By Victor Lee –

Nineteen-year-old slugger Mako Yamada (7-0, 2 KOs), of Fukuoka, Japan wrested the WBO female minimumweight title from formerly undefeated defending southpaw champion Su-Yun Hong (9-1, 5 KOs) this afternoon in snowy Chuncheon, South Korea by split decision scores of 97-93, 96-94 (for Yamada) and 97-96 (for Hong). Yamada employed a persistent body attack that weakened Hong over the first half of the boufemale minimumweight titlet. Yamada upped her work rate in the later rounds, throwing full-force hooks to the head that had Hong holding on for dear life. Not expecting to win a decision on the former champion’s home turf, Yamada burst into tears when the decision was announced. With this victory, Yamada became the first Japanese WBO female champion, and the first woman from Kyushu to win a world title. In the semifinal bout, former amateur standout southpaw Ja-Ik Goo (3-0, 3 KOs) stopped rugged defending South Korean Super Lightweight Champion Taek-Min Kim (15-7, 10 KOs) on cuts to win the national belt. Full report to come.