In a shocking upset, Mexico's Fernando Montiel unseated reigning WBC bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa today at Nihon Budokan in Tokyo.
Montiel, who had previously held the WBO flyweight and super fly titles, moved up to 118 pounds in 2008, capturing the WBO bantam strap in February by defeating Cisco Morales in Las Vegas, NV.
But Hasegawa was a far more difficult target, having seen the WBC crown through ten defenses since winning it four years ago from Veeraphol Sahaprom in 2006.
Hasegawa had improved significantly as a champion, stopping his last five challengers over the course of ten rounds and was the definite favorite going into this hometown defense against Montiel.
Once the fast-paced bout began today in Tokyo, Hasegawa was boxing beautifully from the southpaw stance and aggressively catching his shorter adversary with heavy single shots.
But cagey Montiel began to slip Hasegawa's jab right hands, landing sharp counters, particularly the left hook.
Hasegawa suddenly found himself in trouble after Montiel landed a full blooded lead right followed by a left hook that sent the Japanese champion reeling in the fourth.
Only the ropes held up Hasegawa as Montiel landed unanswered blows, forcing a stoppage with just one second left of the frame.
Montiel wins the WBC bantamweight title, improving to 41-2-2 (31), while Hasegawa loses for the first time in nine years, falling to 28-3 (12).
On the undercard, WBC super bantam boss Toshiaki Nishioka, 36-4-3 (23), retained his belt for the third time by stopping Balweg Bangoyan, 15-1 (6), at 1:14 of the fifth round.
Nishioka will now engage in an all southpaw title defense against England's Rendall Munroe, who won a WBC title eliminator last weekend.