The main event of the card saw former world title contender Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人] claim the WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title, becoming a triple crown winner. The Japanese tough guy was however forced to work incredibly hard to over-come unheralded Filipino fighter Anthony Sabalde (12-6-0-1, 7) in a bout that proved much more competitive than we had expected.
Sabalde got off to a perfect start, starting fast and claiming the first two rounds on all 3 cards. Sadly for the Filipino it didn't take long for Arakawa to find his groove and from round 3 onwards the Japanese fighter began to make the most of his experience, getting a foot hold in the bout. Sabalde refused to concede the bout and in the middle rounds he gritted his teeth and turned the bout in his favour.
Sadly for Sabalde his second wind came to an end in round 9 and Arakawa had a great charge in the final third of the bout, sweeping the last 4 rounds to earn a very hard fought, and well deserved, decision with scores of 115-113, twice, and 116-112.
Arakawa had to work hard for this win, but will know that it opens up a potential WBO ranking. Despite the loss for Sabalde her certainly put his name on the map for Japanese fans and will likely be welcomed back to Tokyo for future bouts against notable foes.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)