Cuban star Guillermo Rigodeaux was relieved of some of his apparent invincibility on New Year’s Eve as the unified super-bantamweight bruised his way past a tough Hisashi Amagasa in Japan.
The 34 year-old was dropped twice at the end of the seventh round as Amagasa threatened to end Rigondeaux’s undefeated streak, although the champion piled on the pressure to end the fight after eleven completed rounds.
Home fighter Amagasa, 29, was put on the canvas himself in the ninth round of what turned out to be a full-on war between the two, but can hold his head up high despite going down to a fifth loss from 35 bouts.
The rangy fighter ended the contest with a mangled face from Rigondeaux’s constantly accurate combinations and was forced out of the fight with two swollen eyes and a possibly fractured cheekbone.
Rigondeaux was heavy favourite going into the contest against the relatively unknown Amagasa on the back of failing to secure the massive bout he craves against top contenders Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg.
Either of those fellow world title holders may fancy the task of facing ‘Rigo’ a little more on Wednesday’s viewing as Amagasa uncovered weaknesses in the seventh session that his rivals may believe they can exploit.
In chief support at the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, Katsunari Takayama regained the world minimumweight title for the third time in his career by halting Go Odaira in seven rounds.
Takayama, 31, added the WBO version to his previously held IBF championship with an eleventh early finish from 28 wins to end current Japanese champion Odaira’s challenge and inflict a fourth loss on the southpaw.
Also on the bill, Two-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka scored another victory at flyweight, whilst 23 year-old Sho Ishida improved to 18-0 at the higher super-flyweight division with a tenth knockout.
Elsewhere in Tokyo, three world titles were contested at Ota-City General Gym as Takashi Uchiyama and Kohei Kono retained their belts in contrasting circumstances and Ryoichi Taguchi relieved Albert Rossel of his WBA light flyweight championship.
Uchiyama retired Israel Perez after nine rounds to keep a firm grip on his WBA super-featherweight title, whist Kono was held to a split decision draw by Norberto Jiminez but remains the WBA super-flyweight champion.
Taguchi’s clash with Rossel ended with scores of 117-109, 116-110 and 116-111 on the scorecards after the challenger put the veteran Peruvian on the floor in the eighth and ninth rounds to win a first world title.