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KREFELD, Germany (AP) Challenger Koji Sato was no match for German champion Felix Sturm and suffered his first defeat after being stopped in the seventh round of Saturday night’s WBA middleweight title fight.

Sturm dominated from the first round at Konig Palast, and with Sato’s right eye badly swollen and both sides of his face bloodied from cuts, referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight with 14 seconds left in the seventh round.

Sato, who was hoping to follow in the footsteps of Shinji Takehara and become the second Japanese to capture a world middleweight title, admitted he had been outfought.

“The champion was strong,” Sato said after his first loss in 15 bouts. “It’s the result that was expected and I feel sorry for the people who have supported me.”

“It is not easy to get a chance (to fight the champion) in this weight class, so I am grateful I was able to fight in this match. Now I will have a rest and consider my future.”

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