This past Thursday we saw the very long awaited return to the ring of the hugely popular Daigo Higa (16-1, 16), who stopped Jason Buenaobra in 6 rounds, after almost 2 years out of the ring. Although expressed some really worrying comments after the bout, at least for fans wanting to see him in the ring long term, his return did leave us salivating at the potential bouts he could be involved in, if he sticks around.
As fans we would love to see Higa's motivation return, but for that to happen he'll need fights that excite him and get the juices going. No easy bouts, just tough, testing, exciting ones. With that in mind, here are Five For... Daigo Higa.
1-Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1, 13)
If we're looking at bouts that intrigue us there are very, very, very few times we'll ever list Guillermo Rigondeaux, however we would love to see how his defense, movement, and 39 year old legs hold out against the incessant, high octane pressure of Higa. If Higa needs a fight to excite him, get his motivation up and make him want to fight, a bout against a world level name, for the WBA "regular" title should be the type of bout that does just that. Yes this is an extremely tough bout for Higa, but maybe the type of bout he needs to reignite his love for the sport.
2-Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai (48-1-1, 38)
Of course Higa isn't the only fighter who has moved up from Flyweight to Bantamweight in recent years, and another was Thailand's Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai. On paper a bout between Higa and Nawaphon might not excite those looking to see top names clashing but in reality this would be so much fun to watch. Both guys are aggressive, and style wise this should be a lot of fun. Higa would be favoured, but that doesn't change the fact that this style a really fun and interesting bout between two fighters who like to come forward and like to let heavy leather go. More notably than the style is the significance of this bout, with Nawaphon being ranked #2 by the WBC and said to be pushing for a world title fight. Higa Vs Nawaphon in a world title eliminator? Yes please!
3-Zolani Tete (28-4, 21)
If Higa can't get a true top level name, then it'd be fun to see him face a recent champion, and an interesting possibility there would be Zolani Tete. Tete was stopped last year, by Johnriel Casimero, but is still an awkward out for anyone in the division, has a decent name and would ask questions of Higa. If Higa isn't motivated then Tete would expose than, jab his head off and take a clear win, likely sending Higa into retirement, but if Higa can get up for this, he could potentially take out Tete and prove his value in the Bantamweight division. It's a very winnable bout, if Higa can get up for it.
4-Petch Sor Chitpattana (54-1, 39)
Given Higa's only world ranking at the moment is the WBC it's worth looking at who's around him in the WBC rankings, and once such fighter is Petch Sor Chitpattana, who is ranked really close to Higa. Not only are both world ranked but both men love to come forward, both like to let leather go, both are tough and stylistically this should be something truly special. It would be one of the rare times that Higa would be up against a man who may be able to match him physically, and take his punishment, and would be a really fun fight to watch. It lacks something in terms of importance, but as a spectacle this would be sensational to watch.
5-Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12)
We're back to thinking of Higa against a recent champion, and why not go up against someone known in Japan for being a previous Naoya Inoue opponent right? So with that in mind Emmanuel Rodriguez seems a perfect choice. Like Petch and Nawaphon the Puerto Rican former world champion is ranked in the WBC, in fact he's #3 with the WBC, behind Nonito Donaire and Nawaphon, and a bout between Higa and Rodriguez would be something to get very excited about. Rodriguez is still a solid name in the division, he's world ranked, and would give Higa an opponent who can ask questions of him. Style wise this isn't the best out there for Higa, but it's certainly a very significant bout, and could, potentially, even help him secure a US debut, which could play a major part in helping with his motivation.
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).