At the moment Kato is ranked #14 by the WBC and is likely to have to wait for his opportunity to fight against Linares, due to the fact the WBC have numerous caveats attached to their title at the moment. Saying that however there is a possibility that the WBC may allow Linares a voluntary defence as long as he makes it quickly and that could open the door for Kato to get a chance in spring.
Kato is unknown outside of Japan however domestically he is known for his brilliant trilogy with Nihito Arakawa, a trilogy he won this past December when he came out on top in a rubber match between the two men. Prior to vacating the Japanese title Kato had defended the belt 7 times and had unified it with the OPBF title, though he did lose the OPBF belt last January to Masayoshi Nakatani.
Tough, defensively tight and with under-rated power Kato is a very good fighter though he would be a clear under-dog against Linares who is significantly faster, more skilled and more natural in the ring. Saying that however Kato would have a chance against Linares due to the Venezuelan's issues with stamina and a bout between the two men would genuinely be intriguing.
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