Japanese Prospect Kanamu Sakama Passes Away Aged 20

Japanese prospect Kanamu Sakama passed away at just 20 years of age after being forced to withdraw from his scheduled March 18 contest at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall against Hiroki Oki.

On March 16, Sakama pulled out of the competition due to ill health, according to World Sports Gym Chairman Tatsuya Saita.

Neither the Japanese Boxing Commission nor local health authorities have disclosed the circumstances of Sakama’s death.

In 2021, Sakama decided to turn professional and made an impressive start going unbeaten in nine contests, with eight wins coming by knockout. Sakama was named the all-Japan Rookie of the Year for 2021 and collected his first professional title in 2023 by winning the Japanese youth light flyweight title against Ryu Horikawa. 

Sakama, in his final two appearances, was featured on the same bill as Naoya Inoue, in July and December. On December 26, Sakama produced a career-best win against John Paul Gabunilas (10-3, 7KOs), claiming victory in five rounds against the former WBO regional youth champion. 

Sakama’s passing follows the death of Kazuki Anaguchi, who passed away last month from injuries sustained in his December 26 encounter against Seiya Tsutsumi. Anaguchi required emergency surgery for an acute subdural hematoma after losing consciousness during transportation to a local hospital immediately after his defeat.

Both Sakama and Anaguchi featured on the card of Inoue’s successful Boxing Day tilt in becoming undisputed super bantamweight champion against Marlon Taplaes at the Ariake Arena, Tokyo.

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