By Joe Koizumi
Faster footworker Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11 KOs), 108, Japan, successfully kept his WBA light-flyweight belt when he kept outfighting the mandatory challenger Ryo Miyazaki (24-2-3, 15 KOs), 108, and pounded out a unanimous verdict on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan. Taguchi, making his fourth defense, made good use of circling and jabbing to steadily pile up points throughout the contest. The tallies were as follows: Stanley Christodoulou (South Africa) 119-109, Philippe Verbeke (Belgium) 117-111, and Luis Pabon (Puerto Rico) 116-112, all for Taguchi, taller by four inches. The referee was Melva Santos (Puerto Rico). Miyazaki made a good start when he showed an opening attack to the compatriot. But Taguchi took back the initiative from the second round on, averting Miyazaki’s attack and throwing good jabs and countering left hooks. As the contest progressed, Taguchi’s dominance became clearer with Miyazaki’s inexplicable retreating. Miyazaki, from Osaka, displayed his last surge in the final session but it wasn’t enough to overcome his deficits on points.