Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a Japanese Middleweight title eliminator, between former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-10-1, 8) [西田光] and 2017 Middleweight Rookie of the Year winner Shuji Kato (10-1-1, 6) [加藤収二] .
The bout was Was a competitive one, and one that was really hard to split the two men overall, though it did have some very clear rounds. The first two rounds went to Kato, who used good movement and a sharp jab to control the earlier action. Nishida began to up his pressure the following round and this ended up dragging Kato into Nishida's type of fight. That pressure paid off in round 5 when Nishida dropped Kato with a right hook towards the end of the round.
Despite being dropped Kato recovered well and the final 3 rounds were hotly contest, with both men knowing the bout was finely balanced. In the end however Kato just did enough, taking the split decision with scores of 76-75, twice, in his favour whilst the third judge had it 76-75 in favour of Nishida.
After the bout Kato went face to face with Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登], with the two men now set to fight in 2019 as part of the Champion Carnival.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This past weekend we saw Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] make his his first defense of the Japanese Middleweight title, stopping former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-7, 6) [佐々木左之介] in 2 rounds.
Tomorrow we will find out who Takesako's next challenger will be, as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Rookie of the Year winner Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二] to determine the mandatory challenger for Takesako, at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight.
On the scales Nishida was bang on the 160lbs limit, and like always looked strong and powerful. He spoke highly of Kato, with the two men having sparred a lot before and with Takesako stating that Kato is strong.
Kato, who looked bigger at the weigh in, was actually the lighter man. He weighed in at 159.4lbs and looked in great condition. He admitted he got this chance earlier than he expected and describing describing Nishida as being like a "rock" he wanted to destroy him.
Related - Former champion Nishida takes on Rookie winner Kato! (Fight preview)
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
Earlier this year we saw Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] become the Japanese Middleweight champion as he ripped the title from Hikaru Nishida. He unfortunately had to wait until today to make his first defense, as no one seemed fitting to challenge him in the middle of the year.
Today he faced off with former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-7, 6) [佐々木左之介], and it was clear that Sasaki wasn't there to make up numbers, despite poor recent form and a record that didn't scream suitable challenger. Instead of coming to lose, Sasaki fought like a man who knew this could be his last chance and he took the fight to Takesako, using his reach and speed to keep the champion at bay in the opening moments.
As the opening round went on Sasaki began to let his hands go more and more, and seemed to rock Takesako mid way through the round, though was punished why a counter shot that buckled his own legs as the two began to just have a fire fight. Sasaki was again in trouble at the end of the round, as he was rocked, but made his way to the bell and may have actually won the round, given his consistency through the 3 minutes, despite being in trouble twice.
In round 2 Sasaki struggled to keep up the success he had in the previous round, with Takesako landing combinations, though Sasaki stood up to them and tried to return fire. He had no quit in him but he couldn't clear the cobwebs as Takesako continued to press the action and hurt his man once again with a huge right hand, this time leaving the referee with no option but to step in and stop the contest as Sasaki's legs completely went.
Despite being strongly favoured, and retaining his title, Takesako will have known he was in a fight, and Sasaki really did give an amazing effort for a round and a half.
Takesako will have a mandatory defense set early next year at the Champion carnival, against either the man he beat for the belt, Hikaru Nishida, or Shuji Kato. He will also likely have his eyes on Charlie Shinobu Hosokawa, the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, with that bout being a mouth watering one if it can be made. For Sasaki we really do wonder whether or not his body can hold up for much longer. He has suffered a number of stoppage losses and was involved in a nasty accident out of the ring which left him with an injured leg. He was supposedly 100% fit for this bout, but we do wonder if he will ever be fully fit for a long and arduous contest.
Tomorrow at the Koraken Hall we'll see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (9-0, 9) [竹迫司登] make his first defense of the title, as he takes on former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-6, 6) [佐々木左之介].
Today the two men weighed in for their bout and both fighters made the 160lb limit with no issues.
The champion came in under the limit, at around 159.8lbs, and looked in good shape, but not amazing if we're being honest.
The challenger, who looked a touch flesh himself and was bang on the 160lb divisional limit, though looks like he could have dropped a fair bit of weight had he really had to. It's worth noting that if he wins this would be Sasaki's biggest win since his 2012 title victory over Tadashi Yuba, beginning a short reign that saw him losing the belt in his very next fight to Tomohiro Ebisu.
The bout will be televised live tomorrow on G+ and the winner will be expected to defend the title at the Champion Carnival in early 2019, against either former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] or Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], who clash in an eliminator later this month.
Related - Takesako's first defense sees him takes on former champion!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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