|Yota Sato Interview: “I have the confidence to beat all of the super flyweight champions”
By Anson Wainwright, MaxBoxing (June 20, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Sumio Yamada)
In an era
when many of fighters are treated like stars long before they achieve anything
noteworthy, it’s good to see we still have fighters who do things the old-fashioned
way. This is certainly the case for Japan’s Yota Sato, who earned his world
title shot the hard way by first winning and then defending his Japanese
national title five times. Of those defences, he tested himself and gained
valuable seasoning from the likes of former world title challengers Daigo
Nakahiro and Kohei Kono as well as an eye-opening fourth round stoppage over previously
unbeaten Kenji Oba. Sato knew he was ready when the opportunity arose to meet
WBC super flyweight champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai at the famous Korakuen Hall,
Tokyo at the end of March. Eagerly awaited and widely viewed as a 50/50 match-up,
it was hotly contested throughout with Sato winning a close but well deserved
unanimous decision by scores of 116-110 and 114-112 twice, with the big
difference being two knockdowns in the third frame. The 28-year-old raised his
record to 24-2-1 (12) with the victory (his last loss was nearly seven years
ago). He’s wasting little time and will return on 8 July when he meets Filipino
Wainwright - Can you tell us about the fight with Suriyan Sor Rungvisai?
Yota Sato - That was the toughest fight ever. I don’t remember some parts of
AW - How has winning
the title changed your life?
YS - It gets busy but basically, don’t change anything.
AW - What does it mean
to you to be a world champion?
YS - It’s means a lot to me! I’ve dreamed to become a world champion since I
was kid, so I would like to keep this title as long as possible.
AW - You have to fight
Sylvester Lopez in your first title defence. Do you know any details about the
fight? What do you think of him as a fighter?
YS - Yes, it will be held in Yokohama, Japan on July 8. Lopez has very strong
punches, especially [his] left hook.
AW - Who are the
members of your team? How long have you been with them and how did you meet
YS - My promoter and manager is Mr. Keiichiro Kanehira. My trainer is Mr. Shiro
Arai; we’ve been together for 10 years so far. When I turned pro, I moved to Tokyo
and visited their gym.
AW - Where do you regularly
train? What other fighters do you train with and what is a usual day in
training for you?
YS - I’m training at Kyoei Gym with OPBF and Japan welterweight champion
Akinori Watanabe. I work in the morning at gas station and run in the afternoon
and then go to the gym at nighttime.
AW - Could you tell us about your younger days growing up in Morioka, Iwate,
Japan and how you first became interested in boxing?
YS - I always skateboarded when I was kid. Actually, I still do it very often.
I became interested in boxing because of Mike Tyson! His fights excited me a
AW - Could you tell us
about yourself as a person, your family life and what you enjoy doing in your
YS - I’m a very outgoing person. I like talking with people! I have two kids
and a very supportive wife. I enjoy spending time with them.
AW - You come from the
same area in Japan where the earthquake hit last year. Can you tell us about
this and how it affected you and your family? Have you done any charity work or
anything to raise awareness that we can mention?
YS - My city did not have much damage, so it does not affect my family. I’m
planning to go to Iwate next month and do some charity work, such as teaching
boxing to kids.
AW - Now that you are a
world champion, what other goals do you have in boxing?
YS - I want to unify four major titles! I always want to fight with strong
AW - What are your
thoughts and comments on the super flyweight division? What do you think of the
other current champions like the WBA’s Tepparith [Kokietgym] Singwancha, the IBF’s
Juan Carlos Sanchez and the WBO’s Omar Narvaez? What did you think of Tepparith’s
recent win over Tomonobu Shimizu?
YS - They are very strong fighters! I respect them as a fighter but I have the
confidence to beat all of them.
AW - What boxers did
you look up to when you were growing up? Who do you like to watch today?
YS - I looked up to Mike Tyson! He was one of the best fighters! I like to watch
Russian boxer Alexander Bakhtin. He used to belong to Kyoei Promotion and train
with me. He has perfect defence skill! I’d like to fight just like him.
AW – Finally, do you
have a message for the boxing world?
YS - Manny Pacquiao proved to the world Filipino fighters can fight, so I would
like to prove Japanese fighters also can fight!!
This article provided to DoghouseBoxing.com by © MaxBoxing.com
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