New Faces: Daigo Higa
Weight class: Flyweight
Height / reach: 5-foot-2 (159 cm)/ 63 inches (161 cm)
Amateur record: 36-8 (8)
Turned pro: 2014
Pro record: 8-0, 8 knockouts
Trainer(s): Jyoji Nogi
Manager: Yoko Gushiken
Promoter: Yoko Gushiken
“It is the bout with Kongfah CP Freshmart in Bangkok, Thailand for WBC Youth world flyweight title, in which I won by TKO at seventh round,” Higa told RingTV.com through translator Tomoyuki Kataoka.
“Prior to the bout, I thought that I could not win against him without a KO since it was an away match. However, I managed to go forward to beat him anyway and, therefore, I was able to fight, according to my prior wishes. In addition, I could punch both head and body and have my body move quickly.”
Worst night of pro career: The Tokyo resident feels his second pro outing was his least impressive performance to date.
“It is the bout with Rotthang Wor Por Srisaket in Tokyo, Japan, in which I won by TKO in the second round,” he said. “I could not handle him clinching very well and, therefore, I was not able to fight according to my prior wishes.”
Next fight: Later today, Higa looks to defend his WBC Youth flyweight title for the second time when he faces Romel Oliveros from the Philippines at the famous Korakuen Hall, Tokyo. Oliveros, 20, has been a pro for 20 months – the same as Higa – and is 6-1, 1 KO, the lone loss came in his last contest just before Christmas in his only fight outside the Philippines. Oliveros fought in Japan and lost an eight-round decision to Takayuki Okumoto.
Why he’s a prospect: Higa’s biggest achievement in the amateur scene came when he placed fifth at the National Sports Festival. He left the unpaid ranks with 36 wins in 44 bouts.
Since making the move to the pros, he has sparred with former OPBF junior bantamweight title holder Takuya Kogawa, rising junior flyweight National champion Ken Shiro and the uber-talented two-division titleholder Naoya Inoue.
The all-action Japanese fighter is very offensive and considers that one of his finest traits.
“My strength is my aggressive fighting style and mental toughness not to lose.” he said.
Higa is managed and promoted by 2015 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Yoko Gushiken. Gushiken (23-1, 15 KOs) made 13 successful defenses of his WBA 108-pound title – a Japanese record – before retiring in 1981.
“His strength is aggressiveness not to run away from an opponent,” Gushiken said. “Power, hard punches, honesty and strong mind.”
Why he’s a suspect: It remains early days for Higa but he has looked impressive so far, stopping all eight opponents. As he steps up, he won’t get things his own way and may need a plan “B.” In fairness to Higa, he is astute enough to know this.
Story lines: Higa enjoyed a normal childhood growing up in the southernmost of the Japanese prefectures, Okinawa. He enjoyed playing baseball until he was in junior high school.
Away from boxing, he enjoys visiting various restaurants, eating ramen, hamburgers, Korean barbecue and rice topped with sashimi. He also likes shopping for clothing.
June 17 – Saengkeng Saknarong, KO 1
Aug. 22 – Rotthang Wor Por Srisaket, TKO 2
Nov. 26 – Keisuke Fujii, TKO 1ÒÇÇ
Jan. 12 – Pongpayu Chaiyonggym, KO 1
May 10 – Virden Rivera, TKO 2
June 8 – Cris Alfante, KO 4
July 24 – Kongfah CP Freshmart, KO 7
Nov. 7 – Renren Tesorio, TKO 10