This morning in Japan, Hozumi Hasegawa successfully defended his bantamweight title for the 10th time, defeating Alvaro Perez by fourth round technical knockout. While it wasn't quite the blowout we've come to expect from Hasegawa, it was still a dominant performance by the Kobe native. While he consistently turned to his best weapon, the combination of a right jab followed by a straight left down the pipes, he showed some versatility in his punching and a slipperiness that prevented Nigaraguan Alvaro from landing many clean shots.
Much in line with his last few fights, however, this fight really turned on one combimation. After nearly four rounds of nice boxing by Hasegawa, he landed a left hand combination where he his Perez with a left hook to the temple that sent him off balance, and less than a second later, also connected with a short left right to the jaw, the kind of shot it's hard to see without the benefit of slow motion replay. Perez fell to the floor in a heap, and the ref called the fight when Alvaro showed no sign of motion after the count of five. Hasegawa improves his record to 28-2, and likely will be moving up to the 122 pound weight class in the near future. The fight is available on YouTube here: Part 1; Part 2.
Since this fight went longer than any of his fights have gone in a couple years, and since he was fighting a southpaw, some of his defensive flaws were a bit more apparent. He does have a tendency to pull straight back too much, and while he gets out of the way, he might have problems with that when he moves up a weight class. Also, sometimes when he throws his left hook, he puts so much weight behind it that he falls out of position, leaving him prone to a right handed counter while he’s off balance. Still, he'd probably be the favorite to beat about anyone in the weight class, if his promoter decides to invite any of the division's elite to face him in Japan.
Other Thursday night and Friday morning results:
- Former titlist Takahiro Aoh got back on the winning track, scoring a wide unanimous decision over former title challenger Feider Viloria.
- 122 pound prospect Leo Santa Cruz moved to 12-0-1 after knocking out Juan Beltran in the third round.
- Edner Cherry broke out the 'cherry bomb', knocking out Jovann Jones in the third.
- Prospects Sharif Bogere, Dmitry Chudinov and Fedor Chudinov all won their bouts.