WBA Super Flyweight champion Tepparith Kokietgym (21-2, 13) had his toughest fight in almost 4 years as he struggled past perennial world class Japanese hardman Nabuo Nashiro (18-5-1, 12) scoring a razor thin majority decision.
The fast punching Thai was given hell by the much hard punching Japanese fighter who was attempting to become a 3-time Super Flyweight champion who refused to give up. Although Tepparith wasn't given the space and freedom to work freely he did manage to do enough to retain his title with the scores of 114-114, 115-114, 115-113, though the cards were closer than many felt they should have been.
With this loss Nashiro falls to 0-4-1 in his last 5 world title fights, though all of those losses have come to very good champions (Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Tomas Rojas and Hugo Fidel Cazares-who also scored the draw). He had vowed to retire if he lost today so it may well be the end of his career, despite the fact he can still hold his own with the best in the world, as he proved against Tepparith. Hopefully Nashiro gives it one more go and faces fellow Japanese fighter Yota Sato in a "passing of the torch" style fight.
Whilst it could be the end for Nashiro it seems to just be another step forward for Tepparith who is swiftly becoming one of the most impressive youngsters in the sport. Since winning the WBA "interim" world title just 16 months Tepparith has beaten a number of top fighters including Daiki Kameda, Tomonobu Shimizu and now Nashiro, all in their back yards in Japan.