FUJIMOTO KEEPS OPBF/WBO AP HEAVYWEIGHT BELT
By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
May 7, 2018
WBO#7/WBA#15 Kyotaro Fujimoto (19-1, 11 KOs), 227.75, successfully kept his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific heavyweight belts when he utilized his speed on hand and foot, and halted Australian Aaron Russell (11-5, 4 KOs), 219.5, at 0:28 of the second round on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. The loser’s cornerman Chris McCullen wisely tossed in the towel to save Russell from further punishment, though the Aussie showed his heart prior to the stoppage.
Although the tallies were all 60-54 prior to the stoppage, it wasn’t so lopsided since Russell raised his guard high, protected himself well and occasionally fought back with jabs and left hooks to the champ’s face. Kyotaro, however, proved faster and more aggressive with combinations upstairs and downstairs, steadily piling up points. After the fourth, the interim tallies were all 40-36 in the champ’s favor. Kyotaro, formerly a K-1 champ before entering the international style fighting, accelerated his attack from the fifth on, whipping the game Australian with sharp combinations to the face and the belly. Aaron had the left optic badly swollen in round six, and when the champ turned loose in the beginning of the eighth, a towel came fluttering to halt the proceedings. Russell refused to go down up to the stoppage, which won the praise of the Japanese audience. Kyotaro says, “I’m gunning for a world title shot in the near future”.
Unbeaten WBO Asia Pacific 140-pound champ, WBA#3/WBC#10/IBF#5/WBO#5 Hiroki Okada (18-0, 13 KOs), 140, utilized his accurate left hand and quickly finished Filipino Ciso Morales (20-7-1, 12 KOs), 139.5, with an overhand right at 2:40 of the opening session in a scheduled eight.