By Jake Donovan
TOKYO, JAPAN -- Kohei Kono barely held on to his portion of the 115 lb. crown, as the resurgent titlist fought Dominican Republic's Norberto Jimenez to a 12-round draw Wednesday evening at Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
Scores were 115-112 Kono, 116-111 Jimenez and 114-114 even in a bout that is due to air via same-day tape-delay on TV Tokyo in Japan.
The bout marked the first defense of a second title reign for Kono (30-8-1, 13KOs), who regained his old belt with an 8th round stoppage of Denkaosan Kaovichit this past March. The belt was made available after Liborio Solis - whom bested Kono in this very arena in May '13 to end his first title reign - was forced to vacate after showing up heavy for a planned unification bout with Daiki Kameda last December.
Neither title stay has been a walk in the park for the 34-year old, easily the most vulnerable top fighter in the 115 lb. division.
Jimenez heads back to Dominican Republic with his head held high. The draw extends his current unbeaten streak to 21 straight as his record moves to 20-8-3 (10KOs). His career sputtered out to a miserable 2-8-1 start before enjoying an unlikely turnaround.
The 23-year old challenger fought on the road for the first time, and also his first attempt at a major title.
Earlier in the evening, Ryoichi Tagushi dethroned Alberto Rossel for a 108 lb. title in a 12-round decision. The full recap can be found HERE.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox