Suzuki defeats Saito, wins Japanese 118lb belt

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

The new champion’s face looked like a loser rather than a victor—with the grotesquely swollen cheek. Top ranked Yusuke Suzuki (11-4, 7 KOs), 117.75, captured the Japanese national bantamweight belt as he made a good start, swept the first three sessions with ease, withstood furious retaliations of defending champ Yuta Saito (12-10-3, 9 KOs), 117.75, and showed his surge in later rounds, winning a unanimously verdict (all 97-93) over gory and give-and-take ten on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
It was the second title go of a triple main event, and the prefight favorite Saito revealed that he wasn’t so good at coping with the southpaw challenger, who had the upper hand nearly throughout the contest.

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