by Joe Koizumi

Mar. 8, 1998 YOKOHAMA, JAPAN--Yokohama Arena--The WBC #3 ranked lightweight contender Hiroyuki Sakamoto, 136, proved too strong for Filipino Jun Mondonedo, 134, as he sank him with a single body shot at 2:57 of the first round in a scheduled 10.

Sakamoto failed to win the WBC light throne, losing a split but well-received decision to Steve Johnston at the same Yokohama Arena last July. He defeated ex-Korean champ Jungjin Noh by a lopsided nod also in Yokohama last Nov. Sakamoto, a powerful swinger, must correct his rough style, if he is still gunning for a rematch with such an elusive Whitaker stylist as Johnston.

But we could not appreciate his improvement, as the affair ended too quickly. Sakamoto raised his mark to 29-2, 20 KOs. It was Mondonedo's 5th defeat in as many bouts here in Japan. Upcoming bantam prospect Toshiaki Nishioka, 120, dropped Mexican Jose Julio Cardona, also 120, with a solid southpaw left--twice in the first and once more in the 2nd--but failed to finish the clever and tricky hombre, as Cardona repeated hitting low on so many occasions as to prompt the referee Kazunobu Asao's disqualification at 2:58 of the 5th in a supporting 10.

Cardona was sly enough to repeat low blows seemingly on purpose to avoid a KO defeat despite being penalized a point in the 3rd, 4th and 5th. Nishioka, 13-2-1, 6 KOs, showed his improvement, and he can punch harder than his credentials indicate.

Promoter: Teiken Promotions.

Mar. 7

TOKAI CITY, JAPAN--Tokai Municipal Gymnasium--African import Isaac Sentuwa, 123 1/2, utilized his lefty style, and chalked up a fine TKO victory over Filipino Joel Junio, 121 1/4, at 0:24 of the 4th canto in a scheduled 10. Sentuwa, who belongs to Midori Gym, upped his mark to 4-0, 3 KOs.

Japanese prospect Hayato Asai, 114, caught Filipino Pinoy Montejo, 113 1/2, with his faster combinations and scored a quick KO win at 0:29 of the 3rd session in another 10. Asai is still unbeaten with a 9-0-2, 8 KOs mark.

Promoter: Midori Promotions.

-- Joe Koizumi
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