Unified junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux survived a pair of stunning seventh-round knockdowns but retained his 122-pound belts when Hisashi Amagasa, the left side of his face badly swollen, retired on his stool after the 11th round on Wednesday at the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, Japan.

The fight was just one of five world title bouts at two locations on Wednesday in Japan, where major New Year’s Eve cards have become something of a tradition. There was a third card on Tuesday that included three more world title bouts.

Rigondeaux, a two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist who defected and now lives in Miami, was making his sixth title defense and seemed to be in command of the fight through the sixth round as he pumped his right jab and continually moved to the side to keep Amagasa away from him. But the 5-foot-10½ Amagasa, who owned a 6½-inch height advantage, was aggressive, put a lot of pressure on Rigondeaux and had his moments.

His biggest came in the seventh round, when he broke through and knocked Rigondeaux down twice.

With about 30 seconds left in the round, Rigondeaux was backing up when Amagasa caught him on the chin with a right hand. Rigondeaux went down, but he got up quickly and did not appear badly hurt. When the fight resumed, Amagasa, who was facing a top opponent for the first time, went right at him. He landed a right hand and a left during a flurry that sent Rigondeaux to the mat again, this time face-first. Again, Rigondeaux rose quickly and tried to convince referee Michael Ortega that he had slipped.

The 29-year-old Amagasa (28-5-2, 19 KOs), of Japan, a featherweight who dropped down in weight to challenge Rigondeaux, did not have a chance to get off another punch after the second knockdown because the round ended.

Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs), 34, quickly took control of the fight again in eighth round, and midway through the 10th round, he connected with a straight left hand that dropped Amagasa to his rear end in the center of the ring. By that time, Amagasa had swelling around his right eye and the left side of his face was also beginning to look disfigured from what appeared to be a possible broken jaw or cheek.

Rigondeaux dominated the 11th round as the swelling on Amagasa’s face got even worse. After the round, Amagasa retired on his stool.

Rigondeaux was winning easily on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 107-99, 107-99 and 105-101.

Rigondeaux was fighting in Asia for the second consecutive time, having also defended his title in Macau, China, in July. That fight was the final one on his contract with promoter Top Rank, which declined to renew his deal because none of the American television networks were interested in putting on Rigondeaux’s fights thanks to his cautious and technical style that generally led to boring fights. His performance against Amagasa, however, was much more entertaining than many of his past fights.

Rigondeaux, who survived a knockdown to unify two belts in a decision win against 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire in April 2013, would like to further unify titles and has called out Leo Santa Cruz to no avail.

Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux’s manager, said before Wednesday’s fight that if Rigondeaux won, he already had an offer for his next fight to also be in Japan.


RING/WBO junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux will face Hisashi Amagasa on Dec. 31 before the latter’s partisan fans at the Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Osaka, Japan, Rigondeaux’s manager, Gary Hyde, informed on Monday.
Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 knockouts) was last in action for a first-round knockout of Sod Kokietgym on a Top Rank Promotions card in Macau, China in July.

Amagasa (28-4-2, 19 KOs) has won 13 consecutive fights, seven by knockout, including stoppages in his past three bouts. Amagasa, 29, is coming off last month’s 12th round technical knockout of Ryo Takenaka. Amagasa last suffered defeat by unanimous decision to Ryol Li Lee in June 2010 but avenged that loss by unanimous decision in October 2013.

Rigondeaux, 34, ended a 36-0-1 unbeaten streak for Kokietgym and was coming off consecutive unanimous decisions over Nonito Donaire in April 2013 and Joseph Agbeko in December.

Rigondeaux won the RING and WBO titles against Donaire and the WBA title against Rico Ramos in January 2012 in his ninth pro bout.

Hyde said he would much rather see Rigondeaux against Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz or Scott Quigg, all ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3 by THE RING behind Rigondeaux at 122 pounds. Frampton is the IBF titleholder and Santa Cruz, the WBC beltholder. Quigg is 30-0-2 with 22 knockouts.

“Unfortunately the only fighters who are prepared to challenge ‘Rigo’ are Asian fighters,” said Hyde during an interview with “Santa Cruz. Frampton and Quigg want no part of him so, Asia, here we come again.”


RING junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux could face WBO mandatory challenger Chris Avalos on Nov. 22 either in Miami or the Dominican Republic, according to WBO general secretary Jose Izquierdo and Rigondeaux’s manager, Gary Hyde.

The date and venues were proposed by Caribe Promotions on Friday after having posted the winning purse bid of $317,777.77 as the sole participant in Puerto Rico.

“We held a purse bid at 1 p.m. at our WBO headquarters and Caribe Promotions was the sole participant at the purse bid,” said Izquierdo. “They won the purse bid and submitted a proposed date of Nov. 22. They also proposed two different venues, the first one, the Marlins baseball stadium in Miami, Fla., and the second one was Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.”

The purse split breaks down to 75 percent for Rigondeaux ($238,333.32) compared to 25 percent for Avalos ($79,444.45) “as per our WBO rules,” said Izquierdo.

“They have 10 days to negotiate and submit the contracts to the WBO,” said Izquierdo, “and 45 to 90 days to make the fight happen. So they have up until Dec. 19 to make the fight happen.”

Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 knockouts), who also holds the WBA belt, was last in action for a first round knockout of Sod Kokietgym on a Top Rank Promotions card in Macao, China in July.

Rigondeaux ended a 36-0-1 unbeaten streak for Kokietgym and was coming off consecutive unanimous decisions over Nonito Donaire in April 2013 and Joseph Agbeko in December.

Rigondeaux, 33, won the RING and WBO titles in the Donaire fight and the WBA title against Rico Ramos in Jan. 2012 in his ninth pro bout.

Avalos (24-2, 18 KOs), 24, has won five consecutive fights, three by knockout, since falling by split decision to Jhonatan Romero in December 2011.

After defeating Kokietgym, Rigondeaux called out WBC and IBF counterparts Leo Santa Cruz and Kiko Martinez, which are unification opponents Hyde would like to pursue.

Most recently in the ring after last Saturday’s second round stoppage of Manuel Roman, Santa Cruz has also been calling out Rigondeaux.

“I don’t believe Leo Santa Cruz really wants to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux because if he did, then he would have been talking to us long before now,” said Hyde, adding that Rigondeaux is still being handled by Caribe Promotions although his fight with Kokietgym was his final bout under Top Rank.

“It’s very easy to stand in there and to say before all of the media that, ‘Oh, yeah, I want to fight Rigondeaux because the fans want it,’ but you must fight Rigondeaux because you want it. I wouldn’t take notice with Santa Cruz making a bogus calling out like that at this point.”