The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Cho Floors Yamaguchi: Joe Koizumi


September 5, 1999
TOKYO, JAPAN-Korean lanky speedster INJOO CHO, 115, proved too ringwise and crafty for Japanese lefty KEIJI YAMAGUCHI, 115, and kept his WBC super-flyweight title on a lopsided decision as he controlled the fight and sent him sprawling to the deck twice in the final session at Ryogoku Sumo Arena. Some 6,500 spectators were in attendance to see ex-WBA light fly champ Yamaguchi's second coronation, but what they watched was Cho's superiority in the ringcarft.

Cho, 30, had dethroned Filipino lefty Gerry Penalosa by an upset decision in Seoul in August of the previous year. He kept his WBC belt by beating Mexican Joel Luna Zarate (W12) and Thailander Pone Saengmorakot (KO8) at his home turf this year.

It became a nearly onesided affair though people had expected a competitive bout between the speedsters. Cho, an upright stylist, extended his left hand-a la Oscar De La Hoya against Hector Camacho-to avert Yamaguchi's specialty, southpaw right jabs. His strategy worked so well that Yamaguchi, 5 years his junior at 25, failed to show his leading rights as usual. The unbeaten Korean dominated the first three sessions by a close margin.

The champ sustained a slight cut besides the left eyebrow caused by an accidental butt in the third, and referee Laurence Cole, US, deducted a point from the Japanese with the hair dyed in blond.

Cho, formerly an excellent amateur boxer, kept his distance and landed light but more accurate right-left-right combinations to the lefty footworker, piling up points steadily. Yamaguchi, who once became the WBA 108-pound champ by outscoring Panamanian Carlos Murillo in 1996, occasionally landed a big right hook at a time, but couldn't catch the Fancy Dan with his punches in combination.

Yamaguchi, a Japanese version of Prince Naseem Hamed, attempted to confuse and frustrate the champ with his tricky mobility and footwork, but Cho kept his composure, however trickily he tried to move.

In the beginning of the 9th, Yamaguchi almost stunned the champ with a looping right, but Cho was smart enough to keep him from following up with his shifty mobility. A collision of head occurred again with Yamaguchi steaming blood from a gash on the forehead, this time, with Cho being penalized a point. The 9th might be an only round that Yamaguchi obviously dominated.

The rather monotonous affair was illustrated with a vivid impression in the 12th and final canto, when Cho decked him twice to his credit. The champ connected with a vicious left hook and had him down on the deck. Yamaguchi, bleeding from the mouth, stood up and resumed going on, but was floored again with a left-right combo. The Japanese gamely regained his feet, but he barely went the distance without being declared a KO loser.

The officials tallied lopsided scores-Henry Elespuru (US) 108-117, Barbara Perez (US) 117-107, and Victor Cervantes (Mexico) 114-110, all for the defending champ. The third judge might evaluated Yamaguchi's fighting spirit, which was certainly displayed though without precision.

Cho, who once won a silver medal in the world junior championship games, scored a fine amateur mark of 89-6, 45 stoppages. The Korean raised his unblemished pro ledger to 16-0, 7 KOs. Yamaguchi dropped to 28-4, 11 KOs. The Japanese was also formerly a national amateur champ prior to his entry in the paid ranks in 1992.

Unlike many Korean bull-fighters, Cho is a scientific boxer depending on the defensive skill, so is less popular among Korean fight fans who love fighting rather than boxing. Regardless of the Korean aficionados' taste, Cho is a smart and stylish boxer though he doesn't possess convincing power.

The WBC No.1 ranked Filipino southpaw Gerry Penalosa, previously dethroned by Cho, was in attendance to watch the Korean's successful defense. Cho will be obliged to meet ex-champ Penalosa soon due the WBC's order.

Lefty hard-puncher FUSAAKI TAKENAGA, 122 3/4, displayed his lantern jaw instead of his iron fist, hitting the deck twice in the first round, and lost an upset decision to Filipino TONY BERNALES, 123, over 10. Takenaga, who previously had an unsuccessful attempt to win the vacant OPBF title via a TKO defeat by Filipino Reynante Jamili, fell to 21-6, 20 KOs. Bernales raised his mark to 9-9-2, 2 KOs.

JBC #9 ranked SATOSHI KOGUMAZAKA, 108, floored Filipino JERWIN BALABA, 108, in the third, and finally halted him at 1:26 of the 8th round in a scheduled 10. Kogumazaka, game but missing plenty, is 10-4-3, 6 KOs. Balaba is 10-8-4, 4 KOs.

Hard-punching but still less skillful MOTOICHIRO SATO, JBC #6 ranked fly, 114 1/2, eked out a split duke over JBC #9 super-fly TAKASHI YAHARA, 115, over 8. It's a resistless give-and-take battle.

Promoter: Taikoh Kobayashi Promotions.
WBC supervisor: Frank Quill (Australia).




REMARKS: It was a foul-studded fight with each head-butting repeatedly. Ref Laurence Cole showed an excellent refereeing in coping with the rough-and-tumble affair, converting it into a boxing bout. Good job, Laurence.


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