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Ryoichi Taguchi unifies, Sho Kimura and Hiroto Kyoguchi defend in Tokyo

Taguchi held the WBA light flyweight title, while Melindo held the IBF belt

Ryoichi Taguchi v Milan Melindo - WBA Light Flyweight And IBF Junior Flyweight Unification Title Bout Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Japan’s reign over the lower weight classes continued this morning, as three champions either defended or acquired titles in Tokyo’s Ota-City General Gymnasium.

In the main event, Ryoichi Taguchi unified the WBA and IBF light flyweight titles with a gritty decision over Milan Melindo in what was by all accounts a terrific scrap. Taguchi (27-2-2, 12 KO), who first won his title in 2014 and has now defended it seven times, proved too much for Melindo (37-3, 13 KO) down the stretch. “El Metodico” had previously blown out Akira Yaegashi for the title and out-brawled Hekkie Budler in September.

You can watch the entire fight here.

The co-feature saw Sho Kimura prove his beatdown of Zou Shiming wasn’t a fluke by battering #1 contender Toshiyuki Igarashi in the first defense of his WBO flyweight title. Kimura (16-1-2, 9 KO) used his customary insane volume to win at least seven rounds on all three scorecards before finishing Igarashi (23-3-3, 12 KO) in the ninth.

In addition, minimumweight champ Hiroto Kyoguchi won his first title defense against highest-ranked contender Carlos Buitrago. Kyoguchi (9-0, 7 KO) was up 70-63 over Nicaragua’s Buitrago (30-3-1, 17 KO) on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

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