Kenshiro Teraji closed out the year and decade in style. The long-reigning junior flyweight titlist continues to plead his case as a rising pound-for-pound talent, his latest offering coming in the form of a 4th round stoppage of Philippines’ Randy Petalcorin. Four knockdowns paved the way for the stoppage win, which came at 1:08 of round four Monday evening at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

Teraji came out to a deliberate start, taking a couple of rounds to get his offense going as both boxers spent much of the opening frame bouncing on their toes. Petalcorin was able to establish his jab to some degree, simply by serving as the more active fighter while in his second career title fight.

It changed in a big way of round three, as Teraji found his groove which meant bad news for his determined but ultimately overwhelmed challenger. A familiar theme would develop midway through the round, with Teraji targeting the body and Petalcorin eventually finding the canvas. The first such sequence came courtesy of a long right hand, forcing Petalcorin to the deck but managing to beat the count.

The visiting challenger found himself back down mere seconds later, once again taking a wicked body shot as Teraji had completely seized control. Another eight count was offered, with Petalcorin hoping to make it out of the round. He barely managed just that, but not before being doubled over and dropped for a third time in the round.

With the dramatic shift in momentum, came a purposeful Teraji to start round four. Another knockdown produced by body shots left Petalcorin in a bad way, this time prompting referee Frank Garza to call a halt to the contest.

Petalcorin (31-4-1, 23KOs) was valiant in defeat, but nevertheless coming up short in his second bid at a major title. He took the opportunity on just four weeks’ notice, with the event originally billed as a junior flyweight title unification bout. That dynamic changed when Nicaragua’s Felix Alvarado—who stopped Petalcorin to win his titles last October—had to withdraw due after failing to fully recover from a battle with bronchitis.

Hope remains to revisit that fight at some point in 2020. For now, Teraji will settle for the seventh successful defense of a junior flyweight title reign dating back to his May 2017 win over Ganigan Lopez. All but two of his defenses have ended inside the distance, including two straight in 2019 as he improves to 17-0 (10KOs).

The bout served as part of a title fight tripleheader, streaming live on ESPN+ and topped by Ryota Murata’s first defense of his second reign of a secondary 160-pound title as he faces Canada’s Steven Butler.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox