The past year saw a number of comebacks involving former world champions. The busiest of those come-backing fighters was Thailand's Kompayak Porpramook (56-5, 38), who ended a 21 month break from the ring in May 2015 and quickly notched up 6 wins in the space of 7 months. Another Thai who ended a long break was Tepparith Kokietgym (32-3, 19) who ended a 51 week break with 6 wins over his own.
Whilst those two Thai's were really busy neither really achieved much for the year in terms of who they beat. That however wasn't the case for Japan's Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) who turned his career around with a memorable year that saw him become our “Comeback fighter of the year 2015”.
In 2014 Yaegashi suffered his first stoppage loss, beating broken down in 9 rounds by the sensational Roman Gonzalez in September. Just 3 months later he suffered his second stoppage loss, ending 2014 with a 7th round defeat to Pedro Guevara.
Following those losses it seemed like Yaegashi's career was over. He had given us some brilliant fights, such memorable nights and some wonderful wars, but it
His return to the ring in May 2015 was as low profile as they come, with Yaegashi stopping Songseanglek Phosuwangym in a bout that took third billing on card headlined by Ryota Murata. That bout had taken place at 115lbs with Yaegashi seemingly ready to end his career in simple bouts. The thought of Yaegashi fighting weak opponents continued in August when he fought Said M Said, an Indonesian fighter who lasted just 3 rounds.
Yaegashi's first 2 bouts were certainly not preparing us for what he would do to end the year. The warrior dropped down to Light Flyweight, the same weight where he had lost to Guevara, and despite being an under-dog he put on a sensational performance to defeat Javier Mendoza to claim the IBF Light Flyweight title, and become a 3-weight world champion.
The win over Mendoza may have come on December 29th but it was clearly the comeback performance of the year and it was the sort of bout that has made Yaegashi a fan favourite over the year.
We probably shouldn't say this, but thank you Akira for another brilliant fight, it's been a pleasure watching you over the year and hopefully it won't be the final shining performance from the hugely popular Ohashi gym fighter.
(Video thanks toi 高 嶋 史 郎.)