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Higa, Shiro win world titles to give Japan 108-pound sweep

Photo by Naoki Fukuda
20
May

Daigo Higa and Ken Shiro added a pair of world titles to Japan’s count Saturday, winning the WBC flyweight and WBC junior flyweight titles respectively at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan.

While they both represented the same country, they won their titles in vastly different manners.

Higa (13-0, 13 knockouts) turned in a star-making performance, tearing apart Juan Hernandez to force a stoppage at 2:58 of the sixth round. Higa, 21, sent Hernandez down once in the second and three more times in the sixth, with the final three knockdowns coming from combinations of body punching and uppercuts against a defensive foe.

The title had been declared vacant a day earlier after Hernandez weighed in a half-pound over the flyweight limit, meaning only Higa was eligible to win the title.

Hernandez, 30, of Mexico City, had won the title only two months prior with a three-round demolition of Nawaphon Kaikanha in Thailand, but was this time on the other end of the wrecking ball. The last time “Churritos” Hernandez (34-3, 25 KOs) had lost was also in Japan, back in 2011 when he lost a decision to Kazuto Ioka for the WBC strawweight title.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Shiro (10-0, 5 KOs) had a tougher road to the title, managing a majority decision over crafty veteran Ganigan Lopez (28-7, 17 KOs), who was attempting to defend his belt for the second time. One judge had the fight even at 114-114 while the other two had the fight 115-113 for Shiro, who at 25 is 10 years younger than Lopez.

Shiro’s win gave Japan a clean sweep of the four major belts at 108 pounds, with Ryoichi Taguchi holding the WBA version, Kosei Tanaka holding the WBO version and Akira Yaegashi holding the IBF variety.

The two fights were the supporting bouts to the middleweight fight between Hassan N’Dam and Ryota Murata.

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