Earlier today it was revealed that that former Rookie of the Year and former WBC Youth Lightweight champion Tsukasa Saito (21-3, 16) [斉藤 司] had transferred gym, to the Ichiriki, and was looking to restart his career after almost 3 years of inactivity.
Saito had been trying to leave the Mitani Yamato gym though had struggled to get away with his move to Ichiriki only being finalised in the last few days, and it's clear that the issues with the gym have slowed his career massively. A career that once promised so much.
Saito began his career back in 2007, as a 17 year old, and quickly impressed by winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2008 at Super Featherweight. As well as the All Japan Crown he had also claimed the All Japan and the East Japan MVP awards and looked like one to watch for the future.
The youngster would win his first 12 bouts before suffering a technical decision loss in an upset against Takeshi Kimura. That loss would be followed by a year out of the ring for Saito who would claim the WBC Youth Lightweight title in 2010, defending the belt once before being upset by Jose Maxian, who stopped Saito in the 7th round to take the WBC Youth title from him.
The Japanese youngster would rebuild, earning a Japanese title fight in 2014, which he lost by stoppage to Yoshitaka Kato before his career tailed off with two low key wins against Thai foes in 2015, in what were his last two bouts.
It's unclear when he will make his Ichiriki debut, but he's supposedly got the hunger to fight and will be training alongside the likes of Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) [近藤 明広].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the JBC named the winners of their monthly awards for the month of July.
The MVP for the month was Yoshitaka Kato who successfully defended his Japanese Lightweight by stopping Tsukasa Saito in 8 rounds. For Kato this was his 7th title defence and continued his excellent run as the champion and although his next defence isn't set we'd not be shocked to see him in there with Nihito Arakawa next.
As for the fighting spirit award that was given to Masayuki Ito who scored his best win to date by out pointing the heavy handed Masao Nakamura. Ito will likely be rewarded again when the new world rankings are published later this month considering that Nakamura was himself highly ranked.
The state of the art award was given to Shohei Kikuzato for his 6th round victory over Oikawa Taro. The 22 year old Kikuzato bounce back well from his previous bout, a 4th round loss to Kohei Kubo late last year.
(Image,of Kato, courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp)
Long reigning Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (28-5-1, 9) successfully retained his title earlier today as he stopped heavy hitting challenger Tsukasa Saito (19-3, 14) and recorded the 7th defence of his title.
Saito took the fight to Kato straight from the off though unfortunately for the challenger it was nothing the champion hadn't seen before and rather than being intimidated Kato fought back well, often using Saito's aggression against him and in fact Kato dropped Saito in round 4 with a counter.
The composure of Kato really was the difference between the two men early on and after 5 rounds Kato found himself comfortably in the lead on the score cards. Unfortunately for the challenger not only was he falling behind on the cards but he was also being broken down mentally and physically.
At the end of round 7 a tired looking Saito returned to his corner. He had been game but was starting to look like a man who knew he was heading towards a loss. It was no surprise that Kato picked up the attack in round 8 and finally forced the referee to stop the bout with Saito looking like a man who had given his all.
Whilst this was Saito's title fight it was Kato's second successive stoppage and his second defence this year and there is some talk about him possibly defending once more before the year is out with a bout between Kato and Nihito Arakawa now being spoken about. If We do get an Arakawa/Kato bout it would be a third meeting between the two men who currently hold a win a piece over the other man.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (27-5-1, 8) would be making the 7th defence of his national title on July 23rd. It was announced that Kato would be defending his title against the hard hitting Tsukasa Saito (19-2, 14) in what looks like an absolutely thrilling contest.
Kato, as we all know, is a tough fighter who is brave, takes a shot and keeps coming. He may lack power but he more than makes up for this in skills and toughness. Saito on the other hand doesn't have the skills of Kato but is a thunderous puncher who fights with a warriors mentality, and those are the type of fighters that seem to make for the best fights with Kato who gets forced to prove his toughness.
Incidentally this bout has been added to a card which already had a fantastic Lightweight bout arranged for it, that's the rematch between the ridiculously tough Nihito Arakawa (24-4-1, 16) and fellow tough guy Akihiro Kondo (19-3-1, 8). We might be getting over-zealous but how about the winners meeting later this year in what would really be another brilliant Japanese domestic fight in the Lightweight division.
We've also been informed that former Middleweight world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (20-9, 11) will be on this card as he tries to end a 2 fight losing streak. His opponent has not yet been named.
(Image, of Kato, courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
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