Back in April we saw Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] stop Ryota Yada (18-5, 15) [矢田良太] to become the new Japanese Welterweight champion. Since then we've been waiting for him to make his first defense, and today we finally found out when he would be risking his belt, and who he would be up against.
The champion, from the Teiken gym, will be taking on 35 year old veteran Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴], in what will be his first shot at the full title following a bout for the interim belt back in 2017, with the bout being held at Korakuen Hall on September 7th.
Coming in to this Nagano won't just be looking to defend his belt but also continue his impressive winning streak, which stands at 14 straight wins, including notable victories over Giraffe Kirin Kanda, Riku Nagahama, Yuki Beppu and Ryota Yada. Another win and he could well find himself moving towards bigger titles, and in fact it's fair to suggest that his current run is deserving of a regional title fight already.
Kawasaki has been a professional since 2012 and although his record isn't great he has faced some really interesting names during his career. He debuted against Koki Tyson, his first two losses came to Hironobu Matsunaga and other losses have come to Ryota Yada and Daisuke Sakamoto among others. Despite a sketchy record he has actually won his last 2 bouts, beating both Kentaro Endo and Yuichi Ideta, though a loss to Nagano would likely be the end of his career.
Notably this bout is set to be the chief support bout for the rescheduled contest between Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-0-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] and South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), who are meeting in an IBF world title eliminator.
Earlir this year Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] suffered a nasty injury in training, forcing him to cancel a title defense against Daisuke Sakamoto (14-8-3, 8) [坂本 大輔]. The result of Arikawa's injury was that Sakamoto was made to face off with domestic foe Makoto Kawasaki (9-5-1, 2) [川崎真琴] in a bout for the intereim Japanese Welterweight crown.
That bout took place today and was a genuinely thrilling contest with both men giving their all in a bout that showed what hunger means, especially when both men are starving.
From the off Sakamoto looked like the aggressive fighter, and certainly did his best to force the pace of the bout. That did leave Kawasaki with some counter opportunities, but in the end Sakamoto's all out aggression and relentless work rate was simply too much for the light hitting Kawasaki, who never really hurt Sakamoto. Although cut, from a headclash early on, Sakamoto seemed to refuse to back from his foe.
After 5 rounds two of the judges had Sakamoto up, 49-46, whilst the other had Kawasaki leading 48-47. In the second half of the fight Kawasaki really struggled to have any success with Sakamoto doing enough to take a clear decision win, with scores of97-93, twice, and 97-94, and move towards a showdown with Arikawa, in what will be a Japanese title unfiication bout likely taking place later this year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) [坂本 大輔] face off with domestic rival Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) [川崎真琴] in a bout for the "interim" Japanese Welterweight title.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made weight for the contest.
On the scales Sakamoto was the heavier man, coming in on the limit, despite being the shorter man. He looked determined to claim the biggest win of his career and secure a rematch with big punching "regular" champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] , who had been set to face Sakamoto before suffering a nasty injury earlier this year.
Although slightly taller Kawasaki was the lighter man, coming in with some room to spare. Like Sakamoto this will be the most significant bout of his career and although he didn't look relaxed or happy it'sclear that this is a huge opportunity for him, and he's done all he can to be in the shape of his career for the bout. It seems like the pressure was weighing on him today, but come fight time he'll look to use that pressure positively to change his career and claim the chance to face Arikawa.
Related - Sakamoto and Kawasaki face off for interim crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last week we reported that Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] had been forced to pull out of his scheduled contest against Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8) [坂本 大輔] due to a broken jaw. At the time of that report we had been hearing speculation that Sakamoto would be involved in an interim title fight, up against Makoto Kawasaki (9-4-1, 2) [川崎真琴].
Today it was announced that we would indeed see Sakamoto battle against Kawasaki for the interim title, with that bout now set to take place in June 30th at the Korakeun Hall as part of a Kadoebi Houseki card.
At the moment other details of the all card are unknown, though what we do know is that the winner of the Sakamoto Vs Kawasaki bout would be required to face off with Arikawa after the heavy handed champion returns to the ring, though given how recently and serious the injury was it's unclear when he will be set to return.
The promises a lot with Sakamoto riding an 8 fight unbeaten run, including a 69 second victory over Arikawa, and Kawasaki having won his last two, including a notable victory over Kazuya Murata last August.
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