1999-02-13 Takenori Hatakeyama drew 12 Saul Duran, Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan - WBA
1999-02-13 Takenori Hatakeyama drew 12 Saul Duran, Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan - WBA. Referee: Derek Milham. Scorecards: 114-111, 113-113, 113-115. After getting off to a good start with jabs and left-right combinations the champion was taken by surprise in the second round when he was dropped by Duran (129½) following a well-timed jab hitting him flush. From then on Hatakeyama (130) was forced to change tactics. In the third, after he pinned Duran against the ropes with clusters of blows, it soon became a battle of counter-puncher versus aggressive in-fighter. As round proceeded round there was little in it, as first Hatakeyama and then Duran would have their successes, and the scoring would have been even closer had the latter not been deducted two points for low blows that landed in the tenth and 11th sessions.
With Hatakeyama having defended his title just seven days earlier, an 11th-round stoppage win for Antonio Hernandez over Justin Juuko at the John Justin Arena, Fort Worth, Texas on 20 February was strangely billed for the WBA ‘interim’ championship.
Another fight billed for the ‘interim’ title saw Hernandez lose on points over 12 rounds to Joel Casamayor at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort, Miami, Florida on 19 June.