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New Year’s Eve saw Japan awash with body blows, as seen by Adrian Farrugia
TURNING TABLES: Tanaka [left] takes charge against Saludar

IT’S becoming a modern tradition for the Japanese to end the year with fine displays of fighting prowess, and gratifying fans.

This year, after the smashing victories of Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue on December 29 [see page 8], Japanese pugilists kept the ball rolling with another three headlining fights, all in different venues, two days later.

The youthful Kosei Tanaka (Nagoya) defended his WBO strawweight belt for the first time against the favoured Vic Saludar (Cotabato del Sur, Philippines) at Nagoya’s Aichi Prefectural Gym. The fight had gone only half the scheduled 12-round distance when it ended with an upset knockout in the champion’s favour. But this was no lopsided bout.

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