The former national title challenger, who carried a Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific ranking into today's bout, was up against fellow Japanese fighter Yuto Takahashi (9-4, 4) [高橋悠斗] and it seemed like the hunger and desire of Takahashi was too much for Hirai.
Takahashi fought well behind his jab early on, though Hirai kept with him well with some good body shots. In the middle rounds however Takahashi began to press forward, and landed his own body shots. Those took a toll on Hirai who seemed to slow down and was unable to trade blows with Takahashi who did enough to convince all 3 judges that he deserved the win, with scores of 77-76, twice, and 78-75.
The loss for Hirai sees him going 0-2 so far this year, following a good 5 fight winning run that had included notable victories over Takuma Sakae and Ryoya Ikema. As for Takahashi the win sees him rebounding from a loss to former world champion Tatsuya Fukuhara.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)