By Jake Donovan
Denkaosan Kaovichit barely turned back the challenge of Nobuo Nashiro to claim a vacant interim title Tuesday in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The 37-year old former flyweight titlist escaped with a split decision to claim a belt in a second weight class, even if of the interim variety and even if the decision didn't necessarily go the right way.
Nashiro didn't do himself any favors as the visiting fighter by trickling out to a slow start. The former two-time super flyweight titlist was outhustled in the first couple of rounds before settling into a groove late in the third round.
Still, the visiting Japanese boxer struggled to truly gain the upper hand. At no point did Kaovichit show his age, in fact looking like the fresher fighter despite giving away six years to the 31-year old Nashiro.
The fight picked up steam in the second half, as Nashiro finished round six strong and improved with each passing round. Kaovichit slowly began to fall behind but refused to wilt. He also refused to play it safe, which made for thrilling action for the fans but anxious moments for his handlers who nervously watched at ringside as Nashiro dominated whenever the two fought on the inside.
As the fight crept towards the championship rounds, Nashiro fought more and more like a man who realized his surroundings. A power punching display was offered in rounds ten and eleven, but never translated into a big finish as Kaovichit finally decided that enough fighting had taken place. The Thai veteran clinched his way to the finish line, which in the end turned out to be enough to preserve his lead on two of the three scorecards.
Scores were announced, but only in Thai.
Kaovichit improves to 62-3-1 (26KO) with the win, his 12th straight. Nashiro is now winless in his past six title fights (0-5-1 over that stretch) as he falls to 19-6-1 (13KO).
Whether or not Kaovichit deserved the nod is up for debate. Short of a rematch to prove otherwise he will now move into position to fight for a real title sometime in the future against Venezuela's Liborio Solis.
There's also the possibility of a rubber match with Daiki Kameda, who bested Rodrigo Guerrero for a vacant super flyweight title in Japan, mere hours after Kaovichit's return to the title picture.
The fight aired live on Thailand Channel 7.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: Nobuo Nashiro