In a much closer than expected bout Japanese WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-1-1, 10) struggled past Argentinian challenger Nestor Daniel Narvaes (19-1-2, 9) in a bout that perhaps shows up the problem with the "Linear" championship. I'm sorry but there is no way on earth that we can really claim that Igarashi is better than either Brian Viloria or Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (who meet each other to decide the division's true #1 in my eyes, later this year).
Narvaes, the younger brother of current WBO Super Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez, started the bout quickly and forced Igarashi to fight back from the opening bell as he really brought the fight to the champion with a very high work rate.
If things were hard for the champion from the off, they just got harder as Igarashi suffered nasty cuts over both eye brows and had to fight back with claret covering his eyes and his face noticeably marked up. It appeared that Narvaes, a real unknown in the boxing world, was on his way to an upset before Igarashi bit down hard and did just enough to claim the victory despite being deducted a point for a head clash.
The hellacious action and back and forth nature of the bout was always going to lead to close scores and it showed with Igarashi taking a majority decision with cards of 114-112 (twice) and 113-113.
For Igarashi my advice is stay from the other other top fighters in the division. He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time after Sonny Boy Jaro defeated a fading Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (who lost again earlier this week) and really shouldn't be regarded as the divisions best fighter. In all honesty, at best, Igarashi is the fourth best fighter in the division (also behind South African Moruti Mthalane). He could well do with a number of easier defenses in Japan to help him mature into a real champion thankfully the WBC rankings do have a few weaker options such as Oscar Blanquet (who has already fought in Japan) and Anuar Salas (who's ranking I simply cannot explain).
It's strange to have a "Linear" and "Ring" champion who isn't ready for a genuine top tier fighter, such as the other 3 "real" champions or the top contenders such as Rocky Fuentes or Milan Melindo, however as I said Igarashi was simply a lucky man to be in the right place at the right time.
For Narvaes this fight should really be a sign that he can copy his brother and become a world champion, however he's unfortunate to have lost here against the weakest champion in the division. It's fair to say that the other 3 champions would almost certainly have had an easier night with Narvaes than Igarashi did. If the little Argentinian cannot force a rematch I'd advise him to look towards an all Argentinian battle with current WBA "regular" champion Juan Carlos Reveco, as long as Reveco gets past Julian Rivera next weekend.