Junto Nakatani outpoints Francisco Rodriguez Jr. over 10 tough rounds
Junto Nakatani, The Ring’s No. 1-rated flyweight going into his junior bantamweight debut against Francisco Rodriguez Jr., won a hard-fought unanimous decision on Tuesday in Saitama, Japan.
Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), who made two defenses of the WBO flyweight title during a near-two-year reign, won by scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 97-92. The entertaining fight was more competitive than the official tallies indicate.
Rodriguez (26-6-1, 25 KOs), a former unified IBF/WBO strawweight titleholder who has battled the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka, is a veteran junior bantamweight rated No. 7 by The Ring before the fight. The 30-year-old Mexican took the fight to Nakatani, who responded the way a 24-year-old fighter reaching his peak should — with gusto.
Nakatani’s punches did more damage to Rodriguez’s face than vice versa but neither slugger took over the physical fight. Rodriguez was penalized a point for a low blow in Round 7.