Tatsuyoshi Fails to Revenge Zaragoza
WBC Jr. Featherweight Championship - Osaka, Japan (4/14/97)

I had thought Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, 26 was a completely washed-up boxer, considering the deteriorating defense skill manifested over the last couple of fights. His reflex was not there in his last fight with Mexican in Las Vegas in December. I had predicted the outcome of the rematch with Daniel Zaragoza, 39 would be almost the same as the one in which Tatsuyoshi was stopped in 11th round, bleeding from cuts on his both eyelids.

The result ended up the same. He was lost to Zaragoza again by a unanimous decision. But the way he fought was different, especially in the effort of protecting himself from Zaragoza's most effective weapon, the left straight. This time, Tatsuyoshi kept his right hand up to cover his face to guard against the Champion's tricky left hand. His tactics, ironically deterred his offense. Tatsuyoshi's original style is keeping his both hands down like Muhammad Ali so that he can throw sharp punches in every angle. Probably because of his deteriorating eye-sight caused by the detached retina and reflex, he decided to use his right hand to mainly protect himself this time.

Tatsuyoshi used a traditonal tactics against a southpaw -- moving clockwise to evade the opponent's left straight and to stay in a blind spot -- in early rounds. He carefully observed Zaragoza's main weapon, tricky left hand from all angles because he was stunned by Zaragoza's left straight in the first round of the last bout, which gave Zaragoza a clear advantage for the entire fight.

Tatsuyoshi, in a pre-fight interview, predicted he will win by decision. This was very unusual for him because he used to show arrogance and confidence by mentioning a KO victory.

Indeed, he executed his game plan as he had stated, but he again absorbed a lot of Zaragoza's left blows like last fight. However, he did not seem to get so much damage on his face. I think this proves that he effectively used his hand for protection. In countering against a southpaw, right straight is a key punch. Tatsuyoshi, unfortunately missed the opportunity to aggressively use the weapon due to the reason I explained.

Having said that, tonight's Tatsuyoshi's performance was the best since he regained his title from Victor Rabanales. Zaragoza had nothing left in the final two rounds. Of course it is far from the performance in the first title attempt with Gregg Richardson. Although there is a lot of difficulties lie ahead his future boxing career, it is sure that he still could not find any reason to stop searching his so called "masterpiece."

On April 30, Tatsuyoshi's manager Kiyoshi Yoshii disclosed his plan to have Tatsuyoshi challenge WBC bantamweight champion Sirimongkol Singmanassak, Thailand in Yokohama, Japan on July 26.

Written by Akira Matsuda