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Japanese welterweight champion Keita Obara of Misako Boxing Gym will defend his title against sixth-ranked Shoki Sakai of Yokohama Hikari Boxing Gym on Apr. 8 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall, Misako Promotion Inc. said on Feb. 24.
It will be the 34-year-old Obara’s first defense of the title he captured from Yuki Nagano of Teiken Gym via a technical knockout in February last year.
With the upcoming fight as a launching pad, Obara, currently ranked fifth by the International Boxing Federation, will aim at challenging a world title again.
He suffered a technical knockout loss to then IBF super lightweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky of Russia in September 2016. Obara also failed to get the right to challenge the IBF welterweight title as he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Kudratillo Abdukakhorov of Uzbekistan in March 2019.
As for the 30-year-old Sakai, who made his debut in Mexico and fought most of his bouts in the country or in the United States, returned to Japan last year and fought two bouts in Tokyo, winning both of them.
Obara has a record of 23 wins, including 21 KOs, against four losses and a draw, while Sakai has a 25-11-2 win-loss-draw tally with 13 KOs.
An eight-round lightweight bout between Go Hosaka of Misako gym and Kanta Fukui of Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club will serve as a semifinal. Hosaka, a former high-school amateur champion, made his professional debut in the Philippines, winning four straight fights, including three KOs.
Up to 700 spectators will be allowed in, according to the Misako Promotion.