Shinsuke Yamanaka scored three knockdowns en route to a landslide decision over Thailand's Suriyan Sor Rungvisai in their bantamweight title fight Wednesday evening in Tokyo.
Sor Rungvisai, a former WBC 115 lb champion who was hoping to claim a world title in a second weight class, made most of the early running continually pressing forwards and looking to sneak straight right hands through the guard of the Japanese southpaw.
Yamanaka made a very slow start but it was significant that he landed the most telling shot in the early exchanges, a left hook on the break which seemed to temporarily stop the Thai fighter in his stride in the second stanza.
In the fifth round, Sor Rungvisai found a home for the straight right, catching Yamanaka over and over again but, despite his improved accuracy, was unable to do any genuine damage to the Japanese fighter who kept a high guard and retained his composure throughout.
Yamanaka seemed to be circling out more effectively in the sixth and the momentum of the fight took a dramatic turn in his favour at the end of the seventh when a short left hand put the challenger on the canvass for the first time.
needed the full ten seconds and would have been relieved to hear the bell sound
soon after with Yamanaka picking up where he left off in the following round
with some fast, accurate combinations.
The momentum seemed to be firmly in the Japanese fighter’s favour but Sor Rungvisai came desperately close to scoring a knockdown of his own when he landed a perfectly timed counter right hand in the eighth which rocked Yamanaka but crucially never put him down.
By this stag,e the disparity between the punching power of the two fighters was abundant, a point which Yamanaka proved emphatically when a four punch combo culminated in a straight left hand which put Sor Rungvisai down for the second time in the fight.
The challenger appeared to be running out of steam and was deducted a point by the referee, possibly for leading with his head. The round—or his night—didn't get any better, walking directly into the line of fire as Yamanaka put him down for another count, functionally putting the fight out of reach.
To his credit, Sor Rungvisai never stopped moving forwards despite being well behind on the scorecards. The determined challenger dug deep for a big rally in the championship rounds, but Yamanaka proved too resourceful, avoiding his best punches and then planting his feet for one final flurry to put an exclamation point on his latest title defense.
Final scores of 116-108, 115-109 and 114-110 rendered Yamanaka a winner by unanimous decision. The loss by Sor Rungvisai snappend a 17-fight win streak, as he heads home with his record now at 37-6-1.
Yamanaka successfully defend his WBC 118 lbs belt for the seventh time and move up to 22-0-2.
The bout aired live on Nippon TV in Japan.
Off TV, former 130 lb. titlist Takahiro Aoh–now competiting at 135—gutted out a 10-round decision over former two-division beltholder Juan Carlos Salgado.