By Joe Koizumi
Ex-Japanese national lightweight title challenger Yoshitaka Kato (19-4-1, 5 KOs), 135, eked out a hairline but unanimous verdict (78-77, 77-75 and 78-75) over JBC#7 southpaw Nobuo Maruyama (13-5-1, 4 KOs), 134.5, over eight close rounds on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan.
Kato once failed to win the national throne, losing a unanimous nod to defending champ Akihiro Kondo in December 2009, and surprisingly suffered a third-round TKO loss to Koya Omura and a broken eye socket as well five months later. After a six-month hiatus since Kato seemingly became a different fighter, having lost his previous zip and power. Tonight Kato wasn’t what he used to be only to absorb reckless combinations of the underdog Maruyama in the first half. Kato, in later rounds, turned loose and connected with short rights to the lefty opponent, which carried him to a closest decision.
Promoter: Kadoebi Jewel Promotions.