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Thompson beats Japan's top heavyweight in Battle at the Boat 83 | Slideshow
Federal Way boxer Vincent Thompson defeated Japan's number one heavyweight to remain unbeaten in his professional career.
Thompson (9-0, 2 KO) won a unanimous decision in the main event against Masatake Takehara (6-5-3, 2 KO) in Battle at the Boat 83, held Aug. 27 at Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.
Thompson jabbed away while maintaining his trademark speed through eight rounds. Takehara threw fewer punches, but put on the pressure by consistently stalking into Thompson's space.
By the seventh round, Takehara showed signs of tiring as Thompson softened him up a bit, at one point landing a rather fierce left to the Japanese champ's ribs. The fighters went full throttle toward the final bell in the eighth round. The three judges scored the fight 80-72 in favor of Thompson, a crowd favorite.
"I pretty much figured out his style in the first round," said Thompson, who shed a few pounds since his last fight, now weighing in at 235. "I was really pacing myself and trying to slow it down."
Takehara's fight with Thompson was his second bout in the U.S. He is one of a handful of heavyweight boxers in Japan. According to local trainer Mack Kurihara, who spoke on Takehara's behalf, Saturday's matchup was "make or break" for the Japanese boxer's career.
Earlier this month, Thompson and boxing trainer/commentator Teddy Atlas spent a week in Moscow, Russia. Atlas is known for training Michael Moorer to a world heavyweight title in 1994. In Russia, Thompson sparred and trained with Alexander Provetkin (22-0), who defeated Ruslan Chagaev on Aug. 27 for the vacant WBA world heavyweight title.
Aside from a little sightseeing, Thompson said he practiced some of the Russian fighters' boxing fundamentals while impressing them with his speed. He added that his Russian hosts were gracious and welcoming.
On Nov. 5, Thompson will face Tacoma heavyweight Jonte Willis (8-1-1, 3 KOs) at Emerald Queen Casino. Willis told Saturday's crowd to expect a great fight.
"This has been a long time coming," said Willis, who was knocked out by Canadian heavyweight Shane Andreesen in June. "This will be one of the best fights the Pacific Northwest has seen in a long time ... It's time for the Pacific Northwest to get a better show."
The fighters even exchanged a few words on the stage following Thompson's victory Saturday night.
"I told him, 'Man, I ain't even worried about you,'" Thompson said. "I'm ready for anybody."
Thompson's last victory came June 6 against Kelsey Arnold (4-8-2, KO) of Lexington, TN, in the main event of Battle at the Boat 82: Fight Night to the Playboy Mansion. Thompson kept up the pressure and had the edge through all six rounds to win the 60-54 unanimous decision.
Fight card: Battle at the Boat 83
• Semi-main event: Los Angeles boxer Oscar Andrade (7-0, 3 KO) remained undefeated following a unanimous decision over Michael Lucero (12-17-2, 4 KO) of West Linn, Ore. Both fighters banged away until the final bell. Andrade had an edge with his height and reach, including a solid left hook, but Lucero was tough, even as Andrade consistently drilled his head in the later rounds. After six rounds, judges scored the fight 59-54, 60-53 and 60-53.
• Light welterweights: In the fourth bout of a solid undercard, Aaron Schupp (2-2-2, KO) of Corvallis, Ore., faced Edgar Zubia (1-0-1) of Hobbs, N.M., in a four-round majority draw that elicited groans from the crowd. Schupp landed more solid punches despite Zubia's quicker moves as the fighters went the distance. The moment the final bell rang, the two fighters embraced in a show of sportsmanship. Two judges scored the fight 38-38 even, one judge scored 39-37.
• Super middleweights: After a slow first round, Tacoma boxers Mike Gavronski and Darren Anzai picked up the pace into a thrilling slugfest. In the fourth round, the sweat was flying with each punch. Gavronski (3-01, 2 KO) pummeled Anzal (2-4, 2 KO) against the ropes before landing the knockout blow. The ref held the wobbly Anzai to his feet until a stool was brought across the ring. Gavronski is a four-time Washington Golden Gloves champ.
• Welterweights: Randell Corpuz of Yakima won a unanimous decision over Nalo Leal of Airway Heights, Wash., in an entertaining four-round battle. Corpuz (1-1) knocked Leal (4-12-1) off-balance early. Corpuz consistently landed solid punches throughout the exciting brawl. Leal's razzle-dazzle and taunting weren't enough to overcome Corpuz, who earned scores of 39-37 from three judges and 40-36 from a fourth judge.
• Cruiserweights: In the night's opener, Tommy Davis of Yreka, Calif., knocked out Jose Rico of Lancaster, Calif., 41 seconds into the second round with a nasty upper cut that sent Rico collapsing into the ropes. Davis (1-0) is a mixed martial arts fighter who won his pro boxing debut against Rico (0-1).
The Guns N' Hoses charity boxing tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma. The event features local police and firefighters boxing in three-round bouts. Proceeds benefit charities including the Pacific Northwest Amateur Boxing Association, which works with local gyms by funding programs for at-risk youth in an effort to keep them off the streets. Tickets start at $25. To learn more, visit www.halquistproductions.com.