Earlier today fans in Japan got their first big show of December and, although there was two title fights, in the main event of the evening was a 10-round non-title affair between two of the toughest men in boxing. Not only were the two men involved tough guys but they were both familiar with each other having previously met twice before.
The men involved were former Japanese and OPBF Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (25-5-1, 16), a man who went to the US last year and fought a thriller with Omar Figueroa, and current Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (29-5-1, 9).
The two first met in November 2005 when Arakawa claimed a narrow decision over Kato, when both men were unbeaten. The following year Kato got revenge with a narrow decision of his own against Arakawa. Both of those bouts left debates about who had deserved the win, this time however their was no debate, Kato was the winner.
Arakawa tried to start with his jab and attempted to find his rhythm Kato however found ways to disrupt the attack and timing of "The Baby Faced Sniper" and managed to land the more telling blows, especially in rounds 3 and 4 as Arakawa struggled to get into things. Although Arakawa was struggling to get sustained success he was landing the heavier blows when he did connect and it was that that allowed him to notch up a number of the rounds to keep things looking relatively competitive on the cards, which read 97-94, 97-94 and 96-95, all in favour of Kato.
For Arakawa the future looks some what bleak. This was his 3rd loss in in 4 bouts and his 4th loss in 6 bouts and it seems that he's either found his level or is on the slide. As for Kato it seems his intention it to try and climb the world rankings in 2015 and move towards a world title fight. It could be a while before he gets that opportunity but we suspect he could be a handful for many top guys in the division and could well win a title at some point if he's matched carefully. It's worth noting that this win for Kato allows him to finish the year on a high, a huge change to how he started the year, losing the OPBF title to Masayoshi Nakatani via decision back in January.
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com)
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