By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Japanese welterweight champ Toshio Arikawa (15-4, 13 KOs) returned to action after a long hiatus for a year and unified the national belts by stopping interim titlist Daisuke Sakamoto (14-9-3, 8 KOs) at 1:42 of the fifth session on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Having suffered a first round stoppage at the hand of Sakamoto three years ago, the regular champ Arikawa was once slated to defend his national belt against the grudge rival last April, but his injury prevented him from participating in a rematch and Sakamoto acquired the interim title by outhustling Kamoto Kawasaki on points this June. Arikawa overcame his ring rust and connected with solid rights and body shots to the interim champ, piling up points steadily. The champ, in round five, opened a bad gash over the left eyebrow with a vicious right and so profusely bled that the ref had the cut examined by the ringside physician and then declared a halt.