Nagoya's Nihon Gaishi Hall was a hotbed of fisticuffs last night as two WBC title fights resulted in one big victory for Japanese boxing.
Seven months after Fernando Montiel ended Hozumi Hasegawa's 10 defense reign as WBC bantamweight king, the veteran southpaw returned as a featherweight, clashing for the vacant WBC crown at 126 pounds against previously undefeated Juan Carlos Burgos.
Burgos was coming off a WBC elimination bout victory over two-weight world title challenger Ricardo Castillo and many expected the 22 year old career featherweight to be too strong an obstacle for Hasegawa's two division jump.
Hasegawa set the pace in the early rounds, surprisingly taking the fight to his less experienced foe and this approach won the Kobe man the first half of the bout.
But when Hasegawa started to slow down, his Mexican adversary took the initiative in the seventh and his advantages in size and strength were evident as the former bantam was belted around the ring.
Hasegawa survived the assault and the pair were trading on even terms before the local hero used excellent defense and counters to edge the final frame.
When the scores were read, Hasegawa swept the cards 117-110, 117-110 and 116-111 to capture the WBC featherweight title and improve to 29-3 (12). Burgos drops to 25-1 (18), suffering his first pro loss.
In the other world title clash, ex-WBC feather boss Takahiro Ao, 20-2-1 (9), went up to super feather and unseated reigning WBC kingpin Vitali Tajbert, 20-2 (6), via a 117-112, 116-110 and 115-112 points verdict following twelve tough rounds.
Southpaw Ao was the sharper fighter from the start, downing the champion in the third but Tajbert beat the count and continued. When Ao finally started to flag in the later frames, Tajbert took control but it was too late as Ao was awarded the decision.