By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Long campaigning in Mexico for ten years, Japanese puncher Shoki Sakai (24-11-2, 13 KOs), 146.5, made his debut in his native country and scored his first victory here over JBC#7 welter Hironori Shigeta (6-2-1, 3 KOs), 146.25, by a unanimous decision (all 78-74) over eight give-and-take rounds on Monday in Tokyo, Japan.
Sakai, 29, had been fighting under the tutelage of veteran Mexican trainer Nacho Beristein since 2010 in Mexico and US, and came home to fight his first here. The taller southpaw Shigeta, also 29, took the initiative in the first two rounds, but Sakai began to display his retaliation in the third and accelerated his attack as the contest progressed. Sakai kept on outhustling the fading foe and overcame his early deficits on points. His aggressive style as well as his durability with no KO or TKO defeats in his mark may have him such a crowd-pleaser here as in Mexico.
Promoter: Hachioji Nakaya Promotions in association with Yokohama Hikari Promotions (at the Shinjuku Face).