It’s often said that travelling fighters don’t get a fair shake on the road.
However, Australia’s Jack Brubaker (now 11-1-1, 5 KOs) disproved that as he earned a close and very competitive decision win over Japan’s Suyon Takayama (24-2, 8 KOs), in Takayama’s home of Tokyo, in a thrilling title defence.
Brubaker, 24, started brightly and was clearly the more technical and smooth fighter, doing more than enough to claim the open stanza and building some early momentum. That momentum didn’t last long for the champion.
Takayama, 30, fought back to take the fourth round as the men proved to be well matched adversaries.
Although well matched, their styles differed with Takayama opting to walk towards Brubaker and attack the body, whilst the Australian was a more well-rounded boxer, moving and showing a more complete arsenal of shots.
As with all OPBF title fights in Japan the scores were announced after four rounds with the judges split between Brubaker and Takayama, with one judge backing either 39-37, whilst the third judge had the bout even.
It was in the middle section of the bout that Brubaker put himself in control with a brilliant but controlled fifth round. However, the body shots did seem to be taking their toll on the champion, who slowed noticeably.
Takayama focused on the body and failed to land any eye-catching head shots, which helped Brubaker claim the sixth. Takayama rallied in the seventh, stiffening Brubaker’s legs momentarily, but he regrouped shortly after.
The open scoring was again in effect after eight heats – and this time it was Brubaker leading on two cards – with the judges offering scores of 78-74 and 77-75 in his favour, while the dissenting judge had it 78-75 for Takayama.
Although the cards varied, in fairness to the judges, all the differing tallies were valid, though perhaps the 78-74 and 78-75 cards were a round out from what was really happening with the remaining card proving more accurate.
The scoring should have motivated Takayama but instead it seemed to rejuvenate Brubaker – who came out for the ninth like a different fighter – clearly winning the round with a new found confidence, that bordered on arrogance.
The Sydney resident landed at will, and Takayama started to look like a broken man.
Brubaker really rubbed salt into the wounds, including a nasty cut, in round ten as he battered Takayama in a round that almost brought about a stoppage for the Australian. It seemed like Takayama was close to being finished.
Amazingly, the Japanese fighter recovered between rounds ten and eleven, having his best round since the seventh stanza as he managed to come alive and hurt Brubaker, before scoring a knockdown later in the round.
The local favourite almost scored a remarkable come-from-behind victory, but Brubaker rose quickly.
Brubaker had seemingly been saved by the bell to end the eleventh round, but showed no ill-effects in the final round as he got on his toes and outboxed Takayama, who was very quiet during the first half of the round.
The second half of the round saw Takayama have some success, but by then it was too little too late.
After the bell, Brubaker raised his arms in celebration, knowing he had done enough to retain his title.
Brubaker’s win completes a good run for Australians in Japan following Dwight Ritchie’s recent title win earlier in the month. For Takayama, the taste of defeat was seen in his mouth before the official cards were read.
Words: Scott Graveson/Asianboxing.info (follow Asian Boxing on Twitter)
Photo: Boxing News Japan