By Joe Koizumi
It’s a night of upsets. We have just witnessed another newly crowned world champ. Ex-WBA minimum champ Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9 KOs), 112, surprisingly upset WBC flyweight defending titlist Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-2-1, 10 KOs), 112, by winning a unanimous decision over twelve gory rounds on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. The decision was quite unanimous: Steve Morrow (US) 115-110, Duane Ford (US) 116-109, and Hubert Minn (US) 117-108, all in favor of Yaegashi.
Yaegashi, more than two inches shorter than the southpaw champ, made a good start and swept the first four rounds since Igarashi inexplicably failed to utilize his trademark footwork only to mix it up and absorbed the challenger’s opening attacks. The fifth saw Yaegashi penalized a point because of an accidental butt, though winning the round. In round six, each was deducted a point by the same reason because of the WBC eye-cut rule. Yaegashi’s continual assault made the champ’s cuts wider and deeper, so Igarashi had to continue fighting with the badly bloodied face. In the second half, the champ looked like wearing a red mask. After the eighth, the WBC open scoring system indicated Yaegashi leading on points—77-72, 76-73 and 75-74. The challenger apparently swept the last four rounds, as he battered the gory champ with big effective shots to almost topple him down the stretch.
We just wonder why the much taller champ with such an advantageous reach, Igarashi didn’t keep his proper distance only to so recklessly swap punches toe-to-toe in a rough-and-tumble fiasco and lost his throne. (More to come)