The opening round set the tone for the bout, with Higa, dubbed the “Romagon of Okinawa”, forcing the bout with intelligent pressure that allowed him to back up Diale and land crunching shots to both head and body. Those shots weren't dropping Diale but they were damaging all the same and seemed to show that Higa's ability to pick a punch was going to be a major issue for Diale, who was struggling to land much of note in return. The usually capable countering skills of Diale were made to look completely ineffective against Higa's quickly improving defense and it seemed like Diale was going to need to find something new to trouble the challenger.
The second round saw Higa move up a gear in what was a dominant but controlled round of intelligent aggression. Diale was forced to take some serious bombs with body shots looking like the key for Higa who dropped Diale in the dying seconds of the round. Following the knockdown Higa began to celebrate, climbing the ring corner, and it seemed like everyone, including the TV thought Diale had been counted out at the bell. Instead however the referee ruled Diale had just beaten the count and instructed the two men to the corner.
Potentially the decision could have been controversial, especially if Diale had managed to turn the bout around. As it turned out however Higa was just getting stronger and began round 3 by landing a monster right hand. That was followed by another round of Diale doing his best to keep Higa from breaking him down, and for the most part did well, but was dropped for the second time and seemed relatively fortunate that the bell saved him again as Higa began to smell a 10th successive stoppage win.
Knowing that the body shots had damaged Diale, Higa came out looking for them in round 4 and landed a crunching one early on. Diale was now forced to fight back and tried his best to get through the tight guard of Higa and stop the storm but Higa took his time, and continued to break down the defending champion, who was dropped again after a vicious assault from the 20 year Japanese fighter. This time Diale failed to beat the count and looked like a broken man.
The celebrations were back from Higa as he recorded his biggest win to date whilst a beaten and swollen looking Diale resided on his stool, knowing he had come up against someone a little bit special.
A may be a little too early to call Higa a star but with performances like this, and the one against Kongfah CP Freshmart, it's clear he has star potential and it seems like he's already capable of selling out the Korakuen Hall. He may not keep this OPBF title for long, with intentions clearly to move to world class in the near future, but this performance is likely to have put the Flyweight division on notice. He didn't just beat the very capable Ardin Diale, but he battered him and broke him.
For Diale he'll come again, he'll likely fight for and possibly regain this title in the future, but it may take a while for the bruises and swelling to go from this genuine beat down by someone who is just in a totally different league to the Filipino
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)