Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0 10 KO ) overcame his opponent’s height and reach advantage and a seventh round knockdown to stop Japan’s Hisashi Amagasa (28-5-1 19 KO) by eleventh round TKO in route to retaining his WBO and WBA super bantamweight titles at the Bodymaker Colluseum in Osaka, Japan on the eve of the new year.
Amagasa jumped on Rigondeaux at the opening bell and threw a flurry of punches that were mostly blocked by Rigondeaux gloves. The round proceeded into a feeling out process as Rigondeaux tried to solve his opponent’s six and a half inch height and three inch reach advantage.
In round two, Rigondeaux, a southpaw, started to find a home for the overhand left which was being set up nicely by his jab. Amagasa’s face was visibly starting to show the effects of The Jackal’s power as he started to swell around both eyes. In the third round, Rigondeaux started crouching and fighting low causing Amagasa to negate his own height advantage as he lowered himself to try and land his arsenal on Rigo. Due to Rigondeaux’s superior athleticism, he parried most of Amagasa’s assault while countering him repeatedly.
As he did in the first three rounds, Rigondeaux strategically allowed Amagasa to be the aggressor and move forward as he countered the challenger with a stiff jab and power hooks. Rigondeaux picked up his speed and movement in round four and landed quick shots at his onrushing foe but Amagasa was able to land a few punches of his own and may have had his best round through four.
To start the fifth, Rigondeaux landed a stiff straight left that seemed to buckle Amagasa. Sensing he may have hurt his opponent, Rigondeaux moved forward and went left hand crazy landing several overhand lefts as Amagasa reeled into the ropes. Amagasa recovered and the action resumed as it had the previous four rounds, Amagasa moving forward and Rigondeaux picking him off with quick jabs and left crosses.
Rigondeaux controlled the entire sixth round with his movement as he utilized some of the finest footwork you will ever see.
In the seventh, it all seemed to be going well for Rigondeaux until he spun around Amagasa and was caught by a quick right which dropped him with thirty seconds left in the round. Rigondeaux was up quickly but Amagasa charged the champion and swung wildly landing a solid right that seemed to momentarily stun the champion. As Rigo tried his best to tie up Amagasa he was pushed down to the canvas and it was (incorrectly) ruled a knockdown by referee Mike Ortega. Rigondeaux was up quickly as the round ended.
Said Rigondeaux, “The first punch which caused the knockdown was not a powerful blow. I was caught off balance and suffered a flash knockdown. I was not hurt, but I had to be on guard as my opponent gained confidence and threw everything at me in that round,”
Energized by his heroics in the seventh, Amagasa went on the attack in the eighth but Rigondeaux calmly countered him repeatedly with straight left crosses and was beginning to sit down on his punches. Again using beautiful lateral movement and parrying punches in the ninth, Rigondeaux controlled all aspects of the round. All of the damage done by his left hand was evident as Amagasa’s right eye was a protruding mass to close the round.
In the tenth, Rigondeaux moved forward as the aggressor and Amagasa was forced to fight going backwards which clearly took him out of his comfort zone. Rigondeaux dropped Amagasa with a beautifully timed straight left half way through the round. Amagasa got up but was a little wobbly on his feet. Rigondeaux took his time and walked down Amagasa landing multiple combinations to the bell.
Looking like a beaten fighter entering the eleventh with both eyes closing and the left side of his face swollen , Amagasa did very little as Rigondeaux continued to land just about anything that he threw. At the close of the round, Amagasa went to his stool where the fight was stopped by his corner.
At the time of the stoppage, Rigondeaux was leading on all cards with scores of, 107-99 X2 and 105-101. This was Rigondeaux’s seventh defense of his WBA and fourth defense of his WBO 122 pound titles.
Rigondeaux boxed beautifully throughout the fight and was intent on being more active. “The boxing public has been asking for more action, so I delivered” said Rigondeaux.
“I have a lot of skills. On Wednesday night, I showed I can mix it up and, more importantly, that I can close the show in devastating fashion.”
Manager Gary Hyde agreed, “The fans have hinted that they want blood and guts, and Rigo certainly showed he can massacre fighters if needs be.”
On what is next for Rigondeaux, Hyde stated, “Rigo is looking at forcing the WBA to order the (Scott) Quigg fight. He would like the (Leo) Santa Cruz fight, also, but the guy wants no part of him”
“Santa Cruz is a joke. I will not attend the show,” said Rigondeaux referring to Santa Cruz’s Janury 17 date against Jesus Ruiz “I have no interest in watching him fighting another soft opponent”
There is so much high level talent here and around this division with Rigondeaux, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters, Abner Mares, that it would make sense to hold a tournament. That would be epic.