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Tatsuyoshi defends WBC bantamweight crown over Ayala with technical decision

Japan's Joichiro Tatsuyoshi won an injury-stopped battle to beat No. 1 ranked American challenger Paul Ayala and retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight title on August 23, 1998 at Yokohama Arena, Yokohama City.

The defending champion's right eyelid was cut in the sixth round by an accidental head butt by Ayala, which drew blood heavily. Mexican referee Guadalupe Garcia penalized the American two points and the bout was resumed after a doctor's checking on the injury. The two-point deduction was changed to "one point" after the bout because the butt was ruled unintentional. Garcia stopped the fight soon after the bell of the seventh round rang by an  advise of the ring-side doctor.

South Korean judge David Chung scored it 59-56, American Lou Filippo had it 59-56 and Italian Sergio Silvi gave it 58-57, all in favor of the defending champion.

Although Tatsuyoshi was staggered momentarily by the southpaw challenger Ayala's left straight in the first round, his sharp combination and smooth and speedy body movement took control until the bout was stopped. Tatsuyoshi's constant use of his sharp left jab and unpredictable right straight baffled Ayala and drew the frustrated challenger's head butt.

After the winner was announced, Tatsuyoshi told Ayala that he would give the challenger another chance.

It was Tatsuyoshi's second defense of the title he wrested from Sirimongkol Singmanassuk of Thailand in November last year, stretching his record to 17 wins, including 12 KOs, against four defeat and a draw.

For Ayala, it was his first defeat in his six-year professional career after winning his previous 25 matches(11KOs) in a row.