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Iwasa wrests title; Tanaka keeps his own

Sports Hochi

Ryosuke Iwasa celebrates after beating Yukinori Oguni for the IBF super bantamweight title.

The Yomiuri Shimbun OSAKA — Ryosuke Iwasa captured a long-awaited world boxing crown, while Kosei Tanaka overcame some early troubles to defend his for a second time in a world title fight doubleheader at Osaka’s Edion Arena on Wednesday night.

Iwasa pounded out a sixth-round TKO over champion and former high school rival Yukinori Oguni in their IBF super bantamweight title fight.

“It took a long time,” the 27-year-old Iwasa said. “Anyway, getting to this point was long and hard.”

The third-ranked Iwasa, who defeated Oguni at a national high school tournament in 2006, showed he still had the upper hand when he knocked his opponent down once in the first round and twice in the second. With Oguni bleeding profusely, the referee stepped in at 2:16 of the sixth round. Oguni later announced his retirement.

Iwasa improved to 24-2 with 16 knockouts. After turning pro in 2008, he lost to Shinsuke Yamanaka for the Japan bantamweight title in 2011 for his first pro loss. His first shot at a world title ended with a loss by TKO in 2015 while fighting for the interim IBF bantamweight crown.

“I considered this to be my last chance,” Iwasa said.

Tanaka bounced back from a first-round knockdown to stop Thailand’s 13th-ranked Palangpol CP Freshmart with a TKO in the ninth round to keep hold of his WBO light flyweight title that still left him with regrets.

“I’m disappointed in myself, but it’s all right if [the crowd] thought the fight was interesting,” said Tanaka, who had difficulty adjusting to the rhythm of Thai-style boxing before landing a series of decisive blows in the ninth.

Tanaka, now 10-0 with six knockouts, said he still has his sights set on a unification bout with WBA light flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi. Speech

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  • Sports Hochi

    Kosei Tanaka, left, floors Thai challenger Palangpol CP Freshmart in the ninth round of their WBO light flyweight title fight on Wednesday night in Osaka.

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