Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Germany versus Japan for a 160-pound Belt

WBA belt-holder Felix Sturm (left) and Japanese challenger Koji Sato will duel on Saturday night in Krefeld, Germany.

WBA Middleweight titlist Felix Sturm and Japan's Koji Sato will meet each other on Saturday night in what will be the busiest weekend of 2009 for world title fights.

Sturm, a 3-time 160-pound titlist (31-2-1, 13 knockouts) takes on Sato (14-0, 13 knockouts) on Sturm's home turf in Krefeld, Germany. Sturm is a previous WBO Middleweight belt-holder best known for being on the wrong end of a very bad decision against Oscar de la Hoya in 2004.

Sturm is hoping to make the sixth successful defense in his second reign as the WBA titlist. Sato, 28, is an unknown commodity, even to the closest followers of the sport. He made his pro debut in Las Vegas four years ago and has since fought all of his subsequent bouts in his home country of Japan.

The fight is receiving no media attention in the United States, but in boxing-crazed Germany the fight card has already sold over 8,000 advance tickets.

The Sturm-Sato fight is the headliner of Universum's “Champions Night” which will also see reigning WBO Super middleweight titlist Karoly Balzay tackle former WBA Middleweight belt-holder Maselino Masoe who is now 42 years-old.

Sato made big news last weekend when he appeared on German television and proclaimed that he was planning on knocking Sturm out in the first round. However, when the two appeared together at a press conference on Monday, Sato backed down from his prior comment.

Sturm is a popular and active fighter - but he has avoided big-name opposition in favor of fighting second and third tier opposition while rarely straying from home.

“I did say that I was going to knock him out in the first round, but I do have respect for the champion,” said Sato who now appears very thin compared to what he looked like when the bout was first announced.

“I realize that I'm the outsider in this country and I'd like to say 'I'm sorry' and that I meant no disrespect. It's a very great honor for me to be fighting here in Germany. I want to put on a good show for the German fans and Sturm is a great ambassador for your country.”

At 5'11” in height, Sato is an aggressive, busy, straight-up boxer with little speed and he is very basic in his mechanics. However, he does have some pop in his wide punches and he likes to dig to the body with a left hook that is actually a fairly decent punch for him. He also has a functional left jab, but he only throws the punch one at a time.

The vastly more experienced Sturm, 30, is a massive betting favorite to retain his title, most likely by decision over Sato who has boxed less than 40 complete rounds as a professional.

For those that would like to see more of Sato, you can check him out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sb_5b-lie4

April 2009

1 comment:

cool-jupiter said...

Thank you very much for your permission to translate. I posted the translated version onto my blog at ttp://blog.goo.ne.jp/cool-jupiter/ - put h before ttp to refer to it. I'll make sure I make it a habit to drop in on this blog. Keep us informed and updated.