Former IBF super bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa 27-3 (17) picked up the interim IBF 122-pound belt by halting Marlon Tapales 33-2 (17) in the 11th round at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old Japanese southpaw has traditionally struggled with fellow lefties, with all three of his losses coming against lefthanders, including two stoppages.
On paper, it looked like Iwasa might be in trouble again. Bookmakers made Tapales, 27, of the Philippines, the favourite coming into the fight.
This time around, the bookmakers got it wrong.
Iwasa threw the straight shots against the wild swinging Tapales and had the Filipino on the deck in both the third and 11th rounds.
Tapales went down from a straight left in the penultimate round and while he beat the count, appeared wobbly on his feet, prompting referee Shada Murdaugh to wave off the contest at the 1:09 mark.
Iwasa was leading at the time of the stoppage by scores of 97-92, 95-94 and 97-92.
“I knew that I had him hurt in the 11th round and I was ready for the finish if the referee had let him keep fighting,” said the 29-year-old Iwasa.
“It was a tough fight but I trained really hard for this performance. My height and reach was definitely an advantage.
“I was able to put my punches together well. He never hurt me, but he was still difficult and I had to focus to figure him out.”
Iwasa lost the IBF super bantamweight championship in his second title defence to TJ Doheny by 12-round unanimous decision in Japan in August last year.
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