By Jake Donovan
Shinsuke Yamanaka (15-0-2, 11KO) turned back the challenge of Vic Darchinyan (37-4-1, 27KO) with a 12-round unanimous decision win Friday evening at the International Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
Scores were 116-112 (twice) and 117-111 for Yamanaka, who was making the first defense of his bantamweight belt.
Darchinyan was aggressive early on, but lost control in the middle rounds and could never quite catch the defending champ. Scorecards through eight rounds revealed a fight still mathematically within reach, but Yamanaka closed strong to remain unbeaten.
The loss is now two straight for Darchinyan, who is now 0-3 in bantamweight title fights after having fallen short to Joseph Agbeko and Anselmo Moreno.
In earlier results, former two division champ Hozumi Hasegawa keeps his career afloat after scoring a 7th round knockout over previously unbeaten Felipe Carlos Felix.
Hasegawa (30-4, 12KO) hadn't fought since his title-losing knockout at the hands of Jhonny Gonzalez nearly one year ago to the day, marking his second knockout loss in the span of three fights. The 31-year old looked sharp in dismantling Felix (18-1, 10KO), who had fought exclusively in Mexico and against pedestrian opposition prior to Friday's bout.
Takahario Ao (23-2-1, 10KO) made the third defense of his super featherweight belt with a 12-round decision over determined Thai challenger Terdsak Kokeitgym (46-4-1, 31KO). Scores were 116-112 (twice) and a far too wide 118-110 in what was a sensational battle.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]