April 30, 2014


Formerly world-rated, Japanese lightweight champ Yoshitaka Kato (27-5-1, 8 KOs), 135, successfully kept his national belt as he survived a critical moment in the sixth session and scored a come-from-behind TKO victory over mandatory challenger Yuhei Suzuki (14-4, 11 KOs), 135, at 0:53 of the seventh round on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan. It was a grudge fight since Kato, making his sixth defense, previously defeated Suzuki by a close but unanimous decision in February of the previous year. Kato, a shaven skulled infighter, took the leadoff with his opening attack, while Suzuki, who lately registered three stoppages in a row to show his good form, occasionally fought back with fewer but solid left-right combinations to the champfs face. After the fifth, the interim tallies were: 49-46 twice and 50-45 all for Kato.

The tide almost turned in round six, when Suzuki almost toppled the bewildered champ by a very effective left hook and went for a kill with all what he had. Desperately did Kato grab the aggressive challenger to have a very narrow escape. The crowd thought it was Suzukifs game and he would bring the belt to his place Kobe. The seventh, however, witnessed Katofs eye-catching retaliation and a lethal right cross that had his grudge rival prone face first to the deck. The ref Nakamura immediately declared a halt upon his fall with a thud.

Kato, then the OPBF and national 135-pound titlist, forfeited the regional belt to unbeaten compatriot Masayoshi Nakatani on points this January. As he put only the OPBF belt on the line, he could keep the national throne, which he thus retained with a fine stoppage to regain his once-fallen reputation. Kato, who had shared victories with Nihito Arakawa (who had failed to win the WBC lightweight belt from Omar Figueroa in San Antonio last July), may cope with him in a rubber match, or may get revenge against the current OPBF ruler Nakatani, a hard-hitting six footer.

Promoter: Kadoebi Jewel Promotions.


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