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August 19, 2014

MINIMUMWEIGHT UPDATE: ALL HAIL FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, WBO/IBF CHAMPION

Francisco Rodriguez Jr. W12 Katsunari Takayama... A rare 105-pound unification bout took place in Mexico last weekend and the result was so exciting thatit deserves belated attention from fight fans who likely missed what turned out to be a fight-of-the-year candidate. In Monterrey, Mexico, 21-year-old Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (15-2, 10 KOs) unified the WBO and IBF minimumweight championships with a unanimous-decision victory over Katsunari Takayama (27-7, 10 KOs). In the third round, a Rodriguez left uppercut sent Takayama to the mat. The Japanese champion quickly rose, and when Rodriguez slowed down to start round four, he turned the tide of the battle. Most of the middle rounds saw Takayama suffocate his young foe, drilling punches into him from many angles. In round eight, Rodriguez tried to touch gloves, but a split second after the touch, Takayama threw a right that crashed into the back of the Mexican’s ear. The tactic spurred a Rodriguez comeback, and the bout turned into a full-on war for the remaining five rounds. Rodriguez’s punchers were heavier as the action reached a crescendo in the final two rounds. The scorecards were read and Rodriguez Jr. was announced the winner by a tally of 115-112, 116-111 and an unfair 119-108. View the full fight here. Rodriguez was previously best known for a 2013 loss to undefeated Roman Gonzalez, who has held world titles at 105 and 108, giving both titles up outside the ring to move up in weight. Takayama has fought the world's best, inclsuing losses to Gonzalez and Nkoinathi Joyi. He briefly held the WBC 105-pound title in 2005 courtesy of a win over Isaac Bustos and won the IBF version in 2013 by defeating Mario Rodriguez. Hopefully, the unification of the 105-pound division can continue with Rodriguez taking on WBA counterpart Hekkie Budler of South Africa. The WBC title is held by journeyman Oswaldo Novoa of Mexico. source: wbo



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