At the time of writing the most active Japanese national champion is Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato who recorded his 7th title defence earlier this week with a stoppage of the hard hitting Tsukasa Saito. The fight was Kato's 9th bout since winning the Japanese title back in 2011 and was another fight that proved not only his toughness but also the excitement he can bring to the ring.
From the moment this fight was announced we had expected action and that's what we got as Saito took the fight to Kato and the men stood in front of each other taking it in turns to let punches go, often to the body. For Saito the mentality seemed to be about breaking down Kato whilst the champion appeared happy to fight in the pocket and pick his openings in a fight that wouldn't have looked out of place in a phone booth.
By round 3 the tide was starting to turn but the action was still almost constant with one man, or the other, on the attack. In round 4 the fight suddenly flipped with Kato dropping Saito. From then on Saito seemed to begin tiring though continued to fight his heart out before eventually being stopped by the referee in round 8. At first it looked like the stoppage was early but a few seconds later it appeared clear the referee saw something and made a perfect stoppage so a lot of credit needs giving to Katsuhiko Nakamura for stopping this when he did.
Whilst the fight won't go down as a potential FOTY candidate it was still a great all action fight and the sort of thing we are coming to expect of Kato who has now won back-to-back fights following his loss of the OPBF title to Masayoshi Nakatani back in January.
(Much thanks go to Mitani Yamato Gym for up loading this footage)
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