Bright prospect Yuta Sakai decks pro debut

Sakai Debut02 1

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Who is the next Japanese star-to-be following the footstep of “Monster” Naoya Inoue? This reporter declines to describe a well-worn word “genius” to any bright prospect. How can we predict this boy would be world champ or superstar? Yours truly, however, repent of my failure to report Monster Inoue’s pro debut in detail in 2012? Twelve years later a very bright prospect successfully made a professional debut on Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan. Hi manager, promoter and ex-world champ Hideyuki Ohashi had exaggeratedly emphasized remarkable talents of Yuta Sakai (1-0, 1 KO), 117.75, who this night scored a very impressive victory over Korean #3 super bantam Ji-Yong Kim (3-2-1, 1 KO), 117.75, at 1:20 of the second round in a scheduled six.

Formerly seven-time national amateur titlist Sakai, 19, had won the gold medal in the world youth championship in 2022. His amateur mark was so good as 50-2, 7 stoppages. Sakai quickly floored Kim with a southpaw right hook in round one, and swarmed over him with a fusillade of punches in the second with a towel fluttering in from the loser’s corner. Yuta Sakai is rather tall as a bantamweight at 5’8”, fast-punching and quick-moving with seemingly splendid reflexes. He may be worth watching.

Promoter: Ohashi Promotions.


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    • At the moment? Yes!!

      The country top of the pile with the most boxing world champions in history is the United States. Perched on their crown well above the next pretender, the US boasts a royal 466 champions in the sport, including former greats such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, as well as current stars Caleb Plant, Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence Jr.

      Mexico is the country second on the list, still a whopping 302 champs behind the States, with 164 world champions. The North American country has a proud boxing heritage and a strong track record of producing world-class fighters. Current middleweight champion, Canelo Álvarez is best placed of Mexico’s current crop to emulate former greats Julio Cesar Chavez and Salvador Sanchez, who won world titles at super-featherweight and featherweight level, respectively.

      The only other country’s with over 100 individual world champions is the United Kingdom(113) or so and Japan (100).Former British world champions include Lennox Lewis, Chris Eubank Sr., who held WBO middleweight and super-middleweight titles during the 1990s, and Ricky Hatton who won titles at light-welterweight and welterweight level.

    • True but partly because of so many extra divisions created for the lighter weights.

  • There should be swabs done on the sushi ! Must be something in the water! So many extraordinary performances coming out of Japan of late!
    Na just joking. The Japanese are honourable people and the successes come from dedication and hard work and whatever else works

  • Japan has great trainers that have studied the American style of boxing . These trainers have added their own improvements and that has resulted in an outstanding list of current boxers. Their lads are also always in shape. Would not be surprised to see young American boxers relocate to Japan to train.

  • Mr. Koizumi, if you predict greatness for Sakai, we have to take your word for it. After seeing so many great fighters throughout your career, it should be easy. Sakai started off his career with a stoppage win which is usually a good start. His style will translate better in the pros and he should do well as long as he stays disciplined.

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