Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Denkaosan ‘100% confident’ in WBA title match

AFP , TOKYO

Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaowichit said yesterday he had no doubts he would beat World Boxing Association flyweight champion Takefumi Sakata of Japan in a title rematch on New Year’s Eve.

“I am 100 percent confident. I will definitely take home the title,” the top WBA contender said in Tokyo after a physical checkup for the fight in Hiroshima.

“I have trained hard in Thailand. I have built up my power,” said the 32-year-old.

Denkaosan narrowly failed to steal Sakata’s 50.8kg-class title 13 months ago as they fought to a split draw in Saitama outside Tokyo.

“I feel calm this time,” he said. “I have no problem with the [cold] weather in Japan.”

In their last bout, Sakata survived an early knockdown and piled up points in the last five rounds.

Denkaosan was slapped with a one-point penalty for repeatedly holding Sakata in the final 12th round. If US referee Mark Nelson hadn’t taken the point away, the Thai would have won a split decision.

The upcoming fight will be Sakata’s fifth defense of the title he wrested from Lorenzo Parra of Venezuela by a technical knockout in March last year.

“My impression of him [Denkaosan] has not changed since I fought him. I will show what I have got from training and fight to the end with confidence in myself,” the 28-year-old Japanese said.

“I am getting a grip of it in training,” he said of his strengthened left punch.

His trainer, Shigeyuki Otake, said Sakata seemed to be “peaking into the best form in his five title defenses”

“His left is more powerful than ever,” he said.

In his last title bout, Sakata outpointed compatriot Hiroyuki Hisataka in Tokyo in July, stretching his record to 33 wins, including 15 KOs, against two defeats and four draws.

Denkaosan has an impressive record of 45 wins, 19 by knockout, against one draw and one loss.

The Thai has undergone 139 rounds of sparring at home under former 19-time WBA super flyweight champion Khaosai Galaxy.

“Denkaosan has speed and strong physical strength,” Khaosai said. “Sakata is a good fighter but it is Denkaosan that will emerge the victor.”

At 162.8cm, Sakata stands 2.3cm taller than his Thai rival. They have the same reach at 168cm.

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