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Friday. January 22. 2021

Saka stops veteran challenger Watanabe, retains Japanese S. featherweight title

Champion Kosuke Saka of Nakazato Boxing Gym decked top-ranked challenger Takuya Watanabe of Dangan Aoki Gym in the sixth round and stopped the challenger in the round in the Japanese super featherweight title match on Jan. 22 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

It was the 28-year-old Saka’s first successful defense of the title he captured from Masaru Sueyoshi in December 2019. He also held the Japanese featherweight crown in April 2017 though he failed in his first title defense.

The end of the technical knockout came 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the round of a scheduled 10-rounder when the 28-year-old Saka severely staggered Watanabe with a devastating right-hand blow to the head and floored the challenger with follow-up punches.

Watanabe’s damage was such that the referee called off the fight without bothering to count.
With the victory, hard-hitting Saka improved his record to 21 wins, including 18 KOs, against five losses.

For his part, the 31-year-old Watanabe, who was former World Boxing Organization Asia-Pacific super featherweight champion, fell to a 37-10-1 win-loss-draw record with 20 KOs.
Saka took the lead until the stoppage with his vaunted left jabs while moving in and out.

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