Yesterday in Nagoya, Japan, a terrific action fight took place, a genuine Fight of The Year candidate. 23 year old Kosei Tanaka defeated countryman Sho Kimura to take the WBO flyweight title. After 12 astonishing rounds of slugging it out, Tanaka prevailed via close majority verdict, winning by scores of 116-112 and 115-113, with the third judge having it all-even at 114-114.
Now 12-0(7), Tanaka equalled the superb Vasyl Lomachenko as the fighter with the least amount of fights to have win world titles at three different weights; Tanaka having previously held a major belt at both strawweight and junior-fly. Kimura, best known for his big upset win over Zou Shiming back in July of last year, falls to 17-2-2(10) – but how the 29 year old made Tanaka work for his victory.
The action was simply relentless from bell-one until the clang of the final bell. These two fought the proverbial ‘fight in a phone box’ and neither man was willing to give an inch. It really was thrilling stuff and it’s a genuine pity too many fight fans will likely have missed out on seeing this modern day classic unfold.
By the middle rounds, Kimura’s right eye was a swollen mess and the older man, who was making the third defence of the title he won by beating Chinese superstar Shiming, cannot have been able to see a good deal of the hard shots coming his way. But there was no time in which this proud warrior ever thought about quitting. Ultimately, though, Tanaka, digging deeper than at any other time in his five-year pro career, was just a little faster and just a little bit more aggressive. Certainly no-one argued too much with the decision.
Still, as great and as special as yesterday’s battle was, a return would be most welcome. If both warriors feel up to it, that is. This one seems destined to become a big hit on You Tube and fast. This great fight is far too good to be known as the best fight you never saw.
Go watch this one NOW!