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Kiko Martinez stops Hasegawa

Hozumi Hasegawa Kiko MartinezBy Allan Fox: IBF super bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez (31-4, 23 KO’s) successfully defended his title by stopping former WBC bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15 KO’s) in the 7th round on Wednesday night at the Castle Hall, in Osaka, Osaka, Japan. Martinez, 28, knocked the 33-year-old Hasegawa down three times in the fight.

The fight was halted at 1:20 of the 7th round by referee Robert Byrd after Martinez knocked Hasegawa down twice in the round. Martinez had also knocked Hasegawa down in the 2nd round from a big left hook to the head. At the time of the stoppage, Hasegawa was bleeding from his nose and was cut over his left eye. He also had swelling around his right eye.

In the 6th, Byrd took a point away from Martinez for hitting on the break. This seemed to energize Martinez, as he went after Hasegawa and badly hurt him with a flurry of shots. Near the end of the round, Hasegawa was out on his feet and bleeding from the nose and left eye. Byrd may not have realized it but his point deduction of Martinez actually helped him because it gave him the anger/energy to finish off Hasegawa, who had been hanging around ever since the 2nd round when Martinez had him ready to be knocked out.

Martinez could have likely finished Hasegawa in the third round had he kept pressuring him, but he backed off and Hasegawa did well in rounds three through five. In those rounds, Martinez was trying to land one shot at a time, and it wasn’t working because Hasegawa was able to throw many more punches. It’s unclear why Martinez stopped pressuring him like he had in the first two rounds, because Hasegawa was folding from the pressure.

Martinez hurt Hasegawa in the 1st round with a hard left hook, and he was reeling near the end of the round. In the 2nd, Martinez continued to pressure Hasegawa and throw nonstop punches. Hasegawa made a mistake of retreating to the ropes and trying to fight off from that position. Hasgawa did well initially, but Martinez just kept throwing punches and he hurt Hasegawa with a left hook to the head. Martinez landed several more big bombs that eventually put Hasegawa down on the canvas. He got up and finished out the round, but he looked beaten.

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