Classy Teraji retains titles over Canizales in gritty Osaka battle

Kenshiro Teraji defended his WBA and WBC light-flyweight world titles with a majority decision win over Carlos Canizales tonight at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.

The unified champion at 108 pounds defended his titles against Hekkie Budler last September, producing a ninth round stoppage victory. Canizales scored a technical decision win after a bloodbath with Daniel Matellon in Argentina last June. 

Both men turned up in an early Fight of the Year contender. 

Canizales started the quicker of the two as he pressed for the big right hand but the Venezuelan landed a good left hook to edge the round. 

Teraji sent Canizales to the canvas towards the end of the second round after Canizales gambled on a left hook, which landed, but Teraji cracked him with a right hand in reply. Canizales stumbled to the floor dragging Teraji with him but the round ended with the Venezuelan beating the count. 

The third saw Teraji hit the deck late in the round. The champion disregarded his defense as he went looking for the finish, which left him open for Canizales’s left hook that forced Teraji to take a knee. 

Rounds four and five saw end-to-end action as the fight really set fire, Teraji’s right hand went up against Canizales’s left hook. Teraji had his man on the ropes to open the fifth after landing a big combination. 

Teraji took some control of round six as Canizales and the seventh opened well for the champion, landing his trusty right hand at will. Canizales scored with an uppercut in an otherwise disappointing three minutes for the challenger. Teraji stuck behind his jab to ease through round nine, while a spirited Canizales had become predictable. 

However, the Venezuelan saw much more success in round 10. A rejuvenated Canizales pushed the action but received a low blow for his troubles. Teraji struggled with his ever-attacking opponent, who finished the round as the aggressor. 

Both men had nearly emptied their tanks as they went into round 11. Teraji seemed happy to stick to his left jab, his right hand was nowhere to be seen. Canizales pushed the action in the final round with Teraji on his back foot, the champion playing it safe through the closing six minutes of the bout. 

The scorecards read: 113-113 and two scores of 114-112 in favour of Teraji to give the champion the majority decision victory. 

Teraji improves his record to 23-1 (14 KOs) and is now five fights undefeated since his lone career loss to Masamichi Yabuki in 2021. Canizales’s record moves to 26-2-1 (19 KOs) after a second successive title defeat. 

On the undercard WBA flyweight world champion Artem Dalakian lost his belt to Seigo Yuri Akui. The defending champion succumbed to a unanimous decision defeat with scores of; 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111. Dalakian loses his first bout in 23 fights.