Injured ‘Mach’ Sakurai Replaced on Saturday’s Dream Card

By Chris Nelson Jul 13, 2011
An unspecified leg injury has forced Hayato Sakurai from his rematch with Marius Zaromskis at Saturday’s Dream event in Tokyo.

Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara announced the news Thursday during a press conference in Tokyo, noting that Sakurai (Pictured, file photo) sustained the injury in training earlier this week.

Zaromskis, who would not have risked his Dream welterweight belt in the non-title affair, will remain on the card in a catchweight contest against Japanese veteran Eiji Ishikawa. The contracted weight of the new bout was not specified.

Ishikawa, 31, has spent the bulk of his 11-year career on the Japanese circuit competing in the Pancrase and Deep organizations. The longtime Grabaka fighter has won seven of his last nine starts, defeating the likes of Simeon Thoresen and A Sol Kwon while falling to Thiago Goncalves and Shigetoshi Iwase. In 40 professional bouts, Ishikawa has gone the distance 26 times.

Since his July 2009 knockout of Sakurai and same-night crushing of Jason High, 30-year-old Zaromskis’ career has hit a rough patch. The Lithuanian “Whitemare” has won just once in his last five outings, including stoppage losses to Nick Diaz and Evangelista Santos in the Strikeforce cage. Zaromskis, who has seen the judges’ scorecards only twice in 21 fights, was most recently outpointed by Canadian prospect Jordan Mein in their June 10 bout.

Saturday’s Dream event, officially titled “Fight for Japan: 2011 Japan Bantamweight Tournament Final,” will take place at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. Promotional champions Gegard Mousasi and Hiroyuki Takaya are expected to defend their respective light heavyweight and featherweight titles against Hiroshi Izumi and Kazuyuki Miyata.
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