Masayuki Ito successfully makes his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title
Masayuki Ito returned to Japan to make his first defense of the WBO title he won in a fight with Puerto Rican standout Christopher Diaz in July.
Evgeny Chuprakov is a respected Russian amateur who came into this fight undefeated. He had only traveled outside of his native homeland twice previously.
Chuprakov In Over His Head
Right away you can see where Chuprakov could have a long night. He is the much shorter fighter with the shorter arms and he lacks the defensive awareness to elude shots down the middle. His biggest mistake is he likes to apply pressure in a straight line, rendering him an easy target for a boxer from mid-range like Ito.
If the last paragraph didn’t paint the picture well enough, this fight was tailor made for the champion!
Ito already stunned boxing pundits with his win over a highly touted fighter like Diaz in his American debut. Couple this with the fact that he had no amateur career made it even more amazing. He continued to dazzle against Chuprakov, displaying a excellent ability to judge distance.
A Dominant Performance
He essentially picked his one-dimensional opponent apart from a distance. The jab was the setup for the straight right hand down the pipe all night (or morning). If the Russian fighter somehow made his way inside, the champion would punish him to the body.
We saw somewhat of an adjustment from the challenger in round five, however, it was the wrong adjustment. He elected to move away from Ito which saw him pinned against the ropes eating shots. Here, Ito would do an excellent job mixing up his shots; the lead left hook to the body doing the most damage.
Anyway Chuprakov sliced this, he didn’t have the skill-set or the mental fortitude to be a proper challenge for Ito. In the middle rounds, it became apparent the fight wouldn’t last much longer.
Teddy Atlas said it best:
“He’s [Ito] getting help form someone who shouldn’t be giving him help. By his opponent being one-dimensional he is helping him!”
In round seven the corner of the challenger had seen enough after watching their fighter being knocked all over the ring.
Ito improves to 25-1-1 with 13 knockouts and successfully makes his first title defense.
His ring IQ and ability to execute a game-plan tailored to manifest his strengths catapults him into the conversation of possible match-ups with guys like Miguel Berchelt, Alberto Machado, Tevin Farmer and Gervonta Davis in 2019!
Also on the card, brother of pound for pound fighter Naoya Inoue, Takuma, out-boxed 48-0 Tasana Salapat over twelve rounds. Additionally, WBC light flyweight champion Ken Shiro defended his title for a fifth time in decisioning Saul Juarez.
By: EJ Williams