By Jake Donovan
The New Year's Eve boxing tradition in Japan continues to shake up awards season. In the latest among a year full of upsets, Yukinori Oguni pulled off a stunner in outpointing Jonathan Guzman to win a super bantamweight title Saturday evening in Kyoto, Japan.
Scores were 115-112 across the board for the local boxer, who was taking a massive leap in competition level but ultimately rose to the occasion.
A long night was in store for Guzman, the visiting champion from Dominican Republic who'd stopped each of his 22 foes entering the night. It was his second consecutive trip to Japan, his first coming in July where he stopped Shingo Wake in 11 rounds to win a vacant super bantamweight title.
This particular evening wouldn't be anywhere nearly as memorable, at least not for Guzman. Oguni was a considerable underdog heading into the bout, but rode an adrenaline rush all the way to the finish line, forcing Guzman to overcome an opening round knockdown and a mid-round cut to prevail by identical scores of 115-112.
Oguni improves - in every sense of the word - to 19-1-1 (7KOs) with the win, his fifth straight while also extending his unbeaten streak to nine in a row. The lone loss of his career came in a 10th round stoppage versus Wake in July '13, a bout that remained the lone notable entry on his resume and thus providing concern over his chances here.
Someone forgot to pass that along to the local challenger, who wins his first major title.
As for Guzman, it's a short-lived title reign and the end of his days as an unbeaten knockout artist. The 27-year old slugger falls to 22-1 (22KOs) in conceding his title and perfect record.
The bout aired live on Fuji TV in Japan as well as Argentina's TyC Sports (which is also carried in the United States).