By Derek Bonnett
Daigo Higa, 15-0-(15), lost his WBC flyweight title on the scale on Friday when he failed to make the 112lbs limit for his title defence against challenger Cristofer Rosales from Nicaragua. Regardless, Rosales’ title effort would not be denied.
Rosales weighed in at 111lbs., but dwarfed over Higa, who weighed in two pounds over the flyweight limit. From the opening bell, the Nicaraguan challenger asserted his gameplan, firing crisp combinations to cut the distance before battering the unbeaten Higa on the inside. Rosales’ press-cooker performance raised considerable redness to the right side of Higa’s face and had the former champion doing something fans had not yet seen: moving backward and, at times, running. Higa landed his own thunder from time to time, but Rosales was on and his machismo fueld him forward, brushing off the bombs that leveled good champions like Juan Hernandez and Moises Fuentes. Rosales used every punch available to him and finally convinced Higa’s team to pull him from the action in round nine. The time was 1:42.
Rosales, 23, claimed his first world championship and lifted his ledger to 27-2-0 (18). Recent champions from Nicaragua include Roman Gonzalez and Byron Rojas, but Rosales reigns alone at this time. Being matched tough had benefitted Rosales as he has only lost to men who are top contenders or eventual world champions. Higa fell to 15-1-0 (15). At twenty-two, he has plenty of time to recover barring any injuries sustained in this contest.