Pair Of Japanese World Champions Retain Their Belts Via Knockout In Tokyo

Naoya Inoue ended his 2016 with a sensational win over fellow countryman Kohei Kono on December 30 and retaining his WBO super flyweight title.

Inoue, who was ahead 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the judges' scorecards, knocked Kono flat on his back with a left hook in the sixth round. Kono beat the count, but Inoue was all over him when the fight resumed, constantly landing power punches until the referee waved off the fight without a count at 1 minute, 1 second.

The win further cements Inoue as one of the premier boxers in Japan, having held the super flyweight world title since the end of 2014. Despite Inoue only having 12 professional fights under his belt, he's already a two-division titleholder. He was briefly the WBC light flyweight title in 2014 before making the jump to super flyweight.

For Kono, this was the second straight loss in a world title fight. He was previously the WBA super flyweight but lost it to Luis Concepcion back in August.

On the undercard, another Japanese world champion retained his belt via knockout as well. IBF light flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi knocked out Wittawas Basapean in the 12th round of the fight. Like Inoue, Yaegashi dominated the fight, and was winning almost every single round in all three judges' scorecards.

Yaegashi is also a former world champion at flyweight and straweight, but is coming off a rotator-cuff injury. With the win, Yaegashi is now obligated to fight interim champion Milan Melindo within 120 days.

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