Kohei Kono retains world title and remains Kal Yafai's primary target
By Isaac Robinson
Last Updated: 27/04/16 2:09pm
Kohei Kono retained his WBA world super-flyweight title with a unanimous points win over Inthanon Sithchamuang in Tokyo.
The Japenese fighter (32-8-1-KO13) set up a clash with mandatory challenger Kal Yafai by felling his challenger in the fourth and fifth rounds of a clinical display to earn scores of 119-106 on all three cards.
Roared on by his home fans, Kono welcomed Thailand's Sithchamuang (43-12-2-KO22) with some early pressure and was soon firmly in the ascendancy.
Many at the Ota-City Central Gymnasium expected the champion to cement his superiority with a stoppage - especially after the knockdowns in the middle rounds - but Sithchamuang hung in gamely to take Kono the full 12 rounds.
Kono's victory sets up a meeting with Yafai (18-0-KO12), who wasted no time in dispatching Dixon Flores inside a round in Birmingham back in March.
There was a shock awaiting another home fighter on the night, as Takashi Uchiyama lost his WBA world super-featherweight crown to Jezreel Corrales after an emphatic second-round knockout.
The unfancied Panamanian Corrales (20-1-KO8) left his opponent and the crowd stunned and in the process shook up a division that includes Liverpool's Stephen Smith.
Ryoichi Taguchi had no such trouble in defending his WBA world light-flyweight belt as challenger Juan Jose Landaeta retired in the 11th round.