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Saturday. September 17. 2022

Saka earns come-from-behind TKO over Narai in Japan super featherweight title defense

Hard-hitting Kosuke Saka of Nakazato Yoshitatsu Boxing Gym stopped third-ranked challenger Tsubasa Narai of RK Kamata Boxing Family Gym in an exciting slugfest on Sept. 17 and retained his Japanese super featherweight title on Sept. 17 at Mielparque Hall Osaka.

It was the 30-year-old Saka’s second successful defense of the title he captured by stopping Masaru Sueyoshi of Teiken Boxing Gym in December 2019.

The technical knockout of the scheduled 10-rounder came 55 seconds into the sixth round when Saka unleashed a barrage of combinations to Narai immediately after dropping him with a left uppercut, prompting the referee to stop the fight.

Saka was dropped in the first round with a right hook to the head and suffered another knockdown in the fourth stanza with left and right combinations. But the tenacious champion rallied strongly in the fifth round and floored Narai with a ferocious body shot for a mandatory eight count.

All of the three judges had the 22-year-old Narai ahead on points with each scoring 47-45 for the challenger.

Aware he is behind on points before the sixth round, Saka came forward strongly in the round by throwing his vaunted punches and swarmed all over Narai.

After the fight, Saka said, ‘’I don’t remember the fight well. But I thought this was a must-win fight for the fans rooting for me.’’

Saka vied for the then vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super featherweight title with Yoshimitsu Kimura of Shisei Boxing Gym last December only to lose in a third-round technical knockout.

With the win, Saka improved his record to 22 wins, including 19 KOs, against six losses. For his part, Narai impaired to an 8-2 win-loss tally with seven KOs.

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