Tsunami Tenkai Beats Carleans Rivas for Regional Title
By Yuriko Miyata
Former WBA super flyweight champion Tsunami Tenkai of Tokyo beat Carleans Rivas (6-5-3) of the Philippines by technical knockout in the second round to obtain the vacant WBO Asian Pacific light flyweight title on November 29th at Tokyo Korakuen Hall. The fight occurred two days before Naoko Fujioka won the vacant WBO light flyweight title.
Currently holding the OPBF bantamweight title and rated #7 as a super flyweight by the IBF, Tenkai decided to move down to 108 pounds to get the WBO’s regional title which is supposed to be the ticket to challenge for the world version title.
The very experienced and popular boxer did not need much time to overwhelm the thin opponent with her superb speed. Rivas was stepping backward and tried to counter the right hand but it could not stop the ex-champion. Tenkai charged with a heavy combination on head and body until the referee stopped the fight at 1:19 of the second round.
“I happened to be greedy for a KO victory that made me a little careless to my opponent’s counter. Light flyweight might be the best weight for me, as I felt very comfortable in the ring,” said Tenkai.
Tenkai is the last boxer who is still active from the underground era of female professional boxing in Japan, whereas Fujioka, Kayoko Ebata, and Momo Koseki stayed amateur till 2008 when the JBC finally approved the sport for women. She was always athletic and known especially for her quick step work backed by her long experience in soccer.
Although she gave up her WBA 115 lbs title with four time defenses to a slugger Naoko Yamaguchi in 2012, she has never give up to bloom again. Actually, she might be one of the most ubiquitous fighters in the world. No matter the weight class and no matter the location, she is willing to take whatever chance arrives. She has fought in Korea, Chile, seven times in Mexico against good names such as Arely Mucino, Mariana Juarez, Zulina Munoz, and Jessica Chavez so that her record does not look great as 23-12 with 12 KOs. But those figures on her record do not truly reflect her actual quality in the ring. This latest fight also proved she is still in prime.
If Fujioka vs Tenkai is to be set, the great match up is sure to draw huge attention domestically. Tenkai deserves the opportunity but Fujioka says she wants to take off toward new challenges. We will see.
(Photo by Masanori Muruyama)