By Joe Koizumi
WBA flyweight champ Denkaosen Kaowichit (48-1-1, 20 KOs), Thailand, will give a return to ex-titlist Takefumi Sakata (35-5-2, 16 KOs), Japan, in Tokyo on December 31. It was announced by Sakata’s promoter/manager Keiichiro Kanehira of Kyoei Promotions. It is a highly anticipated rematch, as the hard-hitting Thailander dethroned Sakata by a pulverizing one-punch knockout in the second round on the same day of the previous year. Sakata has been very loyal to the WBA, having fought just for the organization’s 112-pound belt without aiming at any other boxing body’s throne.
Kanehira last week went to Thailand to reach an agreement with Denkaosen’s representative Niwat Laosuwanwat, and already submitted the signed contracts to the WBA. For Denkaosen, it will be his third defense since he kept it twice against Hiroyuki Hisataka and Daiki Kameda to his credit.
It may be unique that the contestants face again in a return bout just a year later, but there was a memorable example. Jack Dempsey, The Manassa Mauler, was shamefully knocked out by Jim Flynn in the very first round in Utah on February 13, 1917. It was a story before Dempsey captured the world heavyweight belt by furiously annihilating Jess Willard in 1919. Dempsey was so much willing to avenge his KO defeat, and his manager Jack Kearns once booked him against grudge rival Flynn on the same day next year. Kearns and Dempsey, however, might be so superstitious that they changed the date a day later than the unforgettable February 13. The future champ Dempsey impressively dispatched Flynn in the same first round as he had been defeated to respond to the blemish on his record.
Will Sakata be able to avenge his previous title forfeiture with a same second round knockout over Denkaosen?