It seemed doubtful, given the fighters’ combined concussive power, that Saturday’s 140-pound clash between Walter Castillo and Keita Obara would last the scheduled 12-round distance.
After all, Castillo—a 27-year-old Nicaraguan—had knocked out five of his previous six opponents. Even more impressively, Japan’s Obara had stopped 14 of his 16 career opponents.
Despite outlanding Castillo in total punches (230-116), power shots (160-125) and jabs (70-41), Obara was denied the win on the scorecards. Judge Michael Ancona scored it 115-113 for Obara, while the other two judges saw the bout as 114-114.
"It's my fault for not knocking him out. I don't agree with the decision, but it's my fault in the end because he was still there at the end of 12 rounds,” Obara said. "I landed good punches on him, but none were knockout punches. I knew to beat him here I would need to get the knockout and I did not get it.
“It was really fun and exciting to fight in U.S. Before the decision was read I was having the time of my life. Now I'm disappointed in the decision. I would fight him again if the arrangement were made."
Obara (15-1-1, 14 KOs), who was fighting outside of Japan for the first time in his life, pounded Castillo from range through the middle rounds starting in the third. He also caused a nasty cut over Castillo’s right eye by the fourth, had the Nicaraguan bleeding from his mouth by the sixth and bloodied Castillo’s right ear by the final round.
Castillo (26-3-1, 19 KOs) valiantly tried to turn the tables in the ninth and 10th, when he brought pressure and delivered punishment to Obara’s head and body along the ropes. Prior to the start of the 11th round, the ringside doctor took a long look at the cavernous gash over Castillo’s eye before allowing the fight to continue.
"The eye did affect my vision. As soon as I got hit, everything went blurry,” Castillo said. "My corner did a good job to get me through the 12 rounds. I gave it my all, but the eye did hamper the things I was trying to do.
"The fight was a very good, strong fight. I respect the decision of the judges. I fought my best. I would definitely fight him again. I would like to have a final decision over who the winner was. If he will fight, I would love to."
For complete coverage of Castillo vs Obara, visit our fight page.