Sato beats dangerous Filipino
Yota Sato retained his WBC super-flyweight title by beating Sylvester Lopez in Yokohama on Sunday.
The Japanese fighter won by unanimous decision – 118-110, 116-113 and 119-109.
"Lopez is ranked at the top and has 19 wins and 15 KOs. He is really a strong fighter, so I was nervous in the first round. I will fight more aggressively in my next title defence," the 28-year-old Sato said.
"I'm not satisfied with the way I fought today, but I promise I will improve a lot for my next match," he added.
Lopez, from the Philippines, looked passive in the first round, allowing the champion to connect with an array of right hooks. Sato also fired a couple of effective right hooks in the third round and led 40-36, 39-38 and 40-36 after the fourth round.
Sato's combination of left jabs and right hooks lifted him up to 79-73, 78-75, 80-72 at the end of the eighth round.
Lopez became aggressive in the next few rounds but stopped a right to the face in the tenth and a right hook in the 11th, allowing the Japanese to safely keep the lead.
It was Sato's first defence of the title he wrested from Suriyan Sor Rungvisai of Thailand in March, improving his record to 25 wins, including 12 KOs, against two defeats and a draw.
The 24-year-old Lopez’s record was reduced to 19 wins, including 15 KOs, against four defeats and a draw.