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Tanaka Wins War With Acosta

Kosei Tanaka
Kosei Tanaka

By Derek Bonnett


In other Japanese action, Japanese Wonder Kid, Kosei Tanaka, put his light flyweight title on the line against little known Angel Acosta at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Tanaka was making the first defense of his title against the Puerto Rican challenger. The two boxers let it all hang out for twelve action packed rounds which saw the champion retaining his title, but the challenger had plenty of room to gripe with the final scores.


Acosta, 26, started spectacularly, working behind his jab and fighting with supreme confidence. He demonstrated very natural fighter instincts as he pressed forward and timed his one-twos excellently down the middle. Acosta bobbed and weaved his way inside and made the champion look rather ordinary over the first three rounds. Over the first nine minutes, it was Tanaka who ate the biggest shots, but the champion took them well and never faltered. Acosta countered more as Tanaka let his hands go and built a nice 30-27 unofficially on the SecondsOut scorecard. However, the champion came out for the fourth with renewed vigor and opened up with his punches to initiate the best-two way action of the bout up to this stage. Both boxers ripped one two down the middle or to the trunk of his opponent. Tanaka took over after the first minute to earn the round.


Tanaka, 21, dropped Acosta with a compact right hand on the inside. The challenger took a seat, but rose to his feet to control much of the round with composed boxing. Tanaka did not carry his momentum long though. Acosta easily outboxed him in spots and set back to parry much of the Japanese fighter’s offense in the sixth. The champion moved his shots downstairs to gain an advantage, but Acosta kept things close and landed his shots cleanly, consistently keeping the higher volume. The Tanaka we have come to know and respect resurfaced in round eight. Acosta was kept on his heels and on less steady legs for nearly three minutes. The champion led by only one point unofficially on the SecondsOut card up to this point.


Acosta willingly met Tanaka in a phone booth war to start round nine. The challenger gave it all, but in the trenches, Tanaka’s power was rewarded as he landed the more telling blows. Neither man took a back step for long and the leather was blistering. In the tenth, Acosta did virtually nothing wrong, but Tanaka was winning these rounds rather than Acosta losing them. The pace was frenetic and Tanaka was digging deep to preserve his unbeaten record and his title. Acosta, also not letting his "0" go easily, established himself as a clear top ten threat with the verdict seemingly still up in the air. The toe to toe action continued into the eleventh as both fired punches to establish both offense and defense. The phone booth warfare was furious and Acosta actually looked to land more cleanly and more often even if his shots were not carrying the same impact. In the final round, Acosta used his superior technical boxing skills to control the first minute, but the champion finished strongly over the last two minutes. Both champion and challenger punishes the stomach, chest, and arms of his foe while trying to land the knockout blow. It never came, but fans were left with a fabulous twelve round bout.


SecondsOut had Tanaka retaining his title narrowly 115-113. However, the official scores saw the champion winning comfortably 117-110 twice and 116-111. Tanaka lifted his record to 9-0-0 (5). Acosta dipped to 16-1-0 (16).

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