18 Nov 2014

Japanese WBC World Champions Super Featherweight Genji Umeno (left) and Super Lighweight Tetsuya Yamato (right). Photo Yuichiro Suzuki

Two Japanese fighters Genji Umeno and Tetsuya Yamato created Muay Thai history when they both won WBC World Titles in Tokyo on 15 November.

Genji Umeno scored an unanimous points victory dominating the vacant Super Featherweight title against the Thai champion Jompitchit Choowattana.

The judges scored the world title to Genji 50-45, 50-47 and 49-47.

And, on the same event in front of a sold-out capacity crowd at Korakuen Stadium, Tetsuya Yamato recorded a stunning TKO victory in the third round against the reigning WBC World Super Lightweight champion Saketdao Petchpayatai.

Tetsuya was crowned world champion after the title fight was stopped in the first minute of the third round. Saketdao had suffered a hard elbow strike that cut his nose. After examining the injury the attending ringside medical doctor notified the referee that Saketdao had sustained a suspected broken nose and advised that the fight be stopped to prevent further injury. The doctor?s diagnosis proved correct as a post-fight examination revealed that the defending champion?s nose bone had been fractured.

At the end of the second round Saketdao held a slight split points lead 20-19, 19-20 and 20-19.

The two world championship victories showed that Japan had now taken full rules Muay Thai combat sport to the highest level of professional competition. The dual victories in Tokyo were a triumph for Japanese promoter Kyoji Saito who seven years ago embarked on a campaign to train and develop Japanese Muay Thai fighters to the elite level to successfully challenge for world titles.

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