Takashi Miura wasn't likely to stand out the most on a card that boasted three major title fights. That didn't stop the former title challenger from trying, coming up big in his second title shot as he scored four knockodwns en route to a 9th round stoppage of Gamaliel Diaz to win a super featherweight belt Monday evening in Tokyo, Japan.
Diaz was attempting the first defense of the belt he acquired from Takahiro Aoh in a major upset last October. The Mexican ring veteran was in over his head against Miura, though t he fight was surprisingly even through the first four rounds, as revealed by open scoring (the standard for all WBC title fights). Miura scored a third round knockdown, but was penalized one point for an accidental headbutt that produced a cut over Diaz' eye.
Realizing that not even the safety net of fighting at home would assist his cause to win a title, Miura kicked it into overdrive. Diaz was dropped three more times, falling further behind with each passing round and his eyes rapidly swelling shut. The veteran showed tons of heart, but was simply unfit to continue by the time referee Laurence Cole decided to stop the contest.
The official time was 1:21 of round nine.
Miura improves to 25-2-2 (19KO), coming up big in his second attempt at a major title. The local southpaw fell short in his bid two years ago against Takashi Uchiyama, dropping his countryman early, but falling behind and ultimately suffering an 8th round stoppage.
The knockout loss puts Diaz' career in limbo. The 32-year old falls to 37-10-2 (17KO), though having entered the fight on the heels of a 14-fight win streak including last year's shocker over Aoh. Monday's loss marked his sixth suffered stoppage in his 15-year career.
The bout served as the televised opener on NIHON-TV in Japan. The other two legs of the tripleheader include Toshiyuki Igarashi in a lineal flyweight title defense against former strawweight titlist Akira Yaegashi and Shinsuke Yamanaka putting his bantamweight belt on the line against mandatory challenger Malcolm Tunacao.
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