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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
by Joe Koizumi

October 11, 2000

S lick-punching Takanori Hatakeyama, 135, impressively kept his WBA lightweight belt, as he gamely mixed up with hard-hitting compatriot Hiroyuki Sakamoto, 135, put on a grueling fight and finally caught him with a well-timed right to score a fine KO victory at 0:18 into the 10th round.

Everyone admitted that it was one of the best fights ever seen in Japan. Both contestants exchanged what they had, incessantly swapping punches from the outset to the end.

Scored after the 9th: Jesus Cova (Venezuela) 87-85, Pinit Prayadsab (Thailand) and Ken Morita (Japan) both 88-84, all for Hatakeyama, 24-1-2, 19 KOs. Sakamoto, who absorbed much punishment, dropped to 35-5, 25 KOs. Referee was Masakazu Uchida (Japan).

Sakamoto, a crouching stylist known by his trade-mark left hook with which he had produced many clean knockouts, showed a good start, attacking the champ with fast and solid combinations in the opening canto though he sustained a gash at the left eyebrow caused by the champ's shot. Hatakeyama, who had dethroned Venezuelan Gilberto Serrano on an 8th round demolition last June, didnft utilize his vaunted footwork but responded to his rival's favorite infighting to show his gameness.

Hatakeyama was in command in the third through the 5th as he often scored overhand rights with better precision than Sakamoto who wildly kept punching outside of the champ's tight guard.

Sakamoto, in his 4th crack at the world 135-pound title, turned more aggressive in the 6th, winning a point with a barrage of punches to the champ who began to use his footwork.

The champ, however, took three rounds from the 7th, scoring effective right counters and right crosses to the fading foe. Sakamoto kept fighting back with powerful but less accurate hooks from outside, but obviously absorbed much punishment with the champ's frequent overhand rights.

The fatal 10th saw Hatakeyama land a very solid right and send him sprawling to the deck. A towel came fluttering into the ring from the loser's corner while the referee was still counting against the flattened boxer. (It is registered as a KO here in Japan, when the cornerman tosses in the towel while the referee's counting.)

It must be definitely Japan's Fight of the Year, or Fight of the Decade, since they showed their best in persistently exchanging hot rallies toe-to-toe. What they displayed wasn't only their power, speed and skill, but also their fighting heart that greatly moved all the crowd.


Lefty speedster Kazuhiro Ryuko, 114 3/4, won the vacant OPBF super-fly title when his single southpaw right hook sank Indonesian champ Kid Hamzah, 115, at 0:58 of the second round. Japanese champ Ryuko, 12-1-3, 4 KOs, gained another belt with his fine KO of the highly regarded Indonesian, 22-6-3, 8 KOs.

OPBF #1 ranked minimum Yutaka Niida, 105, dug a wicked body shot to the belly of Filipino Boy Pandeen, 105, and polished him off at 2:09 of the opening canto in a scheduled 8. Niida, Hatakeyama's stablemate, ran his unbeaten mark to 12-0-2, 6 KOs. The Filipino reportedly dipped to 5-2-2, 2 KOs.

Promoter: Kazunori Miyakawa's Yokohama Hikari Promotions in association with Akihiko Honda's Teiken Promotions.

WBA supervisor: Gilberto Jesus Mendoza.

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