Nordine Oubaali retained his WBC bantamweight title today in Japan, outpointing a determined Takuma Inoue over 12 rounds on scores of 115-112, 117-110, and 120-107.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 115-112 for Oubaali, who overall did the better work, but the determined 23-year-old Inoue has nothing to be ashamed of in this defeat, and the 120-107 card is atrocious.
Inoue (13-1, 3 KO) was pushed back in the third round by the stronger Oubaali (17-0, 12 KO), and then dropped with a big left hand in the fourth. At that point it really looked like the Frenchman would overpower the Japanese challenger, and be able to put him away within the next few rounds, after Inoue survived the fourth by moving and holding.
But Inoue never gave up on the fight, staying quite competitive and coming back very nicely after the knockdown and break between rounds. He gave a fine accounting of himself as a legitimately solid contender, and not just a guy who got a crack because his brother is famous.
For the 33-year-old Oubaali, he’s established himself as one of the top fighters at 118 pounds, but he’s at a point age-wise where he probably wants to unify soon if that’s something that’s on his agenda. A fight with Naoya Inoue, if Inoue beats Nonito Donaire in the next fight on this card, would be a natural to make in Japan based on this result.
Shokichi Iwata TKO-5 Alejandro Cruz Valladares
23-year-old Valladares (5-2, 0 KO) came over from Mexico to face Iwata, a 23-year-old junior flyweight prospect who was really impressive here. Valladares gave this a real go, moved around as much as he could for as long as he could, but Iwata (4-0, 3 KO) was just too strong, and battered Valladares in the fifth round until referee Kazutoshi Yoshida saw enough and stepped in.
By the time Yoshida stopped it, Valladares was eating a lot of clean right hands and getting his face pretty well rearranged. I had no problem with this stoppage, Valladares was clearly behind and getting beaten up, and didn’t have the power to turn this thing around. He didn’t need another four minutes of being pummeled by Iwata.