Tanaka stops Baldonado in nine
Unbeaten two-class WBO world champ Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs) impressively defeated previously undefeated Ronnie Baldonado (10-1-1, 7 KOs). Tanaka scored a knockdown in round four and finally halted him at 2:26 of the ninth round.
Baldonado started out trying to attack Tanaka from the outset. Baldonado was swinging with somewhat wider shots but the two-division champ cleverly averted them and connected with short but more effective counters to the onrushing opponent. Having swept the first three rounds with precision, Tanaka sent him to the deck in round four with a left hook to the body. Somewhat surprisingly, Baldonado was able to beat the count and came back fighting.
Tanaka battered his opponent from all angles, but Baldonado made a courageous effort. Tanaka kept control of the fight and was piling up points. The scorecards through eight rounds, all the officials identical at 80-71 for Tanaka. The ninth saw Tanaka pick up the pace and was landing at will, when the referee called a stop the contest.
WBO world flyweight champ Sho Kimura was in attendance. A fight between Kimura and Tanaka would be a rather big fight in Japan. Especially with Tanaka attempting to gain his third world title in just his twelfth professional fight. Vasyl Lomachenko will be attempting win his third division title in May.
By: Chris Henderson