Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez gave Kosei Tanaka fits for a while in today’s WBO flyweight title fight in Nagoya, Japan, but the home fighter found the sweet spot and poured on the body work for a seventh round stoppage, retaining his 112-pound title.
Tanaka (14-0, 8 KO) had clear problems with the southpaw style and quick feet of Gonzalez (22-3-1, 13 KO) in the first couple of rounds, but dropped the visiting challenger with a body shot in the third. Gonzalez, though, was undeterred, and scored a questionable knockdown of his own, landing a cuffing left hand that landed on the back of Tanaka’s neck, which was ruled a knockdown.
Gonzalez kept boxing effectively and neutering much of Tanaka’s offense in the fifth round, but Tanaka started finding the body again a bit in the sixth, setting up a monster seventh round where he dropped Gonzalez three times, forcing a stoppage by referee Celestino Ruiz. It has to be said that Gonzalez got up every single time, despite obvious pain, and on the final two times he rose from the canvas, the Japanese fans reacted with genuine shock and admiration for his toughness.
Still, the fight being stopped when it was was fair enough — Gonzalez probably could have continued on, but Tanaka had flipped the switch and was mowing him down, living up to his status as the man widely considered the top 112-pound fighter in boxing today.
Kento Hatanaka UD-10 Jaysever Abcede
Hatanaka, 21, improves to 10-0 (9 KO), going the scheduled distance for the first time in his pro career, and coming off the canvas in the fourth round, having dropped Abcede (19-9, 12 KO) in the third. Hatanaka, a prospect who has fought at 112 and 115, has talent and a real warrior spirit, not afraid to mix it up, not afraid to take a shot. That might betray him at some point, but if it doesn’t he might really be something special as far as entertainment goes.
Hatanaka was clearly more talented than Abcede, a 24-year-old Filipino, but he got dragged into Abcede’s fight now and then, particularly in the first six rounds or so. The fifth round was a war, and this was really a terrific action fight overall, with Abcede absolutely fighting to win and Hatanaka showing his stuff in a worthwhile step up in competition.
Scores were 95-93, 96-93, and 96-92 for Hatanaka.