The challenger, who was the clear under-dog, proved he was there to fight from the opening moments and made the most of his jab, which seemed much better than that of Akaho.The jab of the challenger helped him establish control of the distance and the fight in general as he was leading the fight after 3 rounds.
Akaho, to his credit, relied on his experience to get back in to the fight in round 4, before being deducted a point for a low blow in round 5, giving Saito the lead when the cards were announced 5 rounds, with scores of 48-45 twice and 47-46.
Whilst Saito was leading he had been forced to take some punishment, with a cut being notable over his eye. He was also tiring and that was shown when Akaho began to turn it on. In round 9 a tired Saito was dropped and although he got to his feet he didn't have much left and Akaho rushed in forcing a stoppage.
The win, seen by Nonito Donaire, was a thrilling contest and will be aired on G+ next weekend. It showed Akaho come from behind and althoug he was expected to win, it really took him digging deep to come out on top, with credit going to Saito for his effort.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)