Today Sakamoto's dreams of getting a title fight were all but killed as he suffered a shock defeat to 32 year old Takaaki Kanai (9-7, 4) [金井隆明], who essentially saved his own career after losing 4 of his previous 5.
The bout was close throughout, though Kanai seemed to strike first, finding a homefor his right hand in the opening and stepping up the tempo a little earlier than Sakamoto. To his credit Sakamoto put his foot on the gas and got himself back into a great position, before being dropped by a right hand in round 5.
The knockdown proved to be the key, with Kanai taking the decision 76-75, twice, and 77-75.
After the bout Sakamoto stated he couldn't do things at his pace, and sounded rather dejected, with his career now hanging by a wire. For Kanai the win was one that should push him into the JBC rankings and could open the door for a potential Japanese title fight down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)