Recently we've covered quite a few fights that are well known in the West in this series. This week however we're looking at one that Western fans probably aren't too familiar with, and one that certainly didn't get mentioned in the "End of Year" awards from Western media. Despite that it was an amazing bout that pitted a rising and popular Japanese fighter against an unbeaten American world champion, and was an instant classic.
Osamu Sato (24-1-1, 12) Vs Willie Jorrin (28-0, 12)
Coming in to the bout the unbeaten Willie Jorrin was seeking his second defense of the WBC Super Bantamweight title. He had won the belt in the UK, beating Michael Brodie for the belt in Manchester, and then returned to the US for his first defense, against Oscar Larios, in what was a rather fun to watch bout. He then jetted off to Japan to face to face once beaten "Hulk" Osamu Sato. More about Sato in a moment. Aged 32 at this point Jorrin's prime was gone but he was still a talent, and with his unbeaten record and world title he wasn't just travelling over to Japan to lose. He was their to collect his paycheck, keep his title and beat up the local star whilst remaining unbeaten and building towards bigger bout down the line.
Managed by Kyoei Sato had rebounded well from an early career set back He had lost in his 5th professional bout and was once 7-1-1 (3) but had reeled off 17 straight wins over the previous 4 years to get himself in the world title mix. Not only had he been in good form but at 25 years old he was coming into his physical peak. Just 10 months before facing Jorrin Sato had won the OPBF title title, and had defended it once by the time Kyoei had put up the money to bring Jorrin to Japan. Despite his winning run there was little knowledge of Sato outside of Japan, and his biggest win was probably over Korean Yong In Jo, the man he took the OPBF title from, or the very shop worn Yasushi Araia, a former Japanese national champion who had lost 3 successive bouts before facing Sato.
The bout started with Jorrin boxing on the back foot and Sato pressuring, making for a nice meshing of styles with Jorrin turning the tables occasionally and backing up the local. The power of Jorrin, whilst not destructive, was enough to get Sato's respect whilst Sato himself struggled to close the distance and impose his fight, despite the pressure.
In round 3 things went from bad to worse for Sato, who was dropped twice by Jorrin. These knockdowns weren't hard knockdowns with Sato getting up quickly from both, but they killed the momentum he seemed to have built earlier in the round.
Finding himself in a hole Sato knew he had to turn it around, and he looked to do that immediately, pressing hard in round 4 and dragging Jorrin into a war. From here on the bout became a brutal, hard, damaging and punishing battle of attrition. The two men spent long sequences trading blows on the inside and gets fans on to the edge of their seats, and it was here that Sato's power and aggression could turn the fight around.
We won't ruin the full fight, but this was a real hidden gem, with an edge of controversy, and showed that both were world class fighters, with round 12 worthy viewing for any fan! That was brutally entertaining and beautifully violent.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features