By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda
WBC super-feather champ Takahiro Ao (23-2-1, 10 KOs), a Japanese southpaw, will put his belt on the line against Mexican veteran Gamaliel Diaz (36-9-2, 17 KOs) today (Saturday) in Tokyo, Japan. Ao, making his fourth defense, wrested the belt via unanimous nod over Vitali Tajbert in November 2010. Diaz previously failed to win the belt from Jorge Linares in 2007 and from Humberto Soto next year, but once scored a significant victory over Robert Guerrero to his credit in 2005 (though Diaz was stopped by Guerrero with the NABF title at stake in a rematch).
Each tipped the beam at the 130 pound class limit yesterday. The officials are as follows: referee Ian John-Lewis (UK); judges Steve Morrow (US), Glen Rick Crocker (US) and Anek Hongtongkam (Thailand); supervisor Edward Thangarajah (Thailand).
Ao is a fast-punching southpaw who lately becomes more aggressive and gains physical power than previously, while Diaz is a boxer-puncher, two inches taller than the champ. Ao, six-time amateur high school champ before turning professional, is favored to defend his belt, but Diaz is said to have good condition probably in his third and last attempt to win the throne.
This card is presented by Akihiko Honda’s Teiken Promotions and will take place at the Tokyo International Forum.