The popular Japanese fighter, a fan favourite with the hardcore and the Japanese, was hoping to capture the WBC Light Flyweight title as he dropped from Flyweight, following a stoppage loss to Roman Gonzalez back in September. Unfortunately however he was fighting a younger, bigger and fresher fighter in the shape of the talented Pedro Guevara (24-1-1, 15). Guevara, a very talented Mexican, had come into the bout as the under-dog though had only lost once, to the fantastic Filipino John Riel Casimero in what was a notable step up in class for the Mexican at the time.
We suspected this one could be a thriller though it started really slowly with a lot of scrappy action in the first two rounds. It seemed the styles clashed as opposed to gelled and although there were moments of action they were few and far between. Thankfully things began to hear up at the end of round 3 and from then on each round became progressively better as the two managed to get a read each other, find their rhythm and get back to what they were good at.
Although the early action was scrappy it was very competitive with neither getting much of an upper hand. That resulted in 4 very hard to score rounds, though rounds that the judges tend to feel Guevara deserved scoring the bout 39-37, twice, and 38-38 when the opening scoring was announced.
The opening score, something that much maligned in the west, seemed to do it's job here and it spurred on Yaegashi who had a tremendous 5th round as he brought the action to Guevara and the two began to trade shots. This was what we had expected from the off, action, excitement and a lot of punches. It seemed that Yaegashi was mounting his charge though his face was beginning to show the trademark damage that he seems to pick every fight.
Yaegashi's drive continued in round 6 as he continued to bring the action in what was the fights best round and a round that again seemed to go Yaegashi's way and saw Guevara bleeding from the right eye. On our unofficial card it had levelled off the fight at 57-57 and it seemed that the fight was swinging Yaegashi's way.
Sadly the momentum shift was short lived and in round 7 it seemed Guevara managed to refind his groove and Yaegashi sudden began looking older and slower. It was as if Yaegashi had put a lot into the previous 2 rounds and, although he was still fighting, he seemed a little bit tired all of a sudden. His desire was there and continued trying though unfortunately received a devastating body which sent him down and kept him down in agony.
It was a shame to see Yaegashi go out like he did, and one would suspect this could be the end for him. Hopefully it's not, but the wars have added up and Yaegashi certainly needs to give his body a long break.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)