained facial damage early and his wounds got progressively worse as the fight wore on. In Round 11, a horrible clash of heads forced Ito to his knees and the ringside physician halted the bout after examining the damage.

Ito drops to 27-4-1 (15 KOs).


Tom Gray is managing editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing



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