By Jake Donovan
Pedro Guevara fights away from home for the first time as a pro, but is confident of leaving Japan with the biggest win of his career along with his first major title in the process.
The 24-year old arrived in Tokyo last week and has immediately taken to his surroundings ahead of his upcoming clash with Akira Yaegashi. The two collide for a vacant 108 lb. title Tuesday at Metropolitan Gym in Tokyo, with the belt made available by Naoya Inoue, who jumps two weight classes to vie for Omar Narvaez’ 115 lb. belt in the evening’s main event.
Yaegashi (20-4, 10KOs) is well-versed at the top level, enjoying a brief but violent strawweight title reign before serving as World flyweight champion for nearly 18 months. The reign ended in September, suffering a 9th round stoppage at the lethal hands of unbeaten Roman Gonzalez.
The punishing affair with Gonzalez is added to an archive of brutal slugfests quickly compiled just over the past three years. Yaegashi was on the right end of 2011’s Fight of the Year, scoring a 10th round stoppage of Pornsawan Porpramook to win a strawweight belt. Eight months later, Yaegashi conceded his crown to Kazuto Ioka in a 12-round war that marked the first time in history that two reigning titlists from Japan met in a unification bout.
By comparison, Guevara is sorely lacking in experience at the top level and still a bit unproven when it comes to surviving in the trenches. Perhaps Tuesday night in Tokyo provides the opportunity to validate his credentials in that regard, if it comes to that.
Given their fighting styles, both fighters are counting on that possibility. In fact, Guevara is looking forward to it.
“It doesn’t bother me that I’m in (Yaegashi’s) backyard,” insists Guevara (23-1-1, 15KOs), whose lone title fight came more than two years ago. John Riel Casimero boldly marched into Guevara’s hometown of Mazatlan, Mexico to take a well-earned split decision.
Often it’s cliché to claim that a loss is meant to be taken as a learning experience, but Guevara used the setback as just that. Five straight wins have followed, including decisions over former titlists Raul Garcia and Mario Rodriguez in back-to-back fights in 2013.
“The hometown crowd will be there to motivate Yaegashi, but it will also motivate me to give the fight of my life,” Guevara promises. “Mexican fighters always deliver great battles, even when in their rival’s home. The fans will see a great battle, but I am confident in my skills and experience to come home with the green (WBC) belt.”
The bout will air live on Fuji TV in Japan, and TyC Sports in Argentina and the United States.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox