Today Arakawa seemed to explain the decision at a press conference, along with a number of other fighters from the Watanabe gym.
The decision to fight for the WBO Asia Pacific title, rather than to retain his Japanese crown, is due to the fact the title would help the veteran get a WBO world ranking, and potentially help him work his way towards a WBO world title bout. It seems that one more shot at the top is the aim Arakawa has for what's left of his career, and the opportunity to get a world title fight is more important to him than defending the Japanese title.
At 35 few can blame Arakawa for looking at world title fights and although it would seem unlikely that he would get a shot at Terry Flanagan he seems to feel it's better to be in the running for such a fight, than to not even make it to the start line, or in this case the rankings.
Interestingly it was also revealed that Arakawa was in talks to face Hurricane Futa (22-6-1, 13) [ハリケーン風太] for the title, but Futa became unavailable due to an injury. We can't help but admit that Arakawa Vs Futa would have been, potentially, a very exciting bout and much more interesting than we expect the Arakawa Vs Sabalde bout to be.
For fans interested in watching Arakawa Vs Sabalde it will be aired live on Boxingraise.com for the services subscribers.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)