We may now be in 2020 but the 2019 Treasure Trove continues to roll on into a new year and we have another hidden gem from the year to share with you guys!
Whilst the rise of the WBO Asia Pacific title has been something of a frustration in some ways, splitting the title level fighters for the regional scene in 2, it's also managed to deliver some solid bouts of it's own, including today's Treasure Trove bout from October.
Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) vs Naoki Mochizuki (16-4, 8) II
In December 2016 Naoki Mochizuki easily out boxed Yusuke Sakashita. Following that bout the two men had seen their careers go in rather different directions, with Sakashita having a solid run of form, and claiming the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title, whilst Mochizuki had seen his career begin to falter. Despite their careers heading in opposite directions the feeling was that the two men would make for a very interesting and competitive bout.
Although neither man is a big name, but are usually quite fun guys to watch, despite their limitations.
Sakashita is a solid boxer-puncher, with genuinely damaging power, but a rough around the edge style. His shots are naturally heavy and it makes up for him being technically slow and not a very crisp puncher. He had won the WBO Asia Pacific title earlier in the year, when he pretty much broke up Masahiro Sakashita's face, but this was about more than the title. This was about revenge and a chance to get back at Mochizuki for their 2016 bout.
On the other hand Mochizuki lacked power, but always came to fight. We'd had seen him take punishment in early bouts in his career, but he was up for this. He knew he could out box and out fight Sakashita, he had the speed and the combinations to to defeat the champion and the belief to carry out his game plan and make Sakashita pay for his technical flaws. He would have gone in knowing this wasn't going to be easy, but that he had the tools to take the win, and the regional title.
The bout really began with Mochizuki's boxing, balance, timing and footwork winning out. There wasn't a lot of explosive moments, but there was enough to enjoy the early rounds, with Sakashita seeming to be hurt a number of times, and having a huge swelling on his head. As the rounds went on the pace from Sakashita increased and we began to get more and more and forth action. It wasn't always pretty but it was growing into something bigger, better and more exciting, with both taking turns to come forward, landing on the other and the success of both growing.
We won't ruin this, but the later rounds really ended up getting wild, earning the bout it's seal of approval as a genuine Treasure Trove fight.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.