Jun Yabuki Wins National Japan Tournament for Minimumweights
By Yuriko Miyata
The first female national championship in the minimumweight division went to Jun Yabuki after a six round clash against Fuka Komura on Monday.
Rated number one by the Japanese Boxing Commission Yabuki (9-0, 4 Kos) won by unanimous decision over Komura (5-1, 2 Kos) in front of a packed crowd at historic Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
It was the second national tournament following Miyo Yoshida’s win in the bantamweight division that took place in early October. The national tournament for women was newly organized for five divisions in the atom, minimum, fly, bantam, and featherweight division this year by the JBC.
This “East vs West” match in Japan between two unbeaten boxers drew much attention. Yabuki, a southpaw, has a good sense of distance that she gained from her long experience in Kendo (Japanese fencing), and the 5’4 tall easterner is also very good at defense.
On the other corner, the five inches shorter Komura, who fights out of Osaka, is known as a fighting high-school student, though she is already 20 years old. But with her quickness and sharp punches based on her Karate career the westerner is very aggressive. In this fight, Komura just could not get inside to fight her fight this time.
Yabuki, 26, and based out of Tokyo, controlled her opponent’s attack with right jabs and clinching through most of the fight. Komura stepped in with strong right hooks in the first round but later she could not engage with the taller southpaw. In the third round Yabuki caught Komura with a short left counter to drop her down. But Yabuki was still cautious as Komura looked undamaged.
In the next round the school girl got even when she sent Yabuki to the floor with a left hook when she trapped her in the corner. Yabuki seemed to slip on the wet canvas but the referee counted eight. Both fighters slowed down in the later rounds and it developed into a rough clinching war with a lot of holding and wrestling. Yabuki won the close rounds and the judges scored the fight as 58-54, and 57-55 twice in her favor.
“I was able to keep myself cool throughout the fight. I think I matured a little,” said the winner Yabuki as she smiled with the brand new white belt in her hand.
Komura could not stop crying after failing to be a school girl national champion, the first in history. Yabuki extended her winning streak to 9-0 with 4KOs. Komura is now 5-1 with 2KOs.
The six round contest for the national championship was created as a means for developing younger competitors. Also, new titlists Yoshida and Yabuki showed that they still have a long distance to go to catch up with top fighters such as Naoko Fujioka, Momo Koseki, Yuko Kuroki, so forth. But the championship belts motivate the new generations to keep working hard to brush up on their skills on the road to world championships.
(Photo by Taku Horiuchi)