Dante stuns erstwhile unbeaten Japanese with split decision win
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Lito “Naruto” Dante scored a huge upset in Japan after defeating erstwhile unbeaten Takeshi Ishii on Tuesday evening, September 12, 2023, at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Dante walked away with a split decision victory after their back-and-forth eight-round duel in the Ohashi Boxing Promotions-backed fight card.
Two judges, Akihiko Katsuragi and Takeru Okaniwa both scored the bout 77-75 in favor of the Filipino, while Yoshiaki Yamagishi saw Ishii winning with his 77-75 score.
The victory improved his record to 21 wins with 12 knockouts, 11 losses, and four draws.
Dante, the reigning World Boxing Foundation (WBF) International minimumweight champion stretched his winning streak to five fights since 2020.
Meanwhile, Ishii suffered his first loss in eight pro fights. Still, Ishii remains a top-caliber prospect for having six knockouts on his resume.
During the bout, the Filipino slugger didn’t hold back from the opening bell, aggressively launching multiple combinations that forced Ishii to up his guard.
Ishii didn’t just stand and watch as he unleashed counterpunches as well.
In the ensuing rounds, Ishii increased his activity in the ring, throwing more punches to Dante’s head and body.
Despite his efforts, Dante had answers to every punch Ishii threw at him resulting in a pulsating, toe-to-toe battle.
Ishii managed to pin Dante against the ropes numerous times, but the latter made sure he retaliated.
In the seventh round, Dante fell to the canvas after he was pushed intentionally by Ishii. He immediately got up and continued fighting.
Ishii remained aggressive in the remaining three rounds, but Dante managed to weather every barrage of punches and tagged the former with counterpunches.
In the end, two of the three judges at ringside saw the Filipino winning via split decision. /rcg
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