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Takashi Miura

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One of the best Japanese fighters between 2010 and 2017, Miura was the WBC super feather champion between 2013 and 2015, making four successful defenses. He was a come forward pressure fighter who had good power, good handspeed, was durable, hardworking and tough and his technique improved over the course of his pro career as well. He stood just under 5'7 or 169 cm and had a reach of 70 or 178 cm, fighting from southpaw stance. He only failed against world class opponents and not too many times. 

Born 14 May 1984 in Yamamoto, Akita district of Japan, and first fought as amateur, winning 34 out of 40 fights there. After winning at a 2002 sports festival, he turned pro in 2003. He drew in his 6th fight against Akinori Suzuki. He went 12-0-1 before running into the first bump against Yusuke Kobori, a future WBA lightweight champion, who was more experienced at 20-2-1. Fighting Kobori on 15 September 2007, he lost by UD 10 in a fight for the Japanese Commission SF title. On 17 January 2009, he again tried to win it against Yoshimitsu Yashiro, but the fight ended a draw. Third time proved to be the charm as he again faced Yashiro on 4 July same year and this time won by TKO 7. After making four defenses of the title, he vacated it to challenge the WBA champion and his countryman Takashi Uchiyama. He fought Uchiyama on 31 January 2011 at Ariake Colosseum and managed to drop him hard in the third round, but eventually Uchiyama came back and his left jab swelled his eye shut by the eight round. After that round, following an inspection by the doctor, the fight was stopped. All was not lost however, as his impressive performance caught the eye of Teiken, the biggest Japanese promotional company, which soon added him to their stable. 

He had four fights at 135 after that and won them all before returning to 130 and fighting Gamaliel Diaz of Mexico, who was defending the WBC title he surprisingly took from Miura's countryman Takahiro Ao. The fight was in Kokugikan, Japan, 8 April 2013 and Miura demolished the Mexican champion, knocking him down in the third, sixth, seventh and finally knocking him out in the ninth with a hard left. He was now the world champion after nearly 10 years as a pro. For his first defense, he faced the hard-hitting Sergio Thompson, who had scored a huge upset ko against Jorge Linares previously, 17 August that year in Cancun, Mexico. It was a very thrilling fight and Thompson was down twice while Miura went down once in the eight, but went on to win by a close UD. He ended the year by fighting on New Year's Eve against Dante Jardon, another Mexican, and stopping him by TKO 9 in a onesided performance. He then had a layoff of 11 months before defending for the third time against Edgar Puerta, another Mexican, 22 November 2014 at Yokohama swimming pool. He dropped Puerta in the first round before stopping him by TKO 6. Puerta put up more of a fight than Jardon but was still chanceless. His fourth and final successful defense came on 1 May 2015, when he took on Australian Billy Dib, a former IBF champion, in Ota City General Gymnasium. He made short work of Dib and stopped him by TKO 3.

There were now talks of a rematch against Uchiyama, who would soon lose his long held WBA title, but that never materialized. Instead, Miura took on the undefeated and rising Mexican star Francisco Vargas, 22-0-1. In what was his biggest exposure ever, they fought at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, 21 November '15. Miura was first wobbled in the first round by a right hook, but came back and dropped Vargas in round four with a big straight left and also wobbled him in round eight. Going into round nine, with Miura ahead on two scorecards and his left eye swollen and bloodied pretty badly, Vargas sensed urgency and stepped up his game. First he hurt Miura with an overhand right and then dropped him with a follow up left-right. Miura got up in time but was in bad shape and was then jumped by Vargas and stopped, despite still on his feet and fighting back. It was named the fight of the year by some magazines and boxing sites. After this disappointing loss, Miura came back to action in May next year and after one easy fight which he won by KO 1, he took on the veteran Miguel Roman on 28 January 2017 in Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio and knocked him out in 12 rounds after putting him down three times. Later that same year, on 15 July, he faced the new WBC champ Miguel Berchelt at the Inglewood Forum and was dropped once but lasted the distance, eventually losing by a clear UD. 

That was the end of Miura's career and he retired gracefully at the age of 33, with a record of 31 wins, 24 inside the distance, 4 losses and 2 draws. Takashi Miura was an explosive fighter with genuine punching power, tough as nails and always willing to slug it out. For that, he was a very popular fighter in his heyday. Even in his losses, he gave a good account of himself and was actually close to stopping Vargas at the end of round eight, but then simply got hit and stopped, though one can argue somewhat prematurely as he did seem to regain his feet eventually after that knockdown. Whatever the truth, he will be remembered by fight fans as a "Real McCoy". 

Super featherweight Miura to defend WBC crown against Vargas in November |  The Japan Times

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