By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Promoter/manager and trainer Aljoe Jaro had a lot of confidence in the WBC's mandatory minimumweight Denver Cuello when he matched him against Japan’s Takashi Kunishige in Osaka. Although risking a mandatory title shot at the winner of the May 6th clash between China’s WBC champion Xiong Zhao Zhon and Panama’s Carlos Ortega - fighting Kunishige was a risk that Jaro was willing to take, confident of his fighter’s power to prevail.
Cuello, who injured his shoulder when he beat Ivan Meneses of Mexico last year and was wary of re-injuring it, didn’t let loose with his usual devastating power but was still able to drop the Japanese boxer in round two but didn’t finish him off.
Two of the three judges had Cuello winning by margins of 97-92 and 96-93, but the third judge scored it even at 95-95. Cuello improved to 33-4-6 with 21 knockouts. While the 36 year old Kunishige dropped to 24-9-2 with 2 knockouts.