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Nihito Arakawa, Yoshitaka Kato Win Big at Korakuen Hall

By Hisao Adachi

At Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, the mecca of Japanese boxing since 1962, a capacity crowd of 1400 spectators, saw a great promotion from the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing Gym of Hachioji City in Tokyo. There were a total of seven bouts, with a twelve round main event for the OPBF crown.

In the ten round lightweight co-feature, #1 ranked Yoshitaka Kato (20-4-1, 5KOs, 26 years old and Kadoebi Boxing Gym in Tokyo) won by unanimous decision (98-93, 97-94, 96-95) over #2 ranked Takashi Inagaki (13-10-1, 6KOs, and 25 years old and Flash Akabane Boxing Gym in Tokyo) to win the vacant title that was left behind by Nihito Arakawa, who became the new champion of the OPBF on the same card. Kato is the only fighter to defeat Arakawa, by decision over six rounds in 2008.
 
Kato has won ten straight since losing a split decision to then-champion Akihiro Kondo in 2009. Kato suffered a fracture in the back of his left eye, but, overcame the injury after eye surgery.

In the twelve round main event for vacant lightweight title of the OPBF (Boxing Federation of East and Pacific), there was a war between two lefties from Japan and the Philippines. 
 
#6 WBA, #7 WBC Nihito Arakawa (21-1-1, 14KOs, 30-years-old and Hachioji Nakaya Boxing Gym in the city of Hachioji, Tokyo) was declared the winner by split decision over #1 ranked Filipino OPBF lightweight champion Jay "Fast" Solmiano (11-1-1, 7KOs, 24 years of age), who lost his unbeaten record with the loss. 

Nihito finished the fight with a swollen face while the Philippines boxer was almost unscathed. Nihito had trouble early when he was dropped in the second round. The hard-hitting Filipino was trying to hurt Nihito in every round, looking for a knockout, but the Japanese fighter stuck to his technical boxing to avoid the dangerous blows of the champion.

In the end, the outcome was razor tight. The scores ---- 115-113 for Nihito, 115-112 for the Filipino and 115-114 for Nihito.

Nihito said after the fight - "I was able to win thanks to my local fight fans in Tokyo. I want to be recognized as a worthy champion by making my next title defense against the  official challenger. I want to be the best without leaving any shred of doubt. Thanks to my sparring with Yuriorkis Gamboa, I know that I'm the kind of world champion who can get very far."

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