Over the last few years we've seen the Super Flyweight division getting more attention in the West, in part thanks to the excellent "Super Fly" series but also the way that more promoters from the US and UK are getting involved in the division. We have Eddie Hearn promoting both Juan Francisco Estrada and Kal Yafai, Top Rank in charge of Jerwin Ancajas and Tom Loeffler having his connections to Kazuto Ioka, and the Super Flyweight series of shows. Even the none champions, such as Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Aston Palicte has have backers in the US.
It wasn't always so good for the little men however, and going back just 10 years ago the division was in a very different state. We did have the all action Vic Darchinyan making his mark Stateside, as the WBC champion, but the other champions weren't really that well known. There was Marvin Sonsona, who held the WBO title, but failed to live up to the expectations put on his shoulders, Simphiwe Nongqayi holding the IBF title and Japan's Nobuo Nashiro holding the WBA title.
On paper the division was global, we had champions including an Australian based Armenia, a Filipino, a South African and a Japanese fighter. But the division was very much one that was only really watched by the hardcore. Darchinyan aside there was no recognisable star.
Despite the lack of star power the division was giving us a string of great fights, especially those involving Nobuo Nashiro, who was a tough and aggressive Japanese fighter. In just his 8th bout he claimed he title for the first time, stopping Martin Castillo. The reign was a short one, lasting less than a year, though he would reclaim the title only a few fights later when he stopped Kohei Kono to become a 2-time champion.
Exactly 10 years ago today Nashiro (13-1, 8 at the time) made his second defense, taking on Mexican challenger Hugo Fidel Cazares (30-6-1, 22 then ) in their first, of 2, bouts. On paper this had the makings of a great fight and the fight legitimately lived up to those expectations, with it being a fantastic 12 round bout.
Nashiro, as mentioned, was enjoying his second reign as a world champion but Cazares was himself no push over He had claimed the WBO Light Flyweight title in 2005, beating Nelson Dieppa in Puerto Rico, and had moved up after 2 losses to Ivan Calderon, in very close and hotly contested bouts. He had always looked huge at Light Flyweight and when his body was allowed to fill out he looked really dangerous at Super Flyweight, beating Roberto Vasquez in Panama in March 2009.
Through his career Cazares had repeatedly proven his value on the road. He had scored wins in Puerto Rico, as part of the long and historic Mexico Vs Puerto Rico wars, American, Panama, and being in Japan held no fear for the Mexican.
What we ended up getting wasn't an all out, 12 round brawl, but instead a technical, battle of wills. Cazares was boxing on the move, using his legs and speed to try and rack up the rounds against the tough and rugged Osakan. Nashiro on the other hand tried pressing, making the most of durability and trying to come on strong. What we ended up with was 12 engaging rounds of action. It wasn't a war, but it was a bout well worthy of a watch and a fight that got better the longer it went.
For those who haven't seen the bout before, we've included it below, and today is the ideal day to celebrate what was a great, great fight!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).