Junior flyweight Carlos Canizales impressively outpointed Sho Kimura in Fuzhou, China on Sunday.
The Venezuelan, who is ranked No. 4 by The Ring at 108 pounds, now moves on to bigger things after winning a near shut out unanimous decision on the scorecards: 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110.
In what was his first fight in 10 months, Canizales used his impressive skillset to befuddle the former WBO flyweight titleholder who had elected to drop down in weight for this opportunity.
Kimura pressed the fight all the way but barely troubled the diminutive 26-year-old who moved constantly and created angles for his work, picking off the Japanese fighter whenever he closed the gap.
Canizales (22-0-1, 17 knockouts) will now likely be on the lookout for Ring champion and WBA titleholder Hiroto Kyoguchi.
Kimura drops to (18-3-2, 11 KOs) after this loss.
On the same card, China’s Can Xu stopped Shun Kubo in six rounds.
Xu, who is ranked No. 7 by The Ring at 126 pounds, easily picked apart his Japanese opponent dropping him in the fifth and stopping him at 1:16 of the next frame.
The 25-year-old Xu improves to 17-2 (3 KOs) while Kubo drops to 13-2 (9 KOs).
On the undercard, Wulan Tuolehazi (12-3-1, 5 KOs) won a 12-round majority decision over Ardin Diale (35-14-4, 17 KOs) at flyweight. The scores were 117-111, 115-113 and 114-114.
At junior lightweight, Shichao Gao (4-0-1, 1 KO) won a 10-round unanimous decision over Anurak Thisa (23-2, 9 KOs). The scores were 97-93, 96-95 and 96-94.
At junior featherweight, Sophon Klachun (5-3, 1 KO) edged Hua Long Zhu (2-1, 2 KOs) by six-round split decision. Scores were 57-56 twice for Klachun, while the other judge scored the same for Zhu.