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Teraji Overwhelms Budler, Nakatani Does Same With Cortes

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Kenshiro Teraji of Japan (C) celebrates his victory over Hekkie Budler of South Africa in their 12-round WBC-WBA light flyweight title boxing match at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on September 18, 2023. (Photo by Richard A. Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Monday’s Japanese fight card featured Japanese world champions Kenshiro Teraji and Junto Nakatani win with resounding dominating performances against their respective opponents. Both fighters co-headlined a September 18th fight card which featured former kickboxing champion Tenshin Nasukawa on the undercard.

Junto Nakatani vs. Argi Cortes

Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19 KO’s) retained his unbeaten streak after resoundingly defeating Mexican contender Argi Cortes (25-4-2, 10 KO’s) by unanimous decision, retaining his recently-won WBO super flyweight title.

Nakatani’s first world title defense at 115 lbs against Cortes was a showcase fight for him as he resoundedly seemed to win every round. Nakatani’s quickness, power, workrate and diversity of punches seemed to clearly put him ahead on the scorecards, and by the fifth a round, a brutal body shot put Cortes down to pu him even farther ahead.

Just seconds later, Nakatani landed another knockdown after a combination that again ended in a body shot.

Despite having suffered two knockdowns in a single round, Cortes showed stunning resilience as he continued on fighting every single round that remained.

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Junto Nakatani (L) of Japan throws a punch at Argi Cortes of Mexico during the ninth round of his WBO super flyweight boxing title defense at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena on Sept. 18, 2023. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

Despite being clearly outmatched and having taken damage, Argi Cortes fought on bravely despite a victory for Junto Nakatani being all but sealed after half the fight had passed. Nakatani used this opportunity to show nearly his full arsenal of attacks, landing jabs, crosses, uppercuts and hooks in nearly every single round as either part of a combination, or single well-timed counters.

Cortes barely held on during these latter rounds, but never seemed willing to go down as he continued to attempt to pressure. Though mostly unsuccessful in this regard, it was a surprising show of determination on Cortes’ part who could do nothing else but seek to land a knockout as he already was far behind on the scorecards.

In the 9th round, Cortes was again dropped by a body shot from Nakatani, but he continued on regardless and the two fought their way through the rest of the rounds all the way to the 12th.

Nakatani was announced the winner by unanimous decision after the match, scorecards of 118-107 and 119-106 twice, confirming how dominant had been during his match against Argi Cortes.

Kenshiro Teraji vs. Hekkie Budler

Kenshiro Teraji’s (22-1, 14 KO’s) junior flyweight match with Hekkie Budler (35-5, 11 KO’s) was the last bout of the night, and Teraji closed off the show well with a 9th round knockout over the match that was set for a full 12 rounds.

The match between the two was competitive. South African Hekkie Budler, a two-division world champion, had the required skillset and experience to topple Teraji’s recent winning streak and he exemplified this during his match with Teraji.

While Teraji mostly excelled with his jabs, and proved to be the more accurate and busier fighter, but Budler was no slouch himself in the ring. Some of Teraji’s defensive weaknesses came forward as Budler landed some rather effective punches throughout the rounds. However, Teraji’s work rate was sky-high in his match with Budler, allowing him to win most of the rounds by a clear margin as Budler tended to neglect throwing more punches.

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Hekkie Budler of South Africa (R) fights against Kenshiro Teraji of Japan in their 12-round WBC-WBA light flyweight title boxing match at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on September 18, 2023. (Photo by Richard A. Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

By the 9th round, Teraji seemed to be ahead on the scorecards and comfortably winning, and Budler’s conditioning seemed to work against him at that point, even when he landed some crucial punches while on the backfoot.

Eventually, a body punch seemed to slow Budler down enough for Teraji to unleash a full barrage of punches. As Teraji managed to pin Budler into the ropes, Budler was unable to do much but cover up and took quite a bit of damage as he was continuously assaulted by Teraji’s punches. Eventually, the referee stepped in as Budler seemed to be caving as a result of Teraji’s combinations, and Teraji was ruled the winner by technical knockout in the 9th round afterwards.

Teraji retained both his WBA ‘super’ and WBC junior flyweight titles as a result.

Rest of the card

Giemel Magramo (28-4, 23 KO’s) and Anthony Olascuaga (6-1, 4 KO’s), two super flyweight contenders, battled it out on the undercard of this Monday night event. American contender Olascuaga came out victorious in the 7th round of the 8-round fight after stopping Magramo. It was quite a surprising and dominant performance for Olascuaga whose last match had been a loss to Kenshiro Teraji not too long ago in April.

Former kickboxing champion Tenshin Nasukawa (2-0, 0 KO’) also continued his boxing career with his 2nd professional fight against opponent Luis Guzman Torres (10-3, 6 KO’s). The two fought at super bantamweight.

Though Nasukawa failed to grab a knockdown or stoppage win, he won fairly easily as he coursed to a unanimous decision win over the next 8 rounds.

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Tenshin Nasukawa of Japan (R) fights against Luis Guzman Torres of Mexico (L) during their 8-round super bantamweight boxing match at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on September 18, 2023. (Photo by Richard A. Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Though Nasukawa does not yet seem ready for a world title opportunity, he seems to be improving rather well in his new chosen field of professional boxing, fighting opponents who are decently-ranked instead of fighters with losing records. It is clear that he or his team seems intent on testing him against increasingly better opponents, molding him into what may become a future world champion.

Considering his 2nd fight was 8 rounds while his first involved him fighting 6 rounds, it is highly likely that Nasukawa will soon be tested in a 10-round fight as he challenges himself to get ever better, and make a name in boxing like he had in kickboxing and MMA.