WBA#9 unbeaten Kanamu Sakama, 20, passes


By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

This reporter have covered Japanese boxing scene for sixty years, but have never heard such a pitiful and pathetic tragedy. WBA#9, IBF#11, WBC#15 unbeaten light flyweight prospect Kanamu Sakama, only 20, passed away this Sunday, the weigh-in day of his scheduled bout to defend his Japanese youth 108-pound belt against Hyuga Oki on the undercard of the OPBF, WBO AP 154-pound title bout at the Korakuen Hall yesterday. Sakama (9-0, 8 KOs) is said to have committed suicide as he couldn’t make good condition to fight and had his bout cancelled, of which he might have too seriously felt guilty. Even if responsible for this cancellation, Kanamu need not punish himself by such an incomprehensible way. Still young, he could have re-established his career despite a single default.

Sakama was a sort of genius by all means. At the second grade of elementary school he started to learn kick-boxing and at the fourth grade he turned to amateur boxing. Kanamu, in 2014, acquired the championship in the national U-15 (under fifteen years of age) tournaments to his credit. Turning professional in 2021, at the age of eighteen, he quickly scored four consecutive stoppages to have ringsiders watch his talent and progress thereafter. In July of the previous year Sakama won the vacant national youth 108-pound belt by scoring a fine TKO victory over Ryu Horikawa in the eighth and final round. His last fight of life resulted in a fifth round stoppage of hard-punching Filipino John Paul Gabunilas on the undercard of the “Monster” Inoue-Tapales undisputed unification bout on December 26. Out of the preliminary prospects of that night not only Kazuki Anaguchi but also Kanamu Sakama thus unfortunately lost their young lives. Our deepest sorrow is beyond description.

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  • Devastating news. There was no reason to go that far. There never is. We don’t know what personal struggles he had been going through and for how long. My condolences to his family, his team and his friends. At 20, he was still a baby in life.

    By the way, Mr. Joe Koizumi, thank you for your long dedication to covering the sport of boxing. 60 years is no easy task to match. Congratulations.

  • Shocking and pathetic to take your life at such a young age because of something so simple. May he rest in peace and may Hod comfort his family and loved ones…

  • This is heartbreaking. So senseless. May he rest in peace. If you’re reading this and struggling, remember that suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem. Even if in the moment you may feel hopeless, that feeling will pass. Talk to someone. That’s a show strength and there is nothing to lose by asking for help.

  • Rest I n peace young man. @Pantera Nery, this young man took his life because he couldn’t make weight which is terrible…

  • – Suicide is no joke.
    – You may want to take yourself out to ease your pain, but the pain that others feel lasts their lifetimes.
    – Additionally, there are people in your life that need you. If not now, maybe in the near future.
    – I am a two-time attempted suicide survivor, and I have learned these lessons.
    – There will be no 3rd attempt for me, as I am now mentally in a much better situation.

    • – Most people that commit suicide do not show outward signs that they are having mental issues.
      – This is a big reason why people are surprised when someone they know takes themselves out of the game…..

  • Terrible news, had so much to live for. Surely there is something else other then not making weight, how many other fighters miss might and couldn’t care less

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