Earlier this year we saw Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] become the Japanese Middleweight champion as he ripped the title from Hikaru Nishida. He unfortunately had to wait until today to make his first defense, as no one seemed fitting to challenge him in the middle of the year.
Today he faced off with former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-7, 6) [佐々木左之介], and it was clear that Sasaki wasn't there to make up numbers, despite poor recent form and a record that didn't scream suitable challenger. Instead of coming to lose, Sasaki fought like a man who knew this could be his last chance and he took the fight to Takesako, using his reach and speed to keep the champion at bay in the opening moments.
As the opening round went on Sasaki began to let his hands go more and more, and seemed to rock Takesako mid way through the round, though was punished why a counter shot that buckled his own legs as the two began to just have a fire fight. Sasaki was again in trouble at the end of the round, as he was rocked, but made his way to the bell and may have actually won the round, given his consistency through the 3 minutes, despite being in trouble twice.
In round 2 Sasaki struggled to keep up the success he had in the previous round, with Takesako landing combinations, though Sasaki stood up to them and tried to return fire. He had no quit in him but he couldn't clear the cobwebs as Takesako continued to press the action and hurt his man once again with a huge right hand, this time leaving the referee with no option but to step in and stop the contest as Sasaki's legs completely went.
Despite being strongly favoured, and retaining his title, Takesako will have known he was in a fight, and Sasaki really did give an amazing effort for a round and a half.
Takesako will have a mandatory defense set early next year at the Champion carnival, against either the man he beat for the belt, Hikaru Nishida, or Shuji Kato. He will also likely have his eyes on Charlie Shinobu Hosokawa, the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion, with that bout being a mouth watering one if it can be made. For Sasaki we really do wonder whether or not his body can hold up for much longer. He has suffered a number of stoppage losses and was involved in a nasty accident out of the ring which left him with an injured leg. He was supposedly 100% fit for this bout, but we do wonder if he will ever be fully fit for a long and arduous contest.
Tomorrow at the Koraken Hall we'll see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (9-0, 9) [竹迫司登] make his first defense of the title, as he takes on former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-6, 6) [佐々木左之介].
Today the two men weighed in for their bout and both fighters made the 160lb limit with no issues.
The champion came in under the limit, at around 159.8lbs, and looked in good shape, but not amazing if we're being honest.
The challenger, who looked a touch flesh himself and was bang on the 160lb divisional limit, though looks like he could have dropped a fair bit of weight had he really had to. It's worth noting that if he wins this would be Sasaki's biggest win since his 2012 title victory over Tadashi Yuba, beginning a short reign that saw him losing the belt in his very next fight to Tomohiro Ebisu.
The bout will be televised live tomorrow on G+ and the winner will be expected to defend the title at the Champion Carnival in early 2019, against either former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] or Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], who clash in an eliminator later this month.
Related - Takesako's first defense sees him takes on former champion!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year Kazuto Takesako (9-0, 9) [竹迫司登] claimed the Japanese Middleweight title, as he destroyed the durable Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] way back in May. That win, at the Champion Carnival home, was thoroughly impressive though sadly for Takesako it left him struggling to find reasonable domestic challengers.
Last time out Takesako fought a stay busy fight, defeating the tough Chaiwat Mueanphong in 7 rounds back in June, a bout caused by the lack of suitable domestic challengers.
Thankfully a challenger has now been found, and is willing, to take on the destructive Takesako.
On November 3rd, as part of a Dynamic Glove card at the Korakuen Hall, Takesako will face former champion Sanosuke Sasaki(12-6, 6) [佐々木左之介].
Sadly whilst Sasaki is willing to face Takesako, there perhaps is a lack of competitiveness here. Takesako has looked sensational since his 2015 debut, taking out all 9 opponents in just 21 rounds. Sasaki on the other hand has lost 6 of his last 7, and been stopped in 5 of those defeats, suggesting his best days are behind him.
Although it's nice to see Takesako defending his title it would be a surprise if Sasaki manages to last more than a few rounds.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall. The card wasn't a big one, but did feature several small stories worthy of note.
One of those was thre retirement ceremony of former OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Makoto Fuchigami (23-12, 13) [淵上 誠]. The well liked fighter from the Hachioji Nakaya gym is of course best known for losing to Gennady Golovkin in a WBA world title fight though was a popular fighter on the Japanese scene and retired in the wake of his thrilling loss to Tomohiro Ebisu at the end of 2016.
As well as the retirement ceremony of the former world title there was also a potentially career saving win for another former Japanese Middleweight champion, Sanosuke Sasaki (12-6, 6) [佐々木左之介] scoring a 3rd round win over Hisao Narita (12-6, 6) [成田永生]. On paper this looked a 50-50 fight, but going into it Sasaki was really fighting for his career following 5 straight losses, and 3 successive stoppage losses. In fact coming in to this Sasaki hadn't scored a win since stopping Tadashi Yuba way back in October 2012 for the Japanese crown Sadly for Narita the loss ends a 3 fight winning streak, and completely destroys his hope of getting a title fight any time soon.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and those with Boxingraise, had the chance to see former Japanese champions trading blows in an entertaining battle, which ended in rather peculiar fashion.
The bout in question saw former Japanese Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) [新藤 寛之] over-come former Japanese Middleweight champion Sanosuke Sasaki (11-5, 5) [佐々木左之介] in a bout fought at Light Middleweight.
Early on it was clear that the two men had styles that were going to pose for some interesting moments, with Sasaki trying to apply pressure and use his heavier hands to hurt Shindo, who used his longer frame and speed to try and out box Sasaki.
Through much of the opening round it was Shindo with the upper hand, landing counter straight left hands. In the second round Shindo's confidence began to grow but that cost him in round 3 when Sasaki had some momentary success before hurting Shindo, and soon afterwards dropping him with a left hook. The knockdown set Sasaki into action and he did everything to try land a big right hand, but kept missing as Shindo saw out the end of the round.
Sadly for Sasaki that was his only real chance and Shindo slowly began to break him down in rounds 4, 5 and 6 before Sasaki was stopped by his corner early into round 7.
The timing of the stoppage seemed odd, with Sasaki looking in no major stress, but it seemed like his team felt he had taken enough. Sadly their intervention lead to his 5th straight loss, and his 4th stoppage loss in those 5 bouts, with the Watanabe gym fighter now more than 4 years removed from his last victory. For Shindo the plan now is to move towards a Japanese title fight at 154lbs and attempt to become a 2-weight Japanese champion.
(Image courtest of boxmob.jp)
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