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)
Yota Sato
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 Sylvester Lopez. 
Anson 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 the fight.

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 them?

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 lot!

AW - Could you tell us about yourself as a person, your family life and what you enjoy doing in your spare time?

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 fighters.

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!!

Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.

This article provided to DoghouseBoxing.com by © MaxBoxing.com

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