Earlier this year we reported that Katsunari Takayama [高山 勝成] had tried to make his way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but had fallen short and had actually failed to even qualify for the Japanese championships.
There was however another former professional who was trying something similar, former Middleweight title challenger Koji Sato [佐藤 幸治]. Unlike Takayama we saw Sato progress beyond the regional qualifiers for the All Japan championships, which begin in November 21st. It's now been confirmed that he will indeed take his place in the tournament and will look to take his next step towards an Olympic place.
Sato is known for having a short, but exciting, professional career going 20-2 (18), winning the OPBF title and losing to Felix Sturm, in 2009, and Makoto Fuchigami in 2011. Prior to turning professional he had had a strong amateur career winning 5 All Japan amateur titles, from 1999 to 2003, and will be returning to competition for the first time in 16 years.
A win here would open the door for Sato to compete at the Asia-Oceania qualifying event in January and take a massive step towards an Olympic place and a truly remarkable career comeback at the age of 38!
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
Earlier today the Japanese website "efight" revealed that former 2-time OPBF Middleweight champion Koji Sato (20-2, 18) [佐藤幸治] was going to throw his hat into the mix to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, following Katsunari Takayama [高山 勝成] in going from the professional ranks to the amateurs.
The 38 year old Sato, who hasn't fought since losing in an incredible 2011 bout with Makoto Fuchigami [淵上誠], appears to be taking this comeback pretty seriously.
At his best Sato was a heavy handed slugger. He had been an excellent amateur back in his pomp, running up a 133-3 (101) on the domestic scene and making his way to a number of international competitions, though failed to shine on the international scene.
At the moment it's very unclear whether Sato would manage to qualify as Japan's representative, given that there is stiff competition for places even in the higher weights, but to see Sato taking the sport seriously again is interesting and he's doing so with top amateurs, including Issei Aramoto [荒本一成] who is expected to make the national team for the Olympics.
Although Sato came up short in a world title fight with Felix Sturm he was an exciting fighter, and they say power is the last thing to leave a fighter, so he could, still, be a dangerous man on the domestic amateur scene.
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