By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat
Up-and-coming 20-year-old sensation Daigo Higa, 112, extended his unblemished mark to 10-0, 10 KOs when he impressively captured the OPBF (Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation) flyweight belt by demolishing Filipino champ Arden Diale (31-10-3, 15 KOs), 111.75, at 2:39 of the fourth session on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. WBC youth champ Higa thus collected another belt with an unexpectedly easy and lopsided triumph as he decked the highly regarded veteran three times.
From the outset Higa, a pupil of ex-WBA champ Yoko Gushiken, had him staggering to the ropes with a solid right cross under the ear when Diale, 27, was ducking with his hands hanging low. The second saw Higa connect with a strong body shot following combinations upstairs to send Diale tumbling to the canvas, and a bizarre scene was seen by the well-packed audience.
Believing in his victory then and there, Higa triumphantly climbed up the ropes in the neutral corner for joy, showing his back to Diale on the deck and the referee still counting near the opposite neutral corner. Diale very barely regained his feet and the third man ordered them to resume fighting, but Higa was still standing up on the ropes with the bell sounding to terminate the round. People at first thought Higa had won by a knockout, but the fight eventually went on and entered the next session.
Higa’s solid combos, in the closing seconds of the third, made Diale lurch backward into a corner and fall again on his knees.
It was Higa, a fresh and furious youngster, that sent him sprawling to the deck with his lethal combinations for the third time with the ref this time completing the count in the fatal fourth stanza. The new champ’s manager Gushiken said in the ring, “Higa will follow my footstep. He’d better have a world title shot soon with his rising tide. I wish to have Higa fight for the belt within this year.”
Though we hope Higa will be more experienced prior to the title crack, Gushiken seems so confident in his pupil’s talent that he will proceed Higa’s world title shot on New Year Eve, the big boxing day in Japan.
Promoter: Shirai Gushiken Sports Promotions.