1979-06-20 Masashi Kudo w rtd 12 (15) Manuel Gonzalez, City Gym, Yokkaichi, Japan - WBA

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1979-06-20 Masashi Kudo w rtd 12 (15) Manuel Gonzalez, City Gym, Yokkaichi, Japan - WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou. Having controversially retained his title against the same opponent three months earlier, the champion started better in the return match when sending in sharp one-twos to the head and not hanging around to trade. Gonzalez (152) came back well in the fifth through the ninth when countering with solid rights to the head, as Kudo (153¾) missed with stinging left leads, and in the tenth he sent the latter staggering into the ropes with solid lefts and rights. Hammering away non-stop at Kudo it seemed as though Gonzalez was on the verge of winning the title, but having absorbed everything thrown at him the champion suddenly cut loose, a cracking left to the Argentinian’s jaw just before the bell changing the course of the fight. Badly stunned, Gonzalez did not know where he was from that point on, and having taken a beating in the 11th he was staggering around the ring in the 12th when his corner threw the towel after nine seconds of the session had elapsed, to save him from taking further punishment.

Having been the outstanding challenger for over a year, Ayub Kalule would finally get his chance of a shot at Kudo after the WBA demanded on 25 July that the latter defend his title against the Ugandan within 90 days. Kudu had been reported to have signed up to meet Emiliano Villa, which if true was stopped in its tracks. The Commonwealth middleweight champion was unbeaten in 30 (17 inside the distance) contests and had defeated Elisha Obed, Rudy Robles, Alvin Anderson, Miguel Castellini, Jose Hernandez, Milton Owens, Sugar Ray Seales, Kevin Finnegan, Ho Joo, Monty Betham and David Love, all top men. A southpaw who was feared for his ability with right hooks and uppercuts, Kalule was a big pre-fight favourite.