Fri, Apr 25, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Yamanaka retains belt with fifth straight knockout win

AFP, OSAKA, Japan

Champion Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan, left, sends Belgium’s Stephane Jamoye to the canvas during their WBC bantamweight title match in Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday. Yamanaka defeated Jemoye and retained the belt.

Photo: AFP

Japan’s Shinsuke Yamanaka floored Belgian challenger Stephane Jamoye four times with his killer left hand on Wednesday to retain his WBC bantamweight title with a fifth straight knockout win.

Panamanian referee Hector Afu stopped the fight 11 seconds into the ninth round, when southpaw Yamanaka’s straight left to the body sent Jamoye to the canvas.

It was Yamanaka’s sixth defense of the 53.5kg-class title, which he won by beating Mexico’s Christian Esquivel with a technical knockout in Tokyo in November 2011.

His unscathed professional record improved to 21 wins, 16 of them inside the distance, and two draws. He has triumphed in five title bouts in a row by a knockout or technical knockout.

It was the fifth loss for European bantamweight champion Jamoye, the No. 3 WBC contender, who has 25 wins to his name, 15 of them by knockout.

“It was great that I could finish the fight with a knockout,” said Yamanaka, 31. “I relied too much on my left hand to throw combinations. I want to fight abroad and fight in a bout to unify world titles.”

Right-handed Jamoye, 24, said Yamanaka’s punches were “very strong.”

“I knew it would be a tough fight. I am still young and I will think about [another world challenge] after developing my skills further,” the Belgian said.

Yamanaka dominated throughout against Jamoye, who was seeking to become the first Belgian world boxing champion in his first shot at a world title.

Yamanaka’s first knockdown of the night came in the second round, when his straight left caught the Belgian’s face.

In the eighth round, the champion floored Jamoye with a straight left to the body and again with a blow to the face. The Belgian managed to tough it out, but the end finally came only seconds into the ninth round, when Yamanaka’s left body blow sent Jamoye down for the fourth time at the Osaka Castle Hall in the western city.

On the undercard, Spain’s Kiko Martinez retained his IBF super-bantamweight title by beating Japanese challenger Hozumi Hasegawa on a technical knockout.

US referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight 1 minute, 20 seconds into the seventh round, when Hasegawa was floored for the third time by the Spanish champion, who remained the aggressor throughout with one-two combinations.

It was the 28-year-old’s second defense of the title he won by knocking out Jonathan “Momo” Romero of Colombia last August in the 55.3kg division.

The right-handed fighter now has 31 wins to his name, 23 of them inside the distance, against four losses.

Hasegawa, 33, who has previously held the WBC bantamweight and featherweight titles, failed to claim a championship belt in his first world title bout in three years.

His record slipped to 33 wins, 15 inside the distance, against five losses.

Martinez chased Hasegawa, the 13th IBF contender, and punished him with both hands at close range. His onslaught started from the first round at the Osaka Castle Hall.

The Japanese southpaw fought back with counter-punches led by right jabs.

“Hasegawa could withstand my punches and was a very tough boxer,” Martinez said. “I thought my power would prevail if I fought on at close range.”

The tattooed Spaniard forced Hasegawa against the ropes early in the second round and sent him to the canvas with a flurry of left and right blows for a count of eight.

In the fourth round, Hasegawa started bleeding from a cut on his right eyebrow and the fight was briefly stopped for first aid.

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