Moments ago in Osaka, Japan, WBC/WBA 108 pound ruler Kenshiro Teraji retained his belts courtesy of a heck of a hard-fought 12 round majority decision win over Venezuela’s Carlos Canizales. The fight, a great one and absolutely an early contender for Fight of the Year, saw 32 year old Teraji win via scores of 114-112, 114-112, with the third judge having it even at 113-113.
32 year old Teraji, who was engaging in his fifteenth world title fight, is now 23-1(14). 30 year old Canizales, a former WBA “regular” light flyweight champion, falls to 26-2-1(19).
Now to the action, and the seemingly inevitable debate/controversy today’s majority decision will generate.
First up, the action was terrific today, with both men giving their all in an absolute firefight. Canizales came out fast, scoring with his left hook to the head. Both men hit the canvas in the early going of the battle. Canizales was tagged by a right hand counter in round two and his balance was badly compromised, with both men falling down as the hurt Canizales grabbed the champion’s legs.
In the third, Teraji landed a left hand/right hand that saw the challenger touch down. After the two knockdowns, the fight became a war, a battle of attrition, with some fierce trading of leather. Astonishingly, both men picked up the already hot pace in the fifth. There were some truly great rounds, as there were some tough to score sessions. Canizales was the aggressor and from this view the challenger landed the more hurtful, damaging shots. Also, Canizales made a habit of closing strong at the end of a round today, this perhaps having an effect on the judges.
By the seventh round, Canizales was visibly tired, but this one was hell for both men. Both warriors went to the body well, and quite savagely, and the action never relented. Canizales seemed to get his second wind late on, while Teraji boxed and jabbed in the final two rounds, perhaps feeling he had done enough for the points win. And so he had, officially.
But Canizales, who for sure felt he had won, may well be looked at as a fighter who was hard done by today, a victim of some ‘home cooking,’ even. The seemingly inevitable arguing today’s decision will get should not detract from what a great fight today’s battle was though.
We had a close, controversial fight this past Saturday, between Natasha Jonas and Mikaela Mayer, and today’s slugfest may also prove to be a fight that seriously divides opinion when it comes to who really won.
As with the all-action women’s fight, a rematch would not be a bad idea here.