We've known for a while now that Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] would be making his Japanese debut on August 31st, following a long career spent in the West, on an A-Sign show. Despite knowing the when and where, Korakuen Hall, there was still a major question mark as to who Sakai would be facing.
After a bit of a wait Sakai's opponent was named yesterday, as being 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀], who will be looking to extend his current 7 fight unbeaten run.
The 29 year old Sakai has fought almost all of his career in Mexico, being one of the few Japanese fighters better known away from home. In recent years he has surfaced in the US as well as Mexico and has mixed with some pretty well known fighters, such as Nery Saguilan, Ashley Theophane, Eddie Gomez, Alexis Rocha and Gor Yeritsyan. Although no world beater Sakai is a really tough fighter who is very under-rated but has struggled recently and is win-less in his last 5.
Shigeta on the other hand has fought all but one bout in Japan, with his only excursion being a draw in South Korea back in 2018. Sadly despite looking good at the 2017 Rookie of the Year he has been relatively inactive, with just a single bout in both 2018 and 2019.
Rather interestingly the card still isn't actually complete and those behind the card are currently searching, quite publicly, for an opponent to face teenage hopeful Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6) [佐々木 尽]. Fingers crossed Sasaki gets an interesting opponent for the date, with the show set to be a great window to expose what a fighter can do in what will be a show that will be streamed for free on Youtube.
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