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Toshiyuki Igarashi: “Sonny Boy Jaro is a dangerous opponent”

It’s been eight long months since Toshiyuki Igarashi bested Wilbert Uicab over 12 heated stanzas in a WBC flyweight eliminator. Since then, the former Japanese national champion has patiently waited his turn for the opportunity to fight for a world title. He believed he might have met Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam at some point this year but was as surprised as anyone to see unheralded Sonny Boy Jaro walk down Pongsaklek, bludgeoning him into submission in six one-sided rounds a few months ago. Now the 28-year-old southpaw who boasts an impressive 15-1-1 (10) gets his chance when he meets hard-charging Jaro on 16 July in Saitama, Japan. As well as the WBC flyweight strap, The Ring magazine belt will also be on the line.

Anson Wainwright - Your last fight was late last year when you beat Wilbert Uicab. What are your thoughts on that fight and how happy were you with your performance?
Toshiyuki Igarashi - Uicab was a very experienced fighter. I was happy to come out with a win.
AW - The fight was a WBC flyweight title eliminator for a shot at champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam; however, he stunningly lost to Sonny Boy Jaro. What was your reaction to Pongsaklek losing and what do you think of Jaro?
TI - I was looking forward to fighting a well-known fighter like Pongsaklek. I consider Jaro a dangerous opponent since he has beaten Pongsaklek.
AW - As well as Jaro, there are several other good fighters at flyweight. What are your thoughts on the other champions, the WBA’s Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, the IBF’s Moruti Mthalane and the WBO’s Brian Viloria?
TI - I am not too familiar with them but I have respect for all of them since they are all world champions.
AW - Who are the members of your team? Also, where do you regularly train?
TI - I belong to Teiken Boxing Gym. My manager is [Ms.] Haru Nagano and my trainer is Yuichi Kasai (a former Japanese and OPBF super bantamweight champion who challenged unsuccessfully three times for world titles, finishing with a record of 24-4-1 (15)).
AW - Your promoter, Teiken, is one of the most respected promoters if not the most respected in Japan. Can you tell us a little about your relationship with Mr. Akihiko Honda and how you came about signing with him?
TI - I joined Teiken Boxing Gym after graduating from Tokyo University of Agriculture. I have been very happy in Teiken Gym. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Honda. He has great knowledge about boxing.
AW - The only loss on your record was back in 2008 when current WBA super flyweight champion Tomonobu Shimizu beat you by unanimous decision. Looking back at that fight, can you tell us if the experience improved you as a fighter?
TI - Yes, I think it has. I was very disappointed with the loss but I think I have learned from that loss and have become stronger as a boxer and a person.
AW - You were born in Akita, Japan. What were your younger days like and how did you first become interested in boxing?
TI - I had a pretty normal childhood. I did not start boxing until high school.
AW - What do you do in your life away from boxing? What hobbies and interests do you have?
TI - I enjoy watching [Japanese] high school baseball, reading manga and eating.
AW - The Japanese boxing scene is doing pretty well at the moment with five world champions and several top contenders, of which you are one. What are your thoughts on boxing in Japan now?
TI - We have great champions in Japan. I hope we will have more champions in Japan and boxing will become more popular here.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for Jaro?
TI - Let’s put on a good fight.
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at and you can follow him at

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