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Gonzalez Upsets Hasegawa; Aoh and Nishioka successfully defend titles

It was three up and three down in Kobe, Japan when three WBC champions, Toshiaki Nishioka, 38-4-3, (24), Takahiro Aoh, 21-2-1 (10) and Hozumi Hasegawa, 29-4 (12), fought in defense of their respected belts on a Teiken Boxing card last night. The three men entered as WBC titleholders but only two would leave the ring having successfully defended their belts.


In the interest of full disclosure, it took me forever to find a place online to catch the fights. By the time I did, it was the ninth round of the first fight the stream was showing and southpaw WBC super bantamweight titlist Toshiaki Nishioki was clearly in control over Mauricio Munoz, 21-3 (9), who had a badly swollen right eye and was looking overall worse for being there. Midway through, Nishioki landed a nice left uppercut and Munoz went all wobbly. Nishioki followed up with a flurry that included a clean right jab/left cross combo and finished his man with a beautiful straight left that sent Munoz on his ass to the canvas. The camera came in close on the mask of pain called Munoz’s face, his right eye nearly swollen completely shut and the left out of focus. It was clear he was done for the night and the ending in the ninth round was made official by ref Anek Hongtongkam’s count to ten.


Next up was WBC super featherweight titleholder Takahiro Aoh vs. Humberto Gutierrez, 28-3-1 (20), in a battle of southpaws. Right off the bat, Aoh was in control. He had the quicker feet and hands and seemed to potshot away at Gutierrez with ease while getting out of the way afterward. Gutierrez was simply there to be hit early on. His cement feet kept him from doing much else other than follow Aoh around and get hit.

In the second, Gutierrez did get in a nice right jab/left hand but that was about it. Aoh maintained control primarily through the jab and left hand to the head and body. It wouldn’t be until the third round that Gutierrez started rolling out some more tools. When he did, those tools gave him a chance to land a nice right hook, shaking up Aoh for a moment. Near the end of the round, Gutierrez unloaded on Aoh and got some good shots in but soon, that wouldn’t matter at all.


In the fourth round, Gutierrez tried to pick up where he left off and suddenly, Aoh seemed more than happy to trade with him. It turned out to be a trap. The two men traded hooks in a series of back-and-forth exchanges but the third time around, Aoh ducked under Gutierrez’s left and came back with a right hook to the body that put his man down for a good minute, rendering a grimace of pain. It was the kind of body shot that just freezes you and, immediately, you know the fight is over. The ten-count was reached at 1:06 of the fourth round.


Next up was now-former WBC featherweight titleholder Hasegawa taking on Jhonny Gonzalez, 48-7 (42), in what looked like it was going to be a long and fun fight. That was not to be.


Early on, it was all Hasegawa who circled Gonzalez and used his right jab to probe the guard of his opponent, who was content to circle and wait for his opportunity. Hasegawa got in an array of left leads to the body, sometimes mixing in a head shot. Gonzalez got in a right hand lead that was answered by a one-two from Hasegawa. As the round drew to a close, they began to trade, with Hasegawa landing a little more but Gonzalez bringing the heavier leather that seemed to back up the local favorite.


Hasegawa started fast in the next round, dropping a one-two on Gonzalez and getting right back out. The fight seemed to stay at long range for the most part, with both men getting in solid crosses.


In the third, Gonzalez, who seemed tight early on, had found his rhythm. Bouncing on his toes, you could tell the fight was unfolding the way he had envisioned it. Hasegawa continued probing his guard but then Gonzalez began to fire his one-two while Hasegawa dug to the body. Late in the round, Hasegawa got in a nice left cross to the body while Gonzalez came back with a vicious uppercut left hook combination. Hasegawa waved Gonzalez in after that shot but he got lit up; no two ways about it.


The fourth was just getting going when the end came. Gonzalez started from far out. Hasegawa, with his back to the ropes, came forward. As Gonzalez began to throw, you could see Hasegawa consider that his opponent was going low for his body. Hasegawa guessed wrong and Gonzales landed a crashing right hand to the head, catching all of him and sending him down hard to the canvas. Hasegawa would rise but on shaky legs and referee Mike Griffin called a halt to the bout at 58 seconds of the fourth round.

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