Over the last 12 months or so we have seen Japanese youngster Daigo Higa (9-0, 9) [比嘉 大吾] build a growing fan base, who have warmed to him to his aggressive style and exciting in ring performances. Those fans will be happy to know that Higa's up coming bout, this Saturday for the OPBF Flyweight title, will be aired live.
The bout, which will see Higa battle OPBF champion Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15), will be screened on G+ with the broadcast set to start at 17:45 Tokyo time, the same time as the card starts in the arena.
The broadcast will not only showcase the Higa Vs Diale bout, which we know many fans are very excited about, but will also air the entire show, which features 5 other televised bouts before the main event. Those bouts may not be mouth watering but they should act as a nice starter before the potentially explosive main event.
For fight fans who haven't seen Higa Saturday should be a brilliant opportunity to see him against a fringe world class opponent in Diale, who is a former world title challenger and is a very experienced and criminally under-rated boxer. For those same fans we have included Higa's "break out win" over Kongfah CP Freshmart below, for those who haven't seen that one we really recommend giving it a watch.
Of course it's not a one man fight and Diale is himself known for being in a war not too long ago, losing to Higa's stablemate Koki Eto. Since that bout he has been in great form and may well see a win over Higa as his revenge for the Eto bout, just to be fair we have also included that bout below, and again suggest watching it, particularly the crazy 8th round that saw Eto come from the brink of defeat to stop Diale.
Diale and Higa set for war!
Yesterday Filipino fans got a title studded card at the Taguig Sports Complex. The card, a relatively low profile one despite featuring numerous notable names, features a trio of intriguing title matches with two of those ending in genuine upsets.
The most notable of the bouts, at least for us, was the one title bout that went as expected.
That was a OPBF Flyweight title bout that saw talented Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) record the first defense of his title as he over-came fellow Filipino Jonathan Francisco (8-5-1, 2) with a unanimous decision. On paper this was a bit of a mismatch in favour of the often under-rated champion and it proved to be a confidence build first defense for a man who is likely to face much stiffer tests if his reign is to continue.
Francisco, fighting in his first title bout, did well to survive the 12 rounds but was never likely to over-come the champion, who really is one of the sports genuine gatekeepers at Flyweight.
It was at Flyweight where we saw one of the shows notable upsets. This time it was at the GAB level where veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) managed a shock decision win over Michael Enriquez (11-5-1, 7). Coming in to this one Mabao had gone 0-4-2 in his last 6, dating back more than 3 years, though managed to pull out a career saving performance to over-come Enriquez. Sadly for the loser this was his 3rd loss in 4 bouts, and it seems that his gutsy display against Rex Tso a year ago has essentially taken all he had.
Whilst Enriquez's loss was an upset it wasn't the biggest shock on the card. That was at 108lbs where Jonathan Refugio (15-4-4, 3) shocked former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-2-2, 12) in a bout for the WBC International Light Flyweight title. On paper this looked like a confidence builder for Claveras, who has scored a pair of wins since his sole loss last April, however it turns out that Refugio, who was 3-4 in his previous 7, hadn't read the script. Instead of lying down for the big punching Claveras fans saw a determined Refugio take the fight to Claveras and earn a well deserved decision win.
After the bout it was noted that Claveras was struggling to make 108lbs and it seems likely that he will now move up in weight.
Earlier today we were informed that highly experienced OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) was set to return to the ring on February 20th to defend his title against countryman Jonathan Francisco (8-4-1, 2).
The talented Diale will be making the first defense of the title that he won last December with a decision win over Renoel Pael whilst. That was Diale's second shot an OPBF title after coming up short, in 2014, to Koki Eto in an thrilling war that featured arguable the round of the year. Since that loss to Eto we've seen Diale go a very impressive 7-0 (5) with notable wins against Renerio Arizala, Jenny Boy Bua and Heri Amol.
For Francisco this will be his first title fight of his career and comes after a technical draw against former world chamoion Toshiyuki Igarashi, last November. Although Francisco hasn't got an unimpressive record he does hold a notable win over Jonas Sultan, albeit a split decision very early in the career of both men, and he is current on a 3 fight unbeaten run.
The bout will be one of 5 title bouts on the card, with others including a WBC International Light Flyweight contest between former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-1-2, 12), who is the defending champion, and countryman Jonathan Refugio (14-4-4, 3) and a potential FOTY candidate between Michael Enriquez (11-4-1, 7) and Donny Mabao (21-24-3, 4), who will be meeting for the vacant GAB Flyweight title.
Filipino fighter Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) is one of the many Filipino fighters who has gone under-the-radar through his career. Despite that he has been in some thrillers, notably his 2014 war with Koki Eto, he has spent around half of his career in title fights, and he has competed on the world stage, losing a world title fight to Julio Cesar Miranda back in 2011. Yesterday however he claimed one of his most significant wins as he won the OPBF Flyweight title, at the second time of asking.
The fighter was fighting in his second OPBF title, with the first being the Eto bout, and was battling against fellow Filipino Renoel Pael (19-2-1, 9) in a brilliant match up. The bout looked good on paper and was good in the ring.
In the ring Pael was the notably taller and longer man, that however couldn't over-come the experience and skills that Diale has developed through his long career. Diale used his smarts, found ways inside and got his work off more consistently than his foe, who did well to fight back but was often coming off second best. That was most notable in round 4 when Pael was dropped. It was the only knockdown in the fight but seemed to give Diale the boost mentally that he needed to take home the title and the win, despite a gutsy fight back from Pael.
At the end it seemed clear that Diale had done enough and the judges agreed, scoring the bout 114-113, 115-112 and 117-110 to Diale, a worthy winner and a good solid OPBF champion. Sadly for him however he's in a division full of other very good fighters and is likely to be a target for a number of those, including Takuya Kogawa, Masayoshi Hashizume, Giovanni Escaner and Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym.
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