Kimura barely wins vacant Japanese 108lb belt

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Boxing Beat

Japanese light-fly sensation Naoya Inoue, only 20, quickly acquired the OPBF belt in his fifth pro bout after winning the Japanese title in his fourth, and lately renounced the national throne accordingly. In a quest for the vacant Japanese 108-pound belt there happened an elimination bout between the JBC top two contenders fought with #1 Yu Kimura (13-2-1, only 2 KOs), 108, eking out a split decision (96-95 twice and 94-97) over veteran campaigner #2 Kenichi Horikawa (25-13-1, only 4 KOs), 108, over ten lackluster rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. As expected, it became a competitive fight, but against our expectations, it became a lousy foul-studded affair. They seldom connected effective shots but repeated clinches and slip downs time and again.

From this year the JBC experimentally had an interim open scoring system adopted in national title bouts with only the tallies after the fifth round to be announced. It was also taken into practice in the second national title bout of this year, and Kimura was then leading on points: 48-47 twice and 49-46, all for him.

Horikawa, three years his senior at 33, turned loose and came out fighting forward to be an aggressor in the second half regardless of precision. Precision was a point to discuss in the close affair since neither scored with clean effective shots throughout the game. But it was Kimura that dominated the last session in a one-round fight after nine very close rounds.

Kimura, who used to be an excellent amateur star when a Hosei university student, couldn’t shine in the professional field after his debut in 2006, as he dropped an upset decision to powder-puff punching southpaw Shin Ono (who later became the OPBF ruler prior to his relinquishment) and suffered a TKO defeat by light-punching speedster Ryoichi Taguchi (who later won the Japanese belt before he was dethroned by Naoya Inoue).

Kimura was a skillful tactician, but unfortunately possessed least powerful hands to cope with aggressive opponents, mostly having won in a breathless fashion. He might be called a sort of lame duck in star-filled Teiken gym with WBC bantam ruler Shinsuke Yamanaka, WBC super-feather titlist Takashi Miura, formerly two-time world champ Jorge Linares, ex-WBC two-class ruler Takahiro Ao, former WBC fly titleholder Toshiyuki Igarashi, ex-WBA super-feather champ Akifumi Shimoda, current OPBF welter champ Yoshihiro Kamegai, Japanese middle ruler Daisuke Nakagawa.

Kimura, an intelligent and good-looking guy, showed his determination down the stretch before his promoter/manager Akihiko Honda, who often came to his corner to give his suggestion to the cornermen. Kimura never belongs to the same league of WBA champ Kazuto Ioka and OPBF titlist Naoya Inoue, but fulfilled his dream to become a champ in the paid ranks.

On reviewing Horikawa’s credentials, we cannot but sympathize with his continual hard luck in his fistic career, having failed to win a national or regional belt as he lost on no less than six occasions with a championship on the line to Akira Yaegashi (for a vacant national 105-pound belt), Michael Landero (for vacant OPBF 105-pound throne), Edgar Sosa (for a WBC international flyweight belt), Ryuji Hara (for a vacant national minimum title), Noknoi Sitthiprasert (for a vacant WBC international silver flyweight belt) and Kimura. Every time Horikawa showed a good and competitive performance against each opposition, but the goddess of victory never smiled on him.

In Japan, there’s a custom named “Yakubarai” that is a kind of shrine-going to drive away his bad luck or evils by praying to the God. Horikawa, a workman-stylist, might as well go to a shrine to exorcize an evil fortune from him, since it was such a hairline contest as either could have been the winner. Horikawa, do it again for the lucky seventh time.


In a supporting ten, WBO #7 super-bantam, slick-punching Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-6, 7 KOs), 124, needed just 3:04 of the opening session to demolish Indonesian #6 122-pounder Zun Rindam (11-4-1, 5 KOs), 120.25, in a scheduled ten. From the outset did Ishimoto swarm over the awkward Indonesian who tried to retaliate with a two-fisted attack, but his incessant combination caught the loser who badly fell for the count.

Ishimoto, 32, had upset Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. by an unexpected and unbelievable decision in Macao last April to have entered the WBO’s world ratings. He is eager to win the Japanese national belt that he had failed to acquire via close but unanimous verdict to Masaaki Serie two years ago.

Promoter: Teiken Promotions.

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Kimura barely wins vacant Japanese 108lb belt
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Japanese Class – Yahoo News Search Results

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