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Yokota grad wins pro boxing debut in Tokyo

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 17, 2019

A Yokota High School graduate, learning boxing under the tutelage of a former Yokota airman who fought for the world lightweight title 18 years ago, won his pro boxing debut on Sunday.

Dominique “Kenshin” Wallace won a four-round unanimous decision over Takuya Kanda on Sunday at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi in Tokyo’s western suburbs.

“He looked very good,” said Rick Roberts, 44, a retired Air Force master sergeant who trains Wallace, a lightweight, at Ringside Fitness Gym near Yokota. “He did very well. He outboxed him (Kanda), used the jab a lot, he was in control the whole fight.”

Wallace was ahead 40-36 on the three judges’ scorecards. Near the end of the third round, Wallace had Kanda in trouble but the round ended before he could finish Kanda off.

“The kid (Kanda) was trying for one big knockout punch, but Wallace stayed on the outside using jabs,” Roberts said.

Wallace graduated from Yokota High School last June and has fought the last three years in Japan as an amateur, amassing a record of 4-2 with one draw in bouts held at Chiba and Hiratsuka City in Chiba Prefecture and Fussa, the town neighboring Yokota.

Roberts, of New York, fought mostly as a lightweight in Japan. He went 38-7 with two draws, 20 wins by knockout, and still holds the Japan Boxing Commission record with 23 defenses of his lightweight title.

After retiring from the ring in late 2003 and later from the Air Force, Roberts moved back to Japan, where he is now training fighters in Akishima, near Yokota.

Ornauer.dave@stripes.com

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