The bout between Hisada and Horikawa had been put together on about 4 weeks notice, but both men had come in to the bout hungry, determined and full of desire, desire that shone through from the early moments, to the final bell. Were it not for that determination and desire the may not have been the war which it ultimately ended up being.
Hisada got off to the perfect start, winning the first 2 rounds on all 3 cards by using his jab well and keeping Horikawa at a relatively safe distance. Horikawa however wasn't ever going to just roll over and accept a defeat and he came out looking to up the pace in round 3, a round that one judge gave him. In round 4 Horikawa's aggression got a bit too wild and wreckless and he suffered a point deduction for using his head. The deduction put the 37 year old in a hole with the scorecards against him when they were announced after 5 rounds, all of which were in favour of Hisada.
Horikawa bounced back with a good round 8, but it was too little too late and Hisada went on see out the storm and fight back in the final 2 rounds to claim a wide decision with scores of 95-92, 96-91 and 97-91.
With the win Hisada claims the biggest victory of his career so far, becomes a champion for the first time and avenges two previous decision defeats to Horikawa. Sadly for Horikawa the head clashes, and shots of Hisada left him looking like a mess with a huge gash over his right eye brow, and it's going to take some serious time for that to heal.
Aged 37 it may well be time for Horikawa to walk away from the sport, for good. He's had a memorable, exciting and very tough career, but one that has seen him claim both the Japanese title and the WBO Asia Pacific title, which he currently holds. For Hisada, who is now 33, the win is a career defining victory and one he will certainly savour.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)