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Rigondeaux stops Amagasa in 11th

amagasaBy Jim Dower: WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) had a tougher than expected time against his much taller 5’10 ½” Japanese challenger Hitashi Amagasa (28-5-2, 19 KOs) on Wednesday night in stopping him in the 11th round at the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka, Japan.

Rigondeaux was surprisingly dropped twice in the 7th round by hard shots from the 29-year-old Amagasa, who had been fighting at featherweight going into tonight’s fight. Rigondeaux had a tough time with the size of the larger Amagasa until figuring him out after the 7th. The second knockdown was a bogus one though because Amagasa clearly pushed Rigondeaux to the canvas when he was trying to clinch.

There was no punch thrown, but the referee still counted as a knockdown. It wasn’t a knockdown unless pushing has become a new way of scoring knockdowns. On the first knockdown, Amagasa nailed Rigondeaux with a left hand after he maneuvered around him. Rigondeaux didn’t see the punch coming because he clearly didn’t expect that Amagasa would be able to turn his body around so quickly.

Rigondeaux dominated the action from the 8th round on in landing hard body shots with his left hand and stabbing lefts to the head.

In the 10th, Rigondeaux dropped Amagasa with a hard left to the head. Amagasa’s right eye was swollen by this time and he had very little left in the tank. Rigondeaux really unloaded on Amagasa in this round with the hardest shots of the fight. Amagasa stopped coming forward and was taking brutal punishment from Rigondeaux. The Japanese fans were still cheering loudly for Amagasa, but they had little to cheer for by this point in the fight. He had bad swelling on his right eye, and his left cheek bulged outward.

Rigondeaux continued to batter Amagasa at will in the 11th round, and it was clear that the Japanese fighter wouldn’t make it through the next round.

After the 11th, Amagasa wisely opted not to come out for the 12th round. It was a good thing because Rigondeaux was really sitting down on his punches from the 8th round on, and Amagasa would have likely been hurt if he came out for the final round. As it is Amagasa took a lot of punishment in the fight.

What was interesting about this fight was how Rigondeaux was willing to mix it up more compared to in many of his past fights. He seems to be more interested in making it exciting by being more offensive-minded and this obviously led to him getting knocked down twice in the 7th. Had Rigondeaux fought defensively like in the past, he wouldn’t have been knocked down.

Rigondeaux was ahead at the time of the stoppage 105, 107-99 and 107-99.

Rigondeaux appeared to not give the taller Amagasa the respect that he deserved given his huge size advantage. Rigondeaux, 5’4”, was giving away 6 ½” in height to the taller Japanese fighter and that’s a huge amount of size to be giving away against a decent quality fighter.

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