Monday, April 23, 2018  |


Daigo Higa comes in overweight, loses WBC flyweight belt on the scales

Daigo Higa waits for the bad news as officials check the scale at the weigh-in for his fight against Cristofer Rosales. (Photo by Naoki Fukuda)

The top two flyweights have dropped their world titles in a span of a few days, and both without even entering the ring.

Daigo Higa (15-0, 15 knockouts) forfeited his WBC flyweight belt after coming in two pounds over the 112-pound limit on Saturday for his title defense against Cristofer Rosales, set for Sunday in Yokohama, Japan. It was to be his third time defending the belt, but now only Rosales (26-3, 17 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua, is eligible to win the title after checking in at 111 1/4.

Higa, 22, won the title in May of 2017 with a sixth-round stoppage of Juan Hernandez and had looked devastating since then, rising to the No. 2 spot in the RING ratings. He had trained at the Wild Card Gym earlier this year and was in attendance for the SuperFly 2 card in February at the Stubhub Center, raising speculation that he may move to 115 pounds to chase bigger fights.

Higa’s failure to make weights comes on the heels of Donnie Nietes’ announcement to vacate the IBF flyweight title to challenge for the WBO junior bantamweight title, which Naoya Inoue gave up to move to 118 pounds.

Ryota Murata, holder of the WBA’s “regular” middleweight belt, came in exactly at the 160-pound limit for his main event fight against Italy’s Emanuele Blandamura, who weighed 159 1/2.

Murata (13-1, 10 KOs) won the middleweight gold medal for Japan at the 2012 Olympics and is six years younger than the light-punching Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs), who is 38.

The card will be televised live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.


Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].

  • Wade Wilson

    It should be an automatic loss on his record and a fine imposed on future earnings to cover Rosales’ financial loss.

    • Teddy Reynoso

      The fight will still continue with only Rosales eligible to claim the title should he win. But I think it will be a tall order as Higa will come to the fight even heavier and with the greater resolve to win what could be his flyweight farewell fight convincingly. I think Higa is eager to follow Nietes in the latter’s rise to the super fly, the Pinoy great’s 4th weight class in a career now spanning two decades. But with his young age and still growing body, I think Higa can go as high as the bantamweight or even the super bantamweight by the time he hits his peak. Barring any major losses along the way if of cour

      • Wade Wilson

        Yes, but one way or another I don’t think anything short of a forfeit on a fighters record is going to stop the trend of coming in over the limit. Stripping titles and fines haven’t been doing much.

        • Teddy Reynoso

          If the boxer does so by design or deliberately, I may agree with you. But I think sanction should also be imposed against his trainer whose main responsibility includes seeing to it that his ward comes to the fight in top tip condition within the prescribed limit.

          • Ten Count Toronto

            No they should fine themselves for continuing to endorse a weigh-in system which enables and incentivizes abuse while discouraging fighters from competing at a more appropriate weight because in doing so they would often be matched against a a bigger opponent who is gaming the system.

          • Wade Wilson

            But how do you prove that one? It really needs to be strict liability. A fighter really should be staying in shape between fights anyway and not ballooning up on his own.

          • Teddy Reynoso

            It was reported in that the JBC is thinking of imposing a one year suspension on Higa and his team for their failure to meet the limit which made Higa the first Japanese champion to lose his world title at the weight scale. Words from Higa and his camp even before this fight signify the eagerness to follow Nietes move up to 115.

          • Wade Wilson

            That certainly hurts a smaller fighter, in particular, substantially!!

    • Ouvert Bon

      It’s never been handled this way. A fighter loses enough by not being paid.

      • Wade Wilson

        It hasn’t been stopping them in recent years. Plenty are taking an attitude of paying a fine is better than doing what is needed to make weight. A loss on a record means far more than it did in the past. Titles don’t mean as much as they did either so stripping doesn’t bother them as much but hit them where it counts, their egos, and it’ll have an effect. A fighter should be staying in shape between fights as it is anyway and then he can concentrate on his opponent and not worry about conditioning. All athletes should have off season training programs and this applies to down time between fights.

  • Rolly Arellano

    It will be exciting to see Higa move up to 115 lbs. We will then have Nietes and HIga in the mix at Super Flyweight to battle the likes of Rungvisai, Ancajas, Estrada, Yafai, Arroyo and Gonzales. The division looks deep with the addition of Nietes and Higa. Any fight matching these guys will be great.

  • Gian Torres

    So is DAIGO HIGA going to be banned from fighting in Mexico? Jokes aside, his body outgrew 112 the way Nery’s body outgrew 118. Best of luck to HIGA and Cristofer Rosales!!

  • Colin Mc Flurry.

    Hardly a surprise that a grown ass man will struggle to make the weight of a prepubescent boy.

  • william ellis

    Just read that Rosales won by TKO. Maybe Higa is today’s Jaime Garza.

    • Left Hook2

      Watch the fight. Damn good scrap!!

      • william ellis

        Will look it up, thanks.