Horikawa, a former Japanese Light Flyweight champion, started slowly and it seemed like his 36 year old legs were showing their age. He was competitive but seemed to be half a step behind Itagaki in the first half of the fight. Although starting slowly he did manage to stay competitive through the first 6 rounds, ending up level on one card at the mid-way point, and narrowly behind 58-56 down on the other two cards.
Despite the slow start Horikawa managed to put it all together from the mid round and swept the final 6 rounds as he upped his pressure, and let his hands go, as if he knew he couldn't afford to let the bout continue to sliw away from him. That intense pressure from Horikawa saw him do enough to claim the decision, with scores of 117-111, and 116-112, twice.
Following the win Horikawa stated that his intention was to make a swift return to the ring and begin hunting a second reign as the Japanese champion. Itagaki on he other hand seemed very unsure of his future, though stated a rest was his immediate plan.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)