Yamanaka retains title by split decision

Shunsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17 KOs) successfully defended his WBC Bantamweight title with a narrow points victory over Anselmo Moreno (35-4-1, 12 KOs) at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo on Tuesday night.

The fight was closely scored on the cards, one judge scored it 115-113 in favour of Moreno, while the other two scored it in favour of Yamanaka by the same score.

This fight proved to be a clash of southpaws with contrasting styles. In the opening rounds, Yamanaka was telegraphing his punches while Moreno the former WBA Super World Bantamweight champion, found success with his jab and defensive prowess. It was such a close run thing that one judge had scored the fight level after four rounds.

As the fight progressed Moreno had more success with his jab, even backing the champion up on occasion. In the ninth round, Moreno caught Yamanaka with a right hook which seemed to hurt the champion.

Perhaps sensing that the fight was slipping from his grasp Yamanaka utilised his superior punch power and work rate in an attempt to halt the challenger. The fight began to take a toll on the fighters as they both appeared tired in the closing rounds, but Yamanaka sealed the victory with an aggressive final round.

Some may argue that Yamanaka was the lucky recipient of a hometown decision in this defence. However upon reflection Yamanaka has beaten an accomplished former world champion who has a habit of winning split decisions. This was also only the third time that Yamanaka has gone the distance.

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