November 5th is a hectic day for fight fans who really got so much action that some stuff will simply be over-looked due to the big name fighters on the show in Las Vegas. Before the Las Vegas action, featuring the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Zou Shiming, we also get the chance to see an OPBF Flyweight title bout, with the all action Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) looking to make the first defense of his title and continue perfect KO run as he takes on Filipino fighter Felipe Cagubcob Jr (6-2-5, 2). On paper this looks like a mismatch, and an easy first defense for Higa, however is it really that straight forward for the destructive champion, or could he actually be tested here?
Of course it makes sense to start this by looking at the champion, who has been dubbed the “Romagon of Okinawa” due to his stylistic similarities to Roman Gonzalez. Higa is an ultra aggressive pressure fighter who, like Gonzalez, cuts the ring off wonderfully, though devastating combinations to both head and body and appears to be more defensively sound than people realise. Not only is he incredibly exciting but his competition has also been impressive in recent years with wins against the likes of Kongfah CP Freshmart, Renren Tesorio and most recently Ardin Diale.
Higa is arguably the most exciting Flyweight on the planet. He's aggressive, exciting and looks for a stoppage in every bout. Whether that run continues right to the top is yet to be seen however he's already becoming a star in Japan with G+ televising his bouts and his mentor Yoko Gushiken helping him with his progression and growing fame.
Although yet to beat a truly world class opponent it does look like Higa is a fighter who will beat a number of the top guys, in fact it looks like he could already beat the likes of Zou Shiming, Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym and numerous other leading contenders. In many ways this coming bout is the next test as he continues to advance towards a world title, but appears to be hunting a defense to prove his championship status before getting a world title fight, likely early next years.
Sadly it's much harder to talk about Cagucob's style than it is about Higa's. Footage of Higa has been easy to come by, with a lot of his bouts being televised, however the Filipino is almost a mystery man in terms of style, with no footage available. That's disappointing however we have been interested in by his record which certainly looks better in reality than the numbers suggest. The 25 year old stopped Donny Mabao in 4 rounds back in July his only losses have been to Jake Bornea and Renz Rosia, and he has fought to draws with Lloyd Jardeliza, twice, and Joey Canoy, all in all not terrible results. He's also a southpaw, we believe the first that Higa will have faced.
Whilst his record is messy it's interesting to see that he has been in great form recently, after a bizarre 1-5-2 start to his professional career. He has since gone 5-0 (2) and has developed from the fighter he was in the early stages of his career. This is however his first fight outside of the Philippines, and only his third fight outside of the Metro Manila region.
With little footage of Cagucob available it's impossible to get a read on his style however to beat Higa he will have to be tough and either be tough enough to win a fire fight up close, protecting himself and finding holes Higa's under-rated defense. Of frustrate and out box Higa, another tough proposition given that Higa cuts off the ring amazingly well. That's not to take say it' impossible to beat Higa in other ways but he does seems like the fighter who will be incredibly difficult to beat and has proven his durability with his war against Kongfah CP Freshmart.
Given that Caguob's sole stoppage loss has come from a body shot, and Higa really does throw some sensational, the probably outcome is that the Filipino will likely be broke down, with the body shots being a key. The Filipino will likely look to fight fire with fire, but we'd be shocked to see him really push Higa here, with the the Japanese fighter being a human steam roller and suspect that will be seen again here.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.