21
Nov
2018

Masayuki Ito wins vacant WBO title at 130, Gabriel Bracero stuns Artemio Reyes in five

RINGSIDE 29/07/2018

Masayuki Ito traveled halfway around the world, and he will return home a world champion. Ito, from Tokyo, defeated Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz via unanimous decision (116-111, 117-110, 118-109) Saturday evening at the Kissimmee Civic Center in a pitched affair to win the vacant WBO junior lightweight world championship.

Ito (24-1-1, 12 KOs) knocked down Diaz (23-1, 15 KOs) in the fourth round and controlled the tempo of the fight, becoming the sixth current male world champion from Japan. Ito, who was fighting for the first time outside of Japan, was not fazed by the pro-Diaz crowd.

“I believe in myself. I knew I was going to become a world champion, and that is exactly what happened,” Ito said.

“Since the beginning of the fight, I knew I had more power and I dropped him.

“In my mind, I kept saying that it was a close fight and that is why I kept going for the knockout.

“I knew that this was going to be a good fight, and I respect Diaz for coming ready to fight. He is a warrior. This is a dream come true for me. Now, I want bigger fights.”

Said Diaz: “This does not end here. I am going to return with more strength and with more hunger. I have a promise to fulfill. I am going to be a world champion. I promise you that.”

bracero mikey

In the co-feature, Gabriel “Tito” Bracero (25-3-1, 6 KOs), who was a late replacement for the injured Carlos Adames, scored the upset and knocked out Artemio Reyes with a body shot in the fifth round of a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout.

Bracero broke a two-bout winless streak with a masterful performance, outboxing the taller Reyes before a left hand to the liver sent Reyes to the canvas for the count.

Reyes (25-3, 20 KOs) saw his 10-bout unbeaten streak come to an end against Bracero, a 37-year-old former amateur star who seized this unexpected opportunity.

“Even though I came in as a last-minute replacement, I told you guys I was ready,” Bracero said.

“I was in camp working hard and helping Robert Easter Jr. for his fight {against Mikey Garcia}. This felt like a sparring session to me. I feel great! I’m hungry! I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. Thanks to Top Rank for the opportunity.”

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