Whilst most of our Treasure Trove from 2019 concerns great fights, dramatic action and back and forth wars sometimes our treasure is less about the fight and more about the fighters. We have little slices of treasure that don't feature the great back and forth bouts that we all love, but do help put a fighter on the map, and gives him, or her, a chance to really make the world sit up and take note. Here we look at one of those bouts that sees a youngster make a statement, and show that was the treasure, and not the actual bout. Thankfully when you are as good as this youngster is, it's hard not to see him as a new shining emerald of Asian Boxing.
Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) vs Clyde Azarcon (15-2-1, 5)
Aged 18 when he made his professional debut in 2018 Ginjiro Shigeoka was hotly tipped by those in Japan to be a star. He went 56-1 as an amateur, had looked fantastic on his debut and quickly stepped up to beat Joel Lino in just his third fight. After just 10 months and 2 days as professional the youngster took his next step up in class, as he took part in his first title bout, a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. He was attempting to set the new record for the least amount of time that a Japanese fighter had needed to go from debut to winning an international title. Thing is no one really doubted him. In fact those in Japan seemed to see this as a forgone conclusion for their new superstar in the making.
Filipino fighter Clyde Azarcon wasn't well known but was well regarded in the region. He was 24, had height advantages over Shigeoka, and in 18 pro fights had never been stopped. Not only had he never been stopped but he had only been beaten once in his previous 16 bouts, and that was by the very talented Rene Mark Cuarto, in what was a very competitive 12 round decision bout. He was no world beater but he was certainly a capable fighter and typically he'd be too good for a normal 3-0 fighter. That however didn't account for the fact that Shigeoka was no typical 3-0 fighter.
What looked like a big test for Shigeoka turned out to be a less of a test and more of a coronation, and a quick one at that. This one lasted less than 2 minutes, but within that time we saw someone show that he was an item of Japanese boxing treasure, and someone who will go a very, very long way, very quickly. The youngster pressed intelligently, avoided almost everything that came his way and damn near gutted the poor Filipino with a gruesome straight left.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.