January 11, 2014


WBC/WBO#10 ranked OPBF lightweight champ, Japanese tough guy Yoshitaka Kato (26-4-1, 7 KOs) will risk his regional belt against unbeaten hard-punching compatriot Masayoshi Nakatani (6-0, 5 KOs) over twelve sensational rounds today (Saturday) in Tokyo, Japan. The first title bout here in Japan is a good card to be greatly expected by our hardcore aficionados. Nakatani, belonging to Ioka Club along with current WBA 108-pound champ Kazuto Ioka and ex-WBA 105-pound ruler Ryo Miyazaki, is regarded as a very dangerous challenger to the defending titlist Kato, making his second defense after his coronation by defeating compatriot Motoki Sasaki last May.

The still 24-year-old Nakatani, standing 5f11h, has a good amateur experience and stunned the crowd here in Tokyo when he demolished highly expected Shuhei Tsuchiya (then 14-1, 13 KOs), Katofs stablemate, with devastating body shots in three unexpected rounds last July. Nakatani is about four inches taller and can hit harder than the defending champ Kato, 29, who, however, relies on his superior experience with more qualified opponents.

Kato proved his real power by sharing victories with WBC#2 ranked compatriot Nihito Arakawa, whose grueling battle with Omar Figueroa in a quest for the WBC interim lightweight belt was selected third in the category of International Fight of the Year by British Boxing News. The persistent-punching Kato acquired the vacant national 135-pound belt by defeating Takashi Inagaki on points in 2011 and kept it five times to his credit, and also grasped the OPBF championship in addition. He beat WBO rated Filipino Rey Labao in his previous defense thanks to his last surge last October. Should it be a longer game, Kato will have an edge due to his abundant stamina and well-proved durability, but Nakatani will try to make a good start to hurt the champ and take the initiative to look forward to an earlier finish. Time will tell.


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