UNDERDOG NAKATANI UPSETS KATO TO WIN OPBF 135LB BELT


January 12, 2014

TOKYO, JAPAN

Who is the best photographer among active boxers? Within this reporterfs limited knowledge, the champion is Nonito Donaire who often take pictures in Top Rank shows and whose photographs are excellent enough. The top contender is the OPBF lightweight champ Yoshitaka Kato, a shaven skulled Japanese who makes it a rule to take photos of his stablemates at the ringside in Kadoebi Jewel Promotionsf shows. His good pics of the fight scene are usually seen in the Promotionsf website.

The defending champ, WBC/WBO#10 ranked Kato (26-5-1, 7 KOs), 135, lost his OPBF 135-pound belt when unbeaten underdog Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5 KOs), a 5f11h fast-rising prospect from Osaka, defeated him by an upset majority decision (116-112 twice and 114-114) over twelve hard-fought rounds on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. Previously a classmate of the current WBA light-fly champ Kazuto Ioka in Kokoku high school, Nakatani had annihilated Shuhei Tsuchiya, the champfs stablemate then with a good mark of 14-1, 13 KOs, into a shocking and stunning KO defeat in front of the photographer Kato at the ring apron last July. It obviously had such a bad influence on Kato that the champ paid too much respect to Nakatanifs power punching, kept inexplicably defensive and fail to display his trade-mark aggressiveness as usual.

Nakatani, 24 and four inches taller, took the initiative with his opening attack in the first session, when Kato raised his guard high and cautiously probed the younger challengerfs strategy. The champ, making his second defense since acquiring the regional belt via unanimous nod over compatriot and ex-world challenger Motoki Sasaki, began to warm up his engine from the second, but his car was neither Toyota nor Nissan. He wasnft fast, nor powerful tonight. After the fourth, the open scoring system (adopted in OPBF title bouts for years) indicated that Nakatani was leading on points: 39-37 twice and 38-38.

The announcement of the interim tallies motivated Kato to positively throw punches to win a point in round five. Nakatani, hanging the arms low, sustained a cut at the right eyebrow caused by a head collision midway in the sixth that he dominated with his retaliation.

The seventh witnessed a climax of the close affair as the champ, 29, connected with a very well-timed right counter that badly buckled the elongated challengerfs legs with the knees almost sagging to the deck. Unfortunate for Kato was that there were only tens of seconds remaining to make it possible for him to follow up, finish it and bring home the bacon. The bell came to his rescue. Kato, in the next eighth, looked too nervous to hurt the still shaky and damaged challenger only to miss plenty of solid rights to the taller target. After the eighth, the tallies were perfectly identical: 77-75 for Nakatani.

Boxing is a very mental game. If you are told you are winning when tired, the message, that is, the interim scores may encourage and revive you without doubt. If you, on the contrary, are told you are losing, what will you react? The tally of 77-75 after the eighth means that the champ has to win three points to one to have it 114-114 in order to retain his belt by a draw. Should the champ sweep all the last four, he (Kato) may win by a decision of 115-113. You need not win all the remaining four rounds but only three?to keep your belt.

Kato, however, became understandably but ill-advisedly flustered as he was behind on points and couldnft connect with his left-right combos with precision, repeatedly missing big rights to the fading challenger. Nakatani, also too much eager to win the belt, swung round-house blows?more than the champfs attacks?having punches sail through empty air each other. But it was Nakatani whose eyebrows were in crimson due to frequently accidental butts that was in command with his incessant combinations in the twelfth and final stanza.

With more precision in later rounds Kato might have kept his OPBF belt. He often returned to his corner after rounds, raising his hand to indicate gI won this round.h This reporter, not a Kato fan but a neutral witness, was worried about his misunderstanding of the proceedings, murmuring gNo, this wasnft your round.h Should he have kept his cool in the last four sessions, he could have retained his regional belt by taking only three rounds, not all the four. There will be some pictures of this fight to be upped in the web page of Kadoebi Jewel Promotions. They might not be as good as ones taken by the photographer Kato, who may have realized that boxing is more difficult than taking pictures at the ringside. Tonight Kato didnft possess such fine precision as his favorite digital camera of Nikon, Canon or Sony.

Undercard:

Former OPBF 122-pound champ, WBC#17 Yukinori Oguni (12-1, 3 KOs), 125, was awarded a TKO victory as he lopsidedly kept battering a negative peek-a-boo stylist Yuki Fujimoto (7-3-1, 2 KOs), 125, at 1:20 of the eighth round in a scheduled ten. Oguni, a talented counterpuncher, forfeited his OPBF belt to unheralded challenger Shingo Wake via upset TKO loss last year, and his first defeat eventually caused his move to Kadoebi Jewel Gym in Tokyo from Vady Gym in Kobe. Oguni decked his second bout after being traded to his second gym, where he may rebound this year.

(1-11-2014)


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