By Joe Koizumi
WBA super flyweight champ Nobuo Nashiro (13-1, 8 KOs), Japan, will risk his belt against official challenger and ex-WBO 108-pound ruler Hugo Cazares (30-6-1, 22 KOs), from Mexico, tomorrow (Wednesday) in Osaka, Japan. There was a weigh-in ceremony, where Nashiro, 27, scaled in at the 115-pound class limit, while Cazares, 31, a pound lighter at 114. The WBA officials are as follows: referee Hubert Earle (Canada); judges Albert Wilenski (US), Philippe Verbeke (Belgium) and Wontak Yoon (Korea); supervisor Alan Kim (Korea).
The short but sturdy Japanese, a Leonard Dorin stylist, twice acquired the WBA belt to his credit. Nashiro, in his only eighth professional bout, impressively dethroned then highly regarded Martin Castillo via tenth round TKO in 2006, but forfeited the throne at the hand of Venezuelan hard-puncher Alexander Munoz in his second defense the next year. Thanks to Vic Darchinyan’s relinquishment Nashiro won the vacant WBA belt by eking out a split decision over ex-OPBF titlist and compatriot Kohei Kono last September. Having overcome a couple of visits to the deck, the Japanese puncher was barely successful in his initial defense by scoring a come-from-behind stoppage of Konosuke Tomiyama in eight turbulent rounds this April.
Cazares, four years his senior, once reigned over the WBO light-fly champinship, being awarded a unanimous technical decision over Nelson Dieppa in Puerto Rico in 2005. The Mexican, nicknamed “El Increible (The Incredible)”, admirably kept it on five occasions before he lost a hairline split verdict to Ivan Calderon in a Tom-and-Jerry bout in Puerto Rico in 2007. As Cazares failed to regain it from Iron Boy in a rematch via seventh-round technical decision, he jumped up to the 115-pound category by skipping the flyweight division. He importantly became the official challenger as he defeated ex-WBA champ Roberto Arana Vasquez in Panama this March. Cazares dropped the Panamanian twice in the first and second rounds, but hit the deck himself in the eight, winning a unanimous nod in a WBA eliminator at the opponent’s home turf.
Although Cazares recently moved up to the super-fly class, there seems no physical disadvantage as he looked bigger than the defending champ. Cazares boldly said, “I’ll climb up to the ring at 130 pounds and overpower Nashiro tomorrow. I’ll finish him within five rounds.” If really so, he will gain no less than fifteen pounds in 36 hours before the bout. He must be a big eater (gran comeron). It is truly incredible, as his nickname.
The modest-spoken Nashiro smilingly replied, “I hope to overcome his attack and score a KO victory in about ten rounds.” Nashiro wasn’t such a big mouth as the Mexican ex-champ, who eloquently controlled the press conference with his stablemate, WBO bantam kingpin Fernando Montiel and ex-WBC/WBA ruler Cristian Mijares in attendance.
In response to Cazares’ agitation Takashi Edagawa, Nashiro’s promoter/manager, verbally challenged the champs, saying, “After defeating Cazares, I wish to have Nashiro beat Montiel and Mijares in succession.” Should Nashiro successfully keep his belt against Cazares, however, he will have to face the WBA interim titlist Nonito Donaire first to unify the WBA belts.
It is true that Nashiro’s stock considerably dropped in his previous voluntary defense, having suffered a couple of knockdowns by lightly-regarded Tomiyama in his previous defense. But his stamina and will-power made him gain the throne twice, which is undeniable by our aficionados. Having underestimated Nashiro, Cazares appeared a little too much overconfident as he behaved as if he had already captured the belt.
It will be a furious confrontation of the busy-punching fighter (Cazares) and the game warrior (Nashiro). Despite Nashiro’s local advantage, our experts and hardcore fans see it will be a fifty-fifty competition by respecting Cazares’ superior career especially having frequently fought outside of Mexico.
Whoever may be victorious, most probably, it will not go the distance, if they should hotly exchange solid punches from the outset as they predicted in the press conference. Cazares is an early starter, while Nashiro a slow starter. Unless it should end in early rounds in favor of Cazares as he predicted, the tide may or may not turn in the middle of the contest. Should it proceed on almost even terms after the eighth, Nashiro, with his abundant stamina, may conquer his more experienced challenger with his usual last surge as shown in his competitive combat with Kono in his title-regaining bout.
On the undercard, ex-WBC flyweight champ and currently WBC#15 bantam Medgoen Singsurat, the last man who previously knocked out Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in 1999, will square off against Mikio Yasuda (14-4-2, 11 KOs), Nashiro’s stablemate, over eight rounds.
This show is presented by Mutoh Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions.