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Dominique “Kenshin” Wallace, a Yokota High School graduate fighting under former Yokota airman and world lightweight contender Rick Roberts, suffered the first setback of his fledgling boxing career in Japan on Friday at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

Wallace, who graduated in 2018 and has been fighting as a lightweight, was beaten by first-round technical knockout by Hiro Ichimichi, who caught Wallace with a right-hand, left-hook combination. The time the fight was stopped was not immediately available.

“The first round is the most dangerous round,” Roberts said after the bout. Wallace fell to 3-1, while Ichimichi improved to two wins with one draw. “Of course, his pride was hurt, but he wants to make up for it in the fights to come,” Roberts said.

The defeat comes several weeks before Roberts plans to enter Wallace in what’s called the Shinjinou (New Boys) tournament, just after the first of the year, for newcomers to the sport in Japan.

“Honestly, he needs to keep his chin down and protected,” Roberts said. “He trains hard and fights well, so I’m confident that he’ll be a favorite to win” the New Boys tournament.

Roberts, 45, is a retired Air Force master sergeant who fought mostly as a lightweight in Japan from 1988 to 2003. He was 38-7 with 20 knockouts and still holds the Japan Boxing Commission record with 23 defenses of his lightweight title.

While stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Roberts returned to Japan and fought on Feb. 17, 2001, for the WBA lightweight title against Takanori Hatakeyama at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena. The two fought to a draw.

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