In a bloody fight, Panama's Luis Concepcion won a unanimous decision against Japan's Kohei Kono to claim a junior bantamweight world title on Wednesday at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.
The judges scored the fight 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in favor of "El Nica," who entered the bout as the interim titleholder and Kono's mandatory challenger.
The 30-year-old Concepcion (35-4, 24 KOs) got off to a strong start, winning most of the rounds over the first half of the bout. But Kono (32-9-1, 13 KOs), 35, who was defending the 115-pound belt for the fourth time, made a big push over the second half of the bout to tighten it up, primarily using his right hand.
Kono bled from a cut over his left eye from the seventh round on and Concepcion endured a cut over his left eye in the 11th round.
Also on the card, junior flyweight world titlist Ryoichi Taguchi (25-2-1, 11 KOs), 29, of Japan, retained his 108-pound belt for the fourth time by unanimous decision against mandatory challenger and countryman Ryo Miyazaki (24-2-3, 15 KOs). The 28-year-old former strawweight titleholder was seeking a world title in his second weight division.
Using an accurate jab as a regular weapon, Taguchi, with a 4-inch height advantage, controlled most of the fight and was rewarded with winning scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112 as he ended Miyazaki's four-fight winning streak.