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Junto Nakatani, 26, from Japan, secured the WBC bantamweight championship in a remarkable fashion on Saturday in Tokyo, defeating Alexandro Santiago with a sixth-round Junto Nakatani TKO. This victory marks Nakatani’s third division title, a testament to his skill and determination in the ring.

The bout reached its climax in the sixth round when Nakatani floored Santiago with a powerful straight left. Shortly after, a precise right hook landed, causing Santiago to hit the canvas once more, leading his corner to quickly stop the one-sided bout at 1 minute and 12 seconds into the round.

Nakatani’s dominance was evident throughout the fight, as he won every round on all three scorecards. Despite moving up to the bantamweight division for the first time, Nakatani showcased his superiority, utilizing his height and reach advantages effectively. Standing at 5-foot-8 with a 67-inch reach, Nakatani’s active southpaw jab controlled the pace of the fight, peppering Santiago with clean left hands and causing damage around the champion’s eyes.

Santiago, coming off a career-best victory over Nonito Donaire, entered the ring with confidence. However, he struggled to find his rhythm against Nakatani’s relentless assault. Despite Santiago’s efforts to close the distance, Nakatani’s well-timed jabs and uppercuts thwarted the champion’s attacks. Conceding 5 inches in height to Nakatani, Santiago faced an uphill battle from the start.

Nakatani’s rapid ascent in the boxing world is undeniable. His knockout victory over Andrew Moloney was recognized as ESPN’s of the Year, solidifying his status as a rising star in the sport. With previous titles at 112 and 115 pounds, Nakatani’s triumph at bantamweight further cements his legacy as one of boxing’s most promising talents.

Takuma Inoue retains title

Takuma Inoue, the younger sibling of Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue, successfully defended his WBA bantamweight title in the main event with a ninth-round knockout victory over Jerwin Ancajas.

Inoue, with a record of 19 wins and 1 loss, delivered a devastating blow to Ancajas in the form of a right uppercut to the body, sending the challenger to the canvas for the full count at 44 seconds into Round 9.

At 28 years old, Inoue was making his inaugural defense of the 118-pound title, which he clinched in April through a decision win over Liborio Solis. Ranked as ESPN’s No. 2 bantamweight, Inoue follows in the footsteps of his brother Naoya, who holds the No. 2 spot on ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings and reigns as the undisputed junior featherweight champion.

On the other side of the ring, Ancajas, a former 115-pound champion, has faced a recent string of setbacks, with three losses in his last four bouts. Prior to his defeat against Inoue, Ancajas suffered defeats against Fernando Martinez in junior bantamweight title clashes in 2022.

The 32-year-old Filipino entered the contest ranked No. 8 by ESPN at the bantamweight division, but was unable to overcome the formidable challenge posed by Inoue.

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