Japan's Nishioka retains WBC belt
LAS VEGAS - Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka (photo) successfully defended his WBC super bantamweight title, unanimously outpointing Rafael Marquez at the MGM Grand hotel and casino on Saturday.
The 35-year-old Nishioka boosted his record to 39-4-3 in his seventh title defense and first on US soil.
He received winning scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 from the three ringside judges. Marquez's record fell to 40-7.
Nishioka has won 16 fights in a row, 10 of them by knockout, since last losing in 2004 to Thai legend Veeraphol Sahaprom.
The Las Vegas showdown was the seventh title defense for the southpaw since he took the crown from Thailand's Napapol Sor Rungvisai in 2008 at Yokohama.
Nishioka said recently he wants to fight Filipino star Nonito Donaire and then possibly retire.
Donaire, 26-1 with 18 knockouts, has not lost in 25 fights over more than a decade entering an October 22 World Boxing Council bantamweight title defense in New York against Argentine southpaw Omar Andres Navarez.
Donaire won a world crown in his third different weight class in February, taking his current crown with a second-round stoppage of Mexico's Fernando Montiel.
On the undercard, Nicaragua's Roman Gonzalez remained unbeaten and retained his WBA light flyweight title with an impressive second-round knockout of Mexico's Omar Soto.
Gonzalez, who improved to 30-0 with 25 knockouts, took control in the first round and 36 seconds into the second he sent Soto to the floor with a right followed by an uppercut.
Soto fell to 22-9-1.
Gonzalez was making his US debut and the third defense of the crown he took from Mexico's Francisco Rosas last year in Tokyo. Soto, 22-8 with two drawn and 15 knockouts, has lost four world title bouts.
Nishioka improved to 39-4-3 in his sixth title defense, receiving winning scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 from the judges. Marquez dropped to 40-7.
"The key was keeping my distance from Marquez," the 35-year-old Nishioka said through an interpreter. "He had a long jab. Marquez's punches extend. His punches are powerful. Not for a second could I rest."
On the undercard, Ramon Gonzalez retained his WBA light flyweight title by stopping Omar Soto at 36 seconds of the second round. Gonzalez improved to 30-0 with his 25th knockout, flooring Soto (22-9-1) with a left to the chin.
In the fifth round, Nishioka, a left-hander, started landing his most of his punches. He also landed two more in the sixth on the 36-year-old Marquez
"As the first time to defend the title in the U.S., the tension was high," Nishioka said. "With the support of my gym and the fans of Japan, I put on a good defense."
In the eighth, Nishioka landed three consecutive punches, backing Marquez against the ropes, and later another to the face. After a brief timeout by referee Kenny Bayless because of a cut on Nishioka's head due to a head butt, both fighters landed several punches to end the round.
Marquez came out the aggressor in the ninth, but Nishioka rallied late in the session.
Nishioka started strong in the 10th with several lefts.
"We recognize Nishioka won the last three rounds," Marquez said through an interpreter. "I think I was the winner of the fight. He was catching me with the left. I started adjusting things and came on in the end.
"I love to have a rematch. I keep going forward. I thought I was ahead on points. I don't see it as a loss. I think I was the winner of the fight."
In September 2008, Nishioka won the interim title and became undisputed champion when Israel Vazquez vacated his title. In Nishioka's previous fight, he stopped Mauricio Munoz on April 8.
Marquez had the title for five months in 2007, defeating Vazquez, but losing the rematch.
Nishioka retains WBC crown with victory against Marquez
Rafael Marquez figured that by fighting in Las Vegas instead of Japan, he'd get a fair shake from the judges.
But after losing a 12-round unanimous decision Saturday to reigning WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka at the MGM Grand's Marquee Ballroom, Marquez probably felt he'd have been better off facing Nishioka in Tokyo.
Marquez (40-7) said he thought he'd done enough to win, and he was angry with the decision after judges Robert Hoyle (117-111), Dave Moretti (116-112) and C.J. Ross (115-113) had Nishioka winning.
"I'm very disappointed," said Marquez, a 36-year-old from Mexico. "I thought I won the first five rounds easily, and I believe I won at least seven rounds."
Nishioka, 35, a minus-270 favorite making his sixth title defense, said he fought the smarter fight.
Marquez also fought with intelligence early on, using his jab, cutting down the ring and not falling prey to the awkwardness of Nishioka, a southpaw. In the eighth round, the two fighters' heads clashed, and Nishioka sustained a cut on top of his head. The head-butt was ruled accidental, but Nishioka appeared shaken. With blood flowing down the right side of his face, he was hesitant as Marquez went after him and landed a big right hand late in the round.
It was more of the same in the ninth, as Marquez scored early with another overhand right and followed with a straight right hand. It might have been the wake-up call Nishioka needed, because he came out for the 10th a desperate fighter, landing a solid combination early in the round that stunned Marquez momentarily. He landed three more lefts that had Marquez backing up as Nishioka battled his way back.
"I was afraid they were going to stop the fight after the cut," said Nishioka (39-4-3). "So I had to fight harder."
In the co-feature, WBA junior flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez knocked out Omar Soto in the second round. Gonzalez (30-0), whose title was not at stake after Soto came in 3½ pounds over the 108-pound limit at Friday's weigh-in, landed a three-punch right-left-right combination that dropped Soto (22-9-1) in front of his corner as referee Robert Byrd counted him out at 36 seconds of the round.
Las Vegas' Jesse Magdaleno improved to 6-0 after stopping Isaac Hidalgo in the first round. Magdaleno was hitting Hidalgo (8-8-2) relentlessly throughout the first three minutes, and Hidalgo couldn't see out of his left eye and didn't come out for the second round.
By Steve Carp
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.
Japan’s WBC super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka pounded out an impressive twelve round unanimous decision over former two division champion Rafael Marquez, brother of WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It was a good fight but the Japanese southpaw finished aggressively to win on the scorecards of all three judges, 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who had earlier told us he had an agreement for the winner of the Nishioka-Marquez title fight to face Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who wants to move up to super bantamweight after successfully defending his WBC/WBO bantamweight title against undefeated Omar Andres Narvaez at New York’s Madison Square Garden on October 22, early next year.
However, in an interview with philboxing.come/insidesports.ph shortly after Nishioka won, Arum said the planned Donaire-Nishioka fight will not happen as earlier planned for mid-January and that “probably Nishioka won’t fight Donaire until May or June because he wants to take a rest.”
Arum said “This will give Donaire an opportunity to have two fights before he fights Nishioka.”
Arum was clearly impressed by the Japanese champion. He said “I think Nishioka is a very, very tough guy to fight and he is very good.”
The Top Rank promoter raised the possibility of Donaire fighting WBO super bantamweight champion Jorge “Travieso” Arce.
Arum said the Mexican warrior had agreed to fight Donaire and this could be the fight before the showdown with Nishioka.
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