Choi retains WBA junior lightweight crown
TOKYO (AP) _ South Korean Choi Yong-soo today retained his World Boxing Association junior lightweight title with a unanimous 12-round decision over Japanese challenger Yamato Mitani at the Waseda University Memorial Hall.
It was the 23-year-old Choi’s first defense of the title he won from Victor Hugo Paz of Argentina in Salta, Argentina, in October.
Choi, South Korea’s only reigning world champion, improved to 19-2 with 12 knockouts.
Mitani has lost only twice in his career, both times to Choi. Mitani, now 7-2 with six knockouts, was outpointed by Choi in 1994 when Choi held the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation title.
Judges Derek Milham of Australia and Pinit Prayadsab of Thailand each sscored the fight 115-114, while Rafael Carabano of Venezuela had it 115-113.
Mitani, ranked 10th by the WBA, started aggressively, with a combination of punches and then holdings, repeatedly grabbing his opponent’s arms, neck and chest. He was penalized points by referee Silvestre Abainza of the Philippines for a headbutt in the ninth round.
The champion kept coming at Mitani, throwing strong and accurate shots at the challenger’s jaw.
``I’m not satisfied with the fight today. I couldn’t fight the way I wanted to,″ Choi said alluding to the way Mitani grabbed and clutched.
Choi was bleeding in the latter stages of the fight after sustaining a cut on the right eyelid from Mitani’s headbutt while exchanging punches in the sixth round.