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Japanese Boxing Mourns the Loss of Kanamu Sakama at 20

Tragedy struck the world of boxing as 20-year-old Japanese prospect Kanamu Sakama passed away, just days after being forced to withdraw from his scheduled contest against Hiroki Oki at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on March 18.

Kanamu Sakama

Sakama withdrew from the competition on March 16 due to ill health, as confirmed by World Sports Gym Chairman Tatsuya Saita. The exact circumstances surrounding Sakama's death have not been disclosed by either the Japanese Boxing Commission or local health authorities.

In 2021, Sakama made the decision to turn professional and had a promising start to his career, remaining undefeated in nine contests, with eight wins by knockout. He was honored as the all-Japan Rookie of the Year for 2021 and secured his first professional title in 2023 by winning the Japanese youth light flyweight title against Ryu Horikawa.

Sakama's last two fights were featured on the same card as Naoya Inoue, in July and December. On December 26, Sakama achieved a career-best victory against John Paul Gabunilas (10-3, 7KOs), winning in five rounds against the former WBO regional youth champion.

The passing of Sakama comes shortly after the death of Kazuki Anaguchi, who passed away last month from injuries sustained in his December 26 bout against Seiya Tsutsumi. Anaguchi underwent emergency surgery for an acute subdural hematoma after losing consciousness during transportation to a local hospital immediately following his defeat.

Both Sakama and Anaguchi were featured on the card of Inoue's successful Boxing Day fight, where he became the undisputed super bantamweight champion against Marlon Taplaes at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

Last week, the Japanese Boxing Commission initiated an accident investigation into Anaguchi's death, with a full report expected to be completed by April 15.


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