By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unheralded underdog, Filipino southpaw Alvin Lagumbay (10-2, 9 KOs), 146.5, astoundingly wrested the WBO Asia Pacific welterweight belt as he overcame his first visit to the deck in the opening round and his second trip to the canvas after an eye-catching double knockdown, and raised himself up earlier than the badly damaged defending champ, WBO#6/IBF#9 Keita Obara (19-3-1, 17 KOs), 146.75, scoring a spectacular knockout win at 2:36 of the second round on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
The Filipino attempted a go-for-broke attack from the start, kept stalking the circling champ and hit the canvas with Obara’s countering left hook in the first round. The second round witnessed Lagumbay keep on swinging southpaw lefts, when the champ Obara attempted to counter him again but Lagumbay also landed a vicious, more powerful shot with his left hand.
Both hit the deck, but Lagumbay could pulled himself up, while Obara whose back of the head badly hit the canvas couldn’t resume fighting though he barely stood up wobblingly. The champ was mercilessly counted out.
Lagumbay previously suffered a fourth-round TKO defeat at the hand of former amateur rookie Kazuki Saito, then only 3-0, last November, and Obara people might have underestimated the Filipino’s power. Less skillful and less experienced as he was, Lagumbay truly could punch and demonstrated a stunning upset.
This reporter remembered a famous story of a double knockdown in the world lightweight title bout in 1912 where defending champ Ad Wolgast and challenger Mexican Joe Rivers hit the deck almost simultaneously, but notorious referee Jack Welch pulled only Wolgast to his feet, and counted out Rivers to pointing the champ as the winner at Vernon, California.
Tonight’s scene was also reminiscent of a previous double knockdown of future WBA 160-pound champ Shinji Takehara, then OPBF titleholder, and Korean challenger Sung-Chun Lee landed a left hook each other at the same time to hit the canvas together in the eighth round with Takehara eventually emerging victorious on points in the end in their rematch in 1995.
Probably none would have imagined Obara’s defeat in such a shocking knockout. Obara previously fought Eduard Troyanovsky with the IBF 140-pound belt at stake only to be halted in the second session, having been knocked out of the ring in Moscow in 2016. Obara tonight suffered a first loss since then.