Saturday 7 September 2013: Tokyo, Japan

Toshiyuki Igarashi

Super flyweight
10 Rounds

Toshiyuki Igarashi 17(10)-2-1 vs. Omar Soto 23(15)-10-2

As you can see from the image above, Igarashi was once the WBC flyweight titlist as well as the RING Magazine and lineal champion. However, he was an extremely weak champion — having won the title in a questionable SD win from Sonny Boy Jaro, then a squeaked a defense win against Nestor David Narvaes. Neither Jaro nor Narvaes, by the way, should be considered the elite of the division.

Punctuating how weak of a champion Igarashi was, Akira Yaegashi jumped from minimumweight to flyweight — that’s two divisions, by the way — and convincingly defeated Igarashi. Yaegashi is not the most skilled fighter either, but he has an elite-level heart and knows how to dig deep for a win.

So not Igarashi is moving up in weight. As much as I say that Igarashi was a weak champion, he still was  the champion — and he’s now moving into a weak division. If Igarashi wins this fight, he should find himself in a title fight within a year. Unless he’s fighting Omar Narvaez, there’s no question Igarashi has the potential to pick up a title.

Soto, who’s challenged for a world title 4 times and lost every time, is still good enough to throw a wrench into Igarashi’s plans. After all, he put a stop to Glenn Donaire’s comeback attempt and could just as well do the same to Igarashi.

However, Soto may be on his last legs. In 2 of his last 3 fights, he’s been KOed. Once, by Gonzalez — which is understandable since Gonzalez KOs everybody — and again by journeyman Ulises Lara who was 12-12-2.

Prediction: Igarashi by UD.

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