TOKYO — David Archuleta’s flight back to Okinawa figures to be a happy one.
The 21-year-old senior airman from Kadena Air Base won the Universal Kickboxing Federation junior-welterweight championship by knocking out Steve Satterwhite in the first round Sunday in front of a Differ Ariake arena crowd of more than 1,000, including seven members of Archuleta’s family who flew from Albuquerque, N.M., to be at the bout.
A basic strategy, Archuleta said, led to the victory: Go with the legs.
“He’s from America and they don’t train with low kicks very much, and that’s how we trained the whole time,” said Archuleta, the reigning Okinawa welterweight champion who improved to 17-2-1 with 11 knockouts.
Satterwhite lost for only the second time in 23 fights.
“He’s a strong puncher,” Archuleta said. “That’s why he’s won so many fights.”
Archuleta kept his legs active practically from the moment the bell rang. He kept at a distance, dancing out of danger the few times Satterwhite got him in a corner.
In the first round’s waning seconds, Archuleta caught Satterwhite with a right-leg kick to the upper left thigh, sending Satterwhite to his knees. He tried to rise at the count of eight, but had trouble keeping his balance and the fight was halted at 2:58.
With the title belt secured, Archuleta — who in his day job processes cargo for Kadena’s 733rd Air Mobility Squadron — said he and his manager, Masaaki Asato, may set their sights on fighting in the States or on Japan’s K-1 Grand Prix circuit.