Earlier this year we saw Satoru Sugita (12-3-4, 7) [杉田 聖] put up a solid effort in a losing performance to Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa. Today Sugita booked his second chance at a Japanese title as he over-came veteran Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-14-5, 2) [東上 剛司] in a Strongest Korakuen bout and made himself the mandatory challenger for the domestic title.
The 26 year old Sugita had been favoured over the 36 year old Tojo, but going in Tojo seemed to be aware that this was it, and that if he lost then his career was essentially over. Know thta Tojo wasn't going to roll over for Sugita, and it showed, with the veteran with Tojo tryign to force the action and the fight on to the more talented and quicker Sugita. Sugita started well, using his speed to neutralise the pressure of Tojo, but Tojo did manage to get inside and press the action and at times he managed to draw Sugita into his type of fight.
Sadly whilst Tojo did have success at times they were only limited moments with much of his pressure being ineffective and simply too slow to give Sugita too many problems, and come the final bell there was no argument that Sugita had deserved the decision, with all 3 judges scoring the boat 78-74 to the the younger man.
Although it's unclear who Sugita will fight for the title, with Ogawa set to defend his title against Rikki Naito later in the year, he does seem confident of claiming the title and a performance like this will do him the world of good given that he was fighting for the first time since his loss to Ogawa.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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