May 8, 2017
OPBF heavyweight champ, WBC#15/WBO#13/WBA#14 Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9 KOs), 228.5, halted Australian titlist and OPBF #1 Herman Purcell (12-6, 6 KOs), 257.75, with the loserfs corner tossing in the towel at 1:22 of the ninth round to retain his OPBF belt and newly acquire the vacant WBO Asia Pacific (ASPAC) title on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Kyotaro is gunning for a shot at the current WBO titleholder Joseph Parker of New Zealand in the near future.
Fujimoto was cautious in the first two rounds, when Purcell, two inches shorter but some thirty pounds heavier, occasionally threw roundhouse swings to have the Japanese champ bewildered for a while. But Kyotaro started warming up his engine, throwing jabs and left-right combinations to dominate the third and fourth sessions. After the fourth, the open scoring system indicated it was nearly even: 38-38 twice and 39-37 for Kyotaro.
The fifth witnessed Purcell almost topple the fleet-footed Kyotaro with a looping left hook, which had his knees nearly buckled and had him at bay. But Kyotaro gamely retaliated with one-two combos to bring Purcell to a standstill in the closing seconds of the round. The Japanese footworker dominated the sixth through eighth with his good use of hand speed and good precision against the flat-footed Australian. As the contest progressed, Herman became so apparently slowing down, Kyotaro began to handle him with jabs and left-right combos almost at will.
It's surprising that Purcellfs chief second Brendon Smith, midway in round nine, climbed up to the apron and waived the towel to ask the referee Yuji Fukuchi to halt the proceedings as he thought Herman was through.
Prior to the abrupt stoppage, all the officials had Kyotaro leading on points?Fernando Estrella (Philippines) 78-74, Frank Hadley (Australia) and Akihiro Katsuragi (Japan) both 77-75, all in favor of Fujimoto.
It wasn't an easy fight for Kyotaro at all, but we admit he's improving in every fight since he entered the international style fighting after his K-1 career.
Promoter: Kadoebi Promotions.
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