By Jake Donovan
All fighters slated for Friday's big show in Tokyo were on point during Thursday's pre-fight weigh-in. Headlining the show, Akira Yaegashi attempts the fourth defense of the World flyweight crown as he faces unbeaten Román Gonzalez.
Yaegashi (20-3, 10KOs) came in exactly at the 112 lb. flyweight limit. The bout is his first since a 9th round stoppage of Odilon Zaleta this past April. On the same show, Gonzalez scored a 4th round stoppage of Juan Purisima in his final tune-up.
Gonzalez (39-0, 33KOs) weighed slightly lighter than the defending champion, tipping the scales at a chiseled 111.75 lb. A win will make him just the second fighter ever from Nicaragua to win major titles in three weight classes, having previously enjoyed title reigns at strawweight and junior flyweight. The only other to perform the feat is the late Alexis Arguello.
Yaegashi also previously served as a strawweight titlist. The reign was short-lived but action packed. His title win came in 2011's Fight of the Year, stopping Pornsawan Porpramook in the 10th round of perhaps the best fight in strawweight history. The reign lasted eight months, dropping a close decision to countryman Kazuto Ioka in their 12-round war, marking the first time ever that two titlists from Japan met in a unification bout.
In the televised co-feature, precocious junior flyweight champ Naoya Inoue makes the first defense of his crown as he faces Samartiek Kokietgym.
Both fighters easily made weight for their 108 lb. title fight. Inoue (6-0, 5KOs) weighed 107.75 lb., his lowest weight since turning pro less than two years ago. Kokietgym came in slightly lighter at 107.25 for his first major title fight.
Inoue star claimed his title just days before his 21st birthday, with rousing 6th round knockout of Adrian Hernandez this past April. The bout came on the same card that featured Yaegashi and Gonzalez in their most recent fights.
Kokietgym (17-4, 5KOs) enters riding a nine-fight win streak, though entirely against nondescript competition. His last loss came in April '12, dropping a 12-round decision to Randy Petalcorin, who recently claimed an interim 108 lb. title. The 29-year old challenger is 0-3 in fights outside of his native Thailand.
Both bouts will air live on Fuji TV in Japan. The main event will also air live in Gonzalez' Nicaragua home land on Canal 4, as well as its streaming service .
Akira Yaegashi, 112 lb. vs. Román Gonzalez, 111.75 lb - 12 rounds, flyweight
Naoya Inoue, 107.75 lb. vs. Samartiek Kokietgym, 107.25 lb. - 12 rounds, junior flyweight
Ryota Murata, 161.25 lb. vs. Adrian Luna, 162 lb. - 10 rounds, middleweight
Ryo Matsumoto, 117.5 lb. vs. Denkaosan Kaovichit, 117.75 lb. - 8 rounds, bantamweight
Takuma Inoue, 111.75 lb. vs. Chanachai Sor Siamchai, 112 lb. - 8 rounds, flyweight
Genji Ishida, 121.5 lb. vs. Kazuki Sanpei, 121.75 lb. - 4 rounds, super bantamweight
Tags: Roman Gonzalez , Akira Yaegashi , Ryota Murata , Naoya Inoue , Takuma Inoue , Gonzalez-Yaegashi , Gonzalez vs. Yaegashi
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox