Monday, 8 April 2013

Toshiyuki Igarashi v Akira Yaegashi

In a hugely impressive performance former WBA Minimumweight champion Akira Yaegashi (?-?) jumped 2 weights and claimed the WBC Flyweight title and defeated Toshiyuki Igarashi (?-?) in a thoroughly enjoyable battle, the type of which Yaegashi has been making his name.

The challenger got off to a lightning quick start taking the fight to the champion who looked sluggish in the early part of the bout. Yaegashi was like a terrier and refused to give Igarashi the room he needed to work and instead got close and worked hard with the mindset of "I'm not just going to beat you, I'm going to beat you up". It was thrilling to watch.

Yaegashi continued to wail away in the middle rounds though Igarashi started to slowly come in to the bout and land his own shots which began to mark up the 30 year old challenger who seemed to wear his swelling as badges of honour rather than act concerned about the markings adorning his face. In fact the swelling and blood may well have driven him on as the bout became a brutal war in the later rounds with both men shedding claret as the fight started to become more of a back and forth war with the younger Igarashi having some real success late.

With both men looking like they had been in a war there was only ever going to be one winner. A war was always going to favour Yaegashi who had shown his love of in ring warfare with his famous victory over Pornsawan Porpramook. This bout may not have quite lived up to the Yaegashi v Porpramook bout though it wasn't down to trying on Yaegashi's part, in fact it was only his domination in the early rounds that prevented such a FOTY candidate.

This ends Igarashi's 9 month reign as the WBC and the Linear Flyweight champion and possibly ends his career at the top level. He's a talented fighter though in a division like Flyweight you've got to be a great fighter right now to be at the top, not just good.

Yaegashi, now a 2-weight world champion is a fighter who appears to have options aplenty. He could look for not only a rematch with Ioka (either at Flyweight or Light Flyweight where Ioka holds the WBA title), a fight with fellow champions Juan Francisco Estrada and Moruti Mthalane (both of which would be amazing to watch) or take a deservedly easily fight after 3 very tough bouts in the last 18 months.

With his style and mindset Yaegashi may not have a many years left at the top though I've got to admit he's become one of the sports must watch fighters in the past few years with his toughness and his aggressive style both of which should help him grow a cult following in the west.

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