By Joe Koizumi
WBA super-feather champ Juan Carlos Salgado (22-0-1, 16 KOs) arrived in Tokyo, Japan today (Saturday) prior to his initial defense with also unbeaten Japanese Takashi Uchiyama (13-0, 10 KOs) on January 11 (our national holiday of Coming-of-Age Day; the second Monday of January). Having astoundingly upset and dethroned previously unbeaten Jorge Linares, a Japan-based Venezuelan, via first-round TKO on October 10, the 25-year-old tall and lanky Mexican came back to defend his newly acquired belt at the Tokyo Big Site. This reporter served as interpreter on behalf of our press people who sacrificed the New Year holidays, and the interview to Salgado, the modest-speaking young man, was as follows:
How do you feel, coming back to Japan after your coronation?
I’m happy to make my first defense here at this memorable place.
Have you seen some tapes of Uchiyama? What do you think of your challenger?
He is a good boxer and hard-puncher with considerable skills. I don’t take him lightly, and the winner will be me.
It is cold in Japan. How this climate affect your condition?
I don’t care about it at all, as my training place Toluca, sometimes snowing, was as cold as here.
You scored a sensational first-round stoppage of the highly-regarded Linares last October. Was it a lucky punch or a planned shot?
I trained and honed that punch, so it wasn’t just a fortunate punch.
What has changed you after winning the world belt?
I’ve become more confident and stronger physically, mentally and spiritually through my harder training since then.
Was there a big celebration at your place after coming home?
Yes, people warmly welcomed me as the new world champ.
What fight do you expect this time?
It may be a tough fight as Uchiyama is a strong boxer, but I will keep my belt and bring it back to Mexico.
By a first round knockout again? Our television doesn’t like it.
No, it may be longer than the first round, but I’ll try to win with my best effort.
Good luck (Buena suerte).
De nada (Not at all).
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Salgado is such a nice and humble young man that you cannot help falling in love with, if you are a girl.