Japanese Fight Scene: Three World Title Matches in July
By: Masatoshi Ueda- Boxingmobile Japan
Three world title matches are lined up to take place in July.
WBC super flyweight champion Yota Sato will be defending his title, which he won in his last bout in March of 2012. Undefeated WBA super featherweight champ Takashi Uchiyama will also be defending his title for the fifth time, and Toshiyuki Igarashi will be fighting for his first title match against the WBC flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro on the undercard.
But before we get to the fights to look out for in Japan, let me update you on Kazuto Ioka, who unified the WBA & WBC minimum titles on June 20th against Akira Yaegashi.
Ioka moving up to 108
Kazuto Ioka (10-0,6KOs) and Akira Yaegashi (15-3,8KOs) made history in Japanese boxing on June 20th, when the first ever unification fight featuring two Japanese fighters took place in Osaka, Japan. It was one of the best fights in recent history, and will probably be the hot favorite for “Fight of the Year” for Japanese boxing, if not for world boxing. Ioka ended up winning by unanimous decision, but the fight was close, with both fighters giving everything they had in the ring, If Yaegashi’s left eye wasn’t swollen from the early rounds, the fight could have gone either way.
After winning both titles, Ioka has already relinquished the WBC belt and is scheduled to give up his WBA belt to move up to 108. Ioka has stated in a recent interview with BOXINGMOBILE JAPAN, “I can still defend my titles at 105, but my goal is to be a 4 division champion. I feel this is the best time for me to move up to 108”
Sato ready for his first title defence
Yota Sato (24-2-1,12KOs) will be defending his WBC super flyweight title on July 8th against Sylvester Lopez (19-3-1,15KOs) from the Philippines in Yokohama, Japan. Sato still has a lot to prove to be a true champion not only in Japan, but to the world as well. Out of the seven Japanese champions, his name is only known to the hardcore fans.
The day after he won the belt from Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (20-5-1,7KOs) last March, Sato was stopped and questioned by the police for suspicious behavior.
Sato will have a chance to prove himself and to get positive attention when the fight with Lopez will be broadcast live around the Tokyo area.
Uchiyama to defend title in his hometown
Undefeated WBA super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (18-0,15KOs) is the pound for pound champion for many boxing fans in Japan. He’s worth checking out if you have never heard of him or watched him fight.
Uchiyama, AKA “KO Dynamite,” has won over 80% of his fights by a knock out, and will be making his fifth title defense on July 16th against Filipino challenger Michael Farenas (34-3-3,26KOs) in his hometown of Kasukabe, Saitama. It is very rare to hold an event of this scale in a small venue outside of Tokyo. Toshiyuki Igarashi (15-1-1,10KOs) will be challenging for his first world title against Filipino WBC flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (34-10-5,24KOs) on the undercard.
Uchiyama is the first Japanese fighter to be awarded the KO Award by the WBA when he knocked Jorge Solis of Mexico out cold last New Year’s Eve while successfully retaining his super featherweight title on his fourth defense. Uchiyama has showed impact every time he steps in the ring, winning the hearts of many boxing fans in Japan. After he gets past Farenas, he hopes to fight fellow Japanese WBC champion Takahiro Aoh for an unification title bout.
Uchiyama has also mentioned he would like to face WBO champion Adrien Broner someday in the future, for he and Broner have a similar build and career record, and he feels it will be an exciting fight if they ever met in the ring.
Igarashi is an elite former Olympian participated in the Athens Olympics in 2004. He was aiming to fight Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the title after winning the elimination fight against Wilbert Uicab of Mexico last November. Hard puncher Sonny Boy Jaro beat the odds by winning the title from Wonjongkam by TKO in March, forced Igarashi to fight Jaro on July 16th.