By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unheralded and untested prospect Ryo Sagawa (8-1, 4 KOs), 126, acquired the vacant Japanese featherweight title when he upset WBC#10/IBF#6/WBO AP#1/JBC#1 Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9 KOs), 125.75, by a hairline but unanimous nod (96-95, 96-94 twice) over ten uneventful rounds on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
Abe had entered the international top ten thanks to his unexpected victory over world-rated three-time world challenger Satoshi Hosono, and was regarded as a bright simon-pure since, but he revealed not good at coping with the taller speedster who also upset former world challenger Ryo Matsumoto via surprising stoppage months ago. Sagawa, with a good amateur experience, maintained the pressure to the shorter and nervous southpaw, piling up points by a slight margin. Abe, previously a slick-punching speedster, turned loose in the tenth and final session, but it was too late to overcome his early deficits on points. Now Misako Gym boasts of five national champions simultaneously.