World Boxing Council featherweight champion Kuniaki Shibata of Japan kept his title with a highly controversial draw over Ernesto Marcel of Panama, on Thursday (11 November) at Matsuyama, Japan.
GV Ringside crowd bell goes for start (3 shots)
SV & GV Boxers in action (4 shots)
SV Japanese seconds examining Shibata's eye
GV & SV Start of another round, fight in progress, Shibata's eye badly cut (6 shots)
SV Crowd applaud
SV & GV Fight in progress, end of fight
GV PAN Crowd applauds
SV & GV Shibata of Japan being congratulated at retaining title
Initials SGM/0050 SGM/0105
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: World Boxing Council featherweight champion Kuniaki Shibata of Japan kept his title with a highly controversial draw over Ernesto Marcel of Panama, on Thursday (11 November) at Matsuyama, Japan.
The 23-year-old challenger appeared to have scored a convincing win as he battered and outboxed the champion far most of the fight. However, one Japanese judge gave the fight to Marcel 71-85, while South Korean referee Chung Young Seo awarded the decision to Shibata 72-69. The clincher was the second Japanese judge, who scored the fight even 71-71.
Shibata thus retained his title for the second time, but in a far from convincing manner before the crowd of 8,000. He became the champion last December by stopping Vicente Saldivar in 13 rounds, and won his first title defence with a first round knockout over another Mexican, Raul Cruz.
SYNOPSIS: Matsuyama, Japan on Thursday and the World Boxing Council featherweight boxing championship. This fight was champion Kuniaki Shibata's second defence, since he gained the title in December. The challenger, Ernesto Marcel of Panama, started strong and continued to carry the fight to the Japanese champion. Marcel's aggressive two-fisted attack kept Shibata on the ropes for much of the fight. In the second round, Shibata suffered an eye injury, which continued to bleed for most of the fight.
The eye injury continued to bother Shibata, as he was outboxed for much of the fight. The injury seemed to have been sustained when the two fighters' heads clashed, and in the sixth round the referee warned Marcel about butting. A crowd of eight-thousand in the first open-air championship bout seen in Japan for eleven years gave the fighters a warm ovation after each round.
Although the champion continued to charge in the last few rounds, he seemed unable to counter the longer reach of his opponent. The challenger appeared to have the fight well in hand, but the verdict of the judges and referee resulted in a highly controversial draw, which kept the title for Shibata. One Japanese judge gave the fight to Marcel, while the South Korean referee favoured Shibata. The second Japanese judge, however, scored the fight even.