Ryuichiro Sumimura successfully defended his welterweight belt in the rematch against compatriot and rival Yuta Watanabe at Deep 94 on Sunday.

Both men went back and forth in an entertaining encounter which needed the judges to separate them after three rounds at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

In the end it was the champion who got the nod via unanimous decision with all five scorecards reading 29-28. There was no feeling-out process at the start of the fight but Sumimura soon stepped up the pace.

The champion bombarded his opponent with crisp boxing combinations. Watanabe went in search of a takedown but Sumimura was able to keep the contest standing for the entirety of the opening frame.

Precarious position

With the majority of the first round battled on the feet, the second stanza showed each man’s versatility as they scrambled on the ground throughout.

Sumimura was desperate to land his first takedown but Watanabe took his back and looked for a choke. The champion escaped and returned the favor but could not quite get the finish, despite his opponent looking to be in a precarious position.

In the final round, Sumimura and Watanabe kept the pace high as they exchanged hard shots for five minutes. The latter kept himself busy by throwing his jabs but it was the champion who continued to do damage and land the more effective shots.

Sumimura’s efforts were enough to earn him a unanimous decision win that improves his record to 15-8. On the other hand, Watanabe drops to 22-10-4 and sees his three-fight winning streak snapped.

Best of the rest

In the main event of the evening, former Deep bantamweight titlist Yuki Motoya (24-8) arrested a three-year losing skid by having his hand raised in triumph at the expense of fellow ex-champion Takafumi Otsuka (27-17-1) via unanimous decision.

Motoya put together a clinical display of striking for three rounds, battering Otsuka with punishing combinations to the head and midsection.

Although Otsuka would give Motoya a good challenge, he was a step behind constantly throughout the bout. All three judges at cageside saw the bout in favor of the latter.

In other matches of the night, Kyosuke Yokoyama (12-8) authored a jaw-dropping submission victory, putting Daisuke Tatsumi (13-9) to sleep with a tight arm-triangle choke in the third round.

Kritsada Kongsrichai (7-5) received a harsh welcome in his maiden Deep appearance. The ONE Championship veteran was stopped by Kosuke Terashima (16-15-5) in the second round.

Deep 94, Tokyo, March 1st
Yuki Motoya def. Takafumi Otsuka via Decision (Unanimous)
Ryuichiro Sumimura def. Yuta Watanabe via Decision (Unanimous)
Kyosuke Yokoyama def. Daisuke Tatsumi via Submission (Arm-triangle choke) at 3:30 of round three
Kosuke Terashima def. Kritsada Kongsrichai via TKO (Punches) at 4:11 of round two
Kizaemon Saiga def. Jack via TKO (Punches) at 1:31 of round one
Yamato Fujita def. Chikara Shimabukuro via Decision (Unanimous)
Takuya Oyama def. Harry Stallone via DQ (Illegal Knee) at 2:50 of round one
Koya Kanda def. Raiki Endo via Decision (Unanimous)
Kunihisa Sasa def. Fuhito Hasegawa via Decision (Unanimous)
Kazuki Shibuya def. Yasutaka Ishigami via Decision (Unanimous)