Junto Nakatani scores 3 knockdowns against Argi Cortes in 1st defense of super flyweight world title in Tokyo

Junto Nakatani took on Argi Cortes in the first defense of his WBO super flyweight world title in the chief support to Kenshiro Teraji’s WBA and WBC light flyweight world title defense against Hekkie Budler at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese star came off a sensational 12th round stoppage against Australian Andrew Moloney this past May to claim the vacant title in Las Vegas. 

Cortes came in as a little known Mexican fighting for the first time outside his homeland at the iin the Japanese capital. He lost the decision against Juan Francisco Estrada last September with no title on the line. 

On paper, Nakatani had more than the edge with a three inch height and reach advantage over the 28 year old Cortes. 

The fight started reasonably tentatively with Nakatani half content to sit on the back foot with Cortes landing the odd counter. As the 1st round drew-on Nakatani started to find the target behind his right jab. The round ended with Nakatani on the front foot with Cortes landing one good jab. 

Round 2 started much quicker. Cortes was having some success when he tried forcing his way in on the inside, but it was few and far between as Nakatani’s right jab and big left hand was becoming more and more accurate. His jab was offsetting Cortes as he came forward to give Nakatani the opening two rounds. 

The opening of the 3rd round saw much better work come from the Mexican. Cortes was managing to have success as he came forward with his, by now, trademark strides forward for the opening 90 seconds. However, Nakatani did work it out to a degree, changing the direction of his movement to land some good left hands and more stiff right jabs to close out another good round. 

The 4th saw Cortes open with a good right hand, but it was mere seconds for Nakatani to get back into rhythm landing two good combinations on the counter. He was warming up nicely behind his trusty right jab and was starting to release his pinpoint left hand at will. Nakatani was coming into his own in an already dominant fight. 

Nakatani breezed through round 5 with Cortes in urgent need of making some sort of adjustment. The combinations started to land on Cortes at the halfway stage of the round. Nakatani was having his way with the Mexican, sending him to the canvas after a left to the body in the final minute. A second knockdown came with 30 seconds to play after a barrage of punches sent him reeling. Cortes was up on the count of 8 to barely see out the round. 

It felt as if the end was nigh. Nakatani snapped the head back of Cortes halfway through round 6. However, Cortes landed a good right hand at the minute mark that caused the Japanese man some serious trouble, Cortes landed a good body shot with 30 seconds to spare to show his best work of the fight. 

The 7th began with a slower beat, a weariness was now apparent in both men. Both canceled each other’s body shots out in the opening 60 seconds. Nakatani landed another good left hand and a decent uppercut in the rest of a reasonably slow three minutes. 

Round 8 saw Nakatani begin back behind the jab that had served him so well, so far. A left hook, right hook combination mostly landed on the minute mark. A strong body shot landed at the halfway stage, Nakatani was back in firm control following the scare in round 6. Nakatani closed the round out back in the rhythm we had seen for most of the fight, ending it with a good combination. 

The 9th round saw a similar script to most of the fight. A body shot towards the end of the round saw a delayed reaction from Cortes as hit the canvas again. Round 10 saw a more assertive start from Nakatani in a fight he had almost completely dominated. The round slowed down with the champion landing a perfect neck snapping jab with a minute to play. 

Round 11 began with Cortes showing some sort of urgency landing a number of good body shots in the opening minute. However, Nakatani landed another perfect straight left hand to halt the Mexican’s brief spell of good work. The round ended, again, with Nakatani on the front foot, but Cortes did land another right hand to the head to make the round competitive. 

The final round saw Cortes in a deep hole on the scorecards. It was only a knockout that would save him. He came forward with some vigor in the opening minute and was not in this final round just to survive. Nakatani went for the finish late, but could not add to the three knockdowns as Cortes survived a lopsided points defeat. 

Nakatani made a successful first defense of his WBO super flyweight world title with wide scorecards of 118-107, 119-106 and 119-106. 

The two weight world champion’s record improves to 26-0 (19 KOs). Cortes’s record moves to 25-4-2 (10 KOs).