On Wednesday, August 31, at Ota-City Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan, WBA World interim super flyweight champion Luis “El Nica” Concepcion (35-4, 24 KOs), the hard-hitting mandatory from Panama City, Panama, decisioned WBA World super flyweight champion Kohei Kono (32-9-1, 13 KOs), the reigning and defending champion fighting out of Tokyo, after 12 hard-fought rounds.
The final scores were 115-113 (Melva Santos) and 116-112 twice (Stanley Christodoulou and Philippe Verbeke), all in favor of Concepcion.
Kono was making the fourth defense of the title he won in 2014. His advantages in height and reach were offset by Concepcion’s aggression.
“El Nica” outworked the champion. Kono landed several right hand counters, but his left was ineffective.
Concepcion drew first blood, opening a gash over Kono’s left eyebrow in the seventh. The new champion was cut in the 11th.
“Thank God I managed this great victory that I dedicate to the Panamanian people, Roberto Duran and my whole family,” he said. “I am champion and want to fight the best!”
The victory was a culmination of a lifetime of work for “El Nica.” He said he was going to bring the black and gold belt back to Panama … and he was as good as his word.
Taguchi retains 108-pound title
In the co-main event, WBA World junior flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11 KOs), fighting out of Tokyo, retained his title with a unanimous decision victory over former WBA minimumweight champion and #1 ranked over Ryo Miyazaki (24-3, 15 KOs), from Osaka.
The final scores were 119-109 (Stanley Christodoulou), 117-111 (Philippe Verbeke), and 116-112 (Luis Pabon).
It was Taguchi’s fourth defense of his title. At 5’6” he towered over the 5-1½” Miyazaki. Using the ring, his legs, and superior reach, the champion worked behind his jab and used smart counterpunching to keep the challenger at bay.
Miyazaki had his moments. But Taguchi had more of them and the best man won.
(Photographs by Sumio Yamada)
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.