Later today WBO Light Flyweight champion Elwin Soto (15-1, 11) will make his first defense, as he takes on unbeaten Filipino challenger Edward Heno (14-0-5, 5) in California.
Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both men made the 108lbs limit.
On the scales Soto was a little under the limit, at around 107.8lbs whilst Heno was bang in the 108lbs divisional limit.
As mentioned this will be Soto's first defense, since he stopped Angel Acosta in controversial fashion, whilst Heno will be getting his first world title bout after having a reign as the OPBF champion prior to this fight.
Having mentioned just mentioned the former WBO Light Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (20-2, 20) it's worth noting he will be on the same card in a Flyweight bout against Raymond Tabugon (20-10-1, 11). On the scales Tabugon was 111.4lbs whilst Acosta was 1112lbs.
Related - Heno takes on Soto for WBO crown!
In a bout that appears to have been confirmed on short notice we'll see Filipino fighter Raymond Tabugon (20-10-1, 11) take on former WBO Light Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (20-2, 20) this coming Thursday.
The 28 year old Filipino doesn't have the greatest of records but has typically been fighting at Super Flyweight and Bantamweight, often at a high level. Just in the last few years he has faced the likes of Andrew Moloney, Luis Nery, Juan Francisco Estrada and Juan Hernandez Navarrete. Although not the most talented of fighters he's much better than his record suggests, and and is an upset mined fighter, as we've seen in wins against the likes of Jake Bornea and Luzuko Siyo.
Acosta, of course, is a former world champion at 108lbs, who only lost the belt earlier this year, in a thriller with Elwin Soto. He's a massive boxer, who applies his heavy hands behind good technical boxing skills and a smart boxing brain. He was unlucky in the loss to Soto and will certainly be pursuing a rematch with the heavy handed Mexican youngster.
Notably this bout is part of a card which will see Filipino Edward Heno (14-0-5, 5) challenge Elwin Soto (15-1, 11), in what will be Soto's first defense since his controversial win over Acosta.
Related - Heno takes on Soto for WBO crown!
Filipino fighter Edward Heno (14-0-5, 5) has been one of the best hidden secrets in Asia over the last few years and today it was announced he will get the chance to become a world champion October 24th.
Golden Boy Promotions announced that Heno, the OPBF Light Flyweight champion, will going up against the WBO world champion Elwin Soto (15-1, 11) on October 24th in Indio California,
For Soto this will be his first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he stopped Puerto Rican Angel Acosta in the 12th round. As for Heno this will be his first world title fight, following 3 defenses of the OPBF title.
Coming in to this the champion has stopped his last 4 foes, and holds notable wins not just against Acosta but also Mario Rodriguez. Heno on the other hand has beaten the likes of Merlito Sabillo and Jesse Espinas, and has shown no fear of going on the road to fight, going 2-0-1 in bouts outside of the Philippines.
Earlier today in Hiroshima fight fans saw OPBF Light Flyweight champion Edward Heno (14-0-5, 5) successfully defending his title, and seeming send Japanese veteran Koji Itagaki (18-14-3, 7) [板垣幸司] into retirement.
The talented Heno, who won the title in Japan back in September 2017, dictated the distance from early on. He made the most of his southpaw jab in the opening stages and avoided Itagaki's left hooks. The speed, accuracy and timing of Heno was far too good for Itagaki to cope with, with the challenger not really having any success until round 4.
When the scores were first announced publicly Heno was leading 40-36 and 39-37, twice.
When Itagaki did put his foot on the gas he had success, but nothing sustained with Heno always doing more than enough to be competitive, even in rounds where Itagaki gave everything. What didn't help Itagakoi was the fact he was dropped in round 7, killing any momentum he started to build. By the end of the 8th round Heno was up 80-71 and 78-73, twice. With such a huge lead after 8 rounds Heno could have relaxed, lost all 4 of the final rounds and still been a comfortable winner. Instead he would actually score two knockdowns in the final round, against a tiring Itagaki to secure a 10-7 round.
After 12 rounds Heno got the decision with scores of 119-106, an 117-108, twice.
After the bout Itagaki hinted that this would be the end. Heno praised the challenger's toughness, but the reality is that Itagaki's toughness was the only thing keeping him in the contest, which was incredibly one-sided.
Back in October we saw Koji Itagaki (18-13-3, 7) [板垣幸司] come up short in a Japanese title eliminator, suffering a 7th round TKO loss to fellow veteran Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一]. It seemed like that would be the end for the 35 year old Itagaki. Given his age, the loss and the fact he was stopped.
Today however he Itagaki announced that he would be back in the ring early next year, challenging unbeaten OPBF Light Flyweight champion Edward Heno (13-0-5, 5), who will be making his third defense.
The bout will take place February 11th at the NTT Cred Hall in Hiroshima, and even Itagaki seemed to suggest that it's going to be his final chance at a title, after having previously com up short in bouts for the WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese titles.
Heno notably won the title in Japan last year, stopping Seita Ogido in what was their second bout, following a very controversial draw. Since then he defended the title against Merlito Sabillo and Jesse Espinas. He's now edging towards a world title fight, and may well see a win over Itagaki as a chance to secure a shot at a champion, potentially Japanese fighter, and WBC champion, Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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