Traditionally Japanese fighters have only had limited success outside of the lower weight classes. This is because they usually lack something to they need to get international success, such as the natural size, power or skills to match their more successful counterparts from the US, Europe or Latin American. That however doesn't prevent them from being involved in some absolute thrillers courtesy of the flaws and mentality of the men involved.
One such exciting contest took place on November 3rd 2012 when the shaven headed Shamgar Koichi battled hard with the light hitting Tomohiko Sakai. The bout saw the dangerous but highly flawed Koichi applying near constant pressure though having very mixed success with Sakai all too happy to fight fire with fire. As a result of both men being limited the fight turned out to be a high entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable bout, especially the final round, between two domestic fighters who were both looking to score a win that could help them establish themselves as a domestic title contender.
Sadly the bout seems to have sent Sakai into retirement and he's not fought in the subsequent 20 months. For Koichi however the win has helped him earn his Japanese title shot and in less than a month from us posting this video he will be fighting Hiroki Okada for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. It wasn't a direct reward for this win but the win certainly helped him to get such a big title bout.
(Video courtesy of toneket2)
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