Akira Yaegashi fought a war with defending Jr. Flyweight champion Javier Mendoza and came out on top with a unanimous decision to win his third title in as many divisions. He had previously held titles at 105 and 112 but had dropped down in weight after losing to Roman Gonzalez aka “Chocolatito.”
Interestingly enough, Yaegashi had fought at two separate weights in his previous two fights and neither were at Jr Flyweight which left some to wonder why he would get the call at 108 at all? In 2014, Yaegashi previously tried and failed to win the Jr. flyweight title against Pedro Guevara. Guevara would lose the title against Yu Kimura.
When I asked Yaegashi if he had any interest in unifying the division against Kimura or Ryoichi Taguchi, both title holders and fellow countrymen, Yaegashi replied “I spar with them so much that I have no desire to fight them in the ring.”
(with my champion translator)
The scores of 120-107, 119-109, and 117-111 gave Yaegahsi the unanimous nod, but No Sparring had the fight much closer at 7 rounds to 5 in favor of Yaegashi. Yaegashi would usually start each round slow before coming on late and finishing mosts rounds strong.
With the crowd almost deathly quiet until Yaegashi threw a punch in any round, it could be easy for a judge watching the fight to be affected by the very supportive hometown fans. However, Mendoza brought a war to Yaegashi’s Tokyo, especially in the 11th, and connected with a number of crisp power shots throughout the fight. Mendoza did suffer a cut midway through the fight and was seen bleeding the rest of the way; it didn’t seem to affect his sight however as it was on his cheek.
There wasn’t much defense in this one, but it was a heck of a lot more exciting than the judges scores would let you believe. Yaegashi told me after the fight he’d stick around this division to defend his title. A solid night for the Japanese boxing community indeed.