by Ronnie Nathanielsz

The World Boxing Organization has made a breakthrough in its consistent efforts to get the Japan Boxing Commission to recognize the organization and to allow Japanese fighters to fight for WBO regional titles.

In what may well be considered a major first step WBO Asia Pacific featherweight champion and WBC/WBO No.2 ranked world contender Cholatarn Piriyapinyo (35-0, 21 KO’s) of Thailand successfully defended his title with a 5th round TKO over Japanese challenger Masayuki Wakimoto (15-2, 6 KO’s)  in the province of Suphan Buri, Thailand on Wednesday.

WBO Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo in an email to the Inquirer said the fight was a first in the history of the WBO Asia Pacific region since the Japan Boxing Commission gave their blessings for Japanese contender Wakimoto to fight for a WBO regional title..

In an action packed bout Panoncillo reported that  Wakimoto took the opening round by using an excellent jab and peppering Cholatarn with combinations to the head and body in what was regarded as a feeling out round by the Thai champion.

Cholatarn opened up in the third round and dropped the Japanese challenger with a counter right straight but he survived the round.

The Thai champion dropped Wakimoto early in the fifth round with solid combinations to the head and body but the game Japanese challenger beat the eight count. However, Cholatarn dropped him again with another devastating combination and the referee didn’t even bother to count. The time was 1:29 of the 5th round.

Panoncillo said Chonlatarn was one pound over the 126 pound limit in his first try at the official weigh-in held at the WBO office in Bangkok but made it with no problem on his second try while Wakimoto came in at 125 ½ pounds.

Panoncillo earlier reported that “both fighters look very eager to get it on.” He said at the rules meeting the trainer of Wakimoto approached him and provided a document of approval from the Japan Boxing Commission  which stated that Wakimoto had been licensed by the JBC and was authorized to participate in the WBO Asia Pacific title fight. The letter was signed by the Executive Secretary of the JBC, Tsuyoshi Yasukochi.

Panoncillo said “this sure is a positive part of their respected commission to acknowledge a Japanese boxer’s participation” in a WBO regional title fight. Panoncillo said he was truly honored to work with the JBC in the future in developing Japanese fightrers vying for WBO titles outside Japan. Panoncillo added “if you will I do want to send my best regards to JBC Executive Secretary Tsuyoshi Yasukochi and to all the executive members of the Japan Boxing Commission and to thank them for all their consideration and cooperation with the WBO.