By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Former WBO Asia Pacific welterweight champ Keita Obara’s forfeiture of his regional belt was like a nightmare, where a typical double knockdown happened with Obara staying temporarily flat to be unable to resume fighting but Filipino challenger Alvin Lagumbay regaining his feet earliest to wrest the belt via second round demolition this April.
In their grudge fight Obara (20-3-1, 18 KOs), 147, impressively regained his title as he this time respected the awesome power of WBC#15 Lagumbay (10-3, 9 KOs), 145.5, carefully outboxed and finally decked the Filipino champ twice to prompt the referee’s intervention at 1:08 of the third round in a scheduled twelve on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
The 23-year-old Filipino kept swinging his trademark roundhouse left hooks either from the orthodox or the southpaw stance. The first round witnessed Obara, the taller and muscular Japanese at 31, connected with a short countering right that had the swinger down on the seat of his pants. Keita, in round two, had him in trouble with more accurate and effective combos to have Lagumbay returning to his corner like a sleepwalker. Turning loose in the next session, the hard-punching Japanese swarmed over the fading foe with a flurry of punches and sent him sprawling to the deck with the ref Fukuchi calling a halt.
Obara, jubilant on his recollection of the belt, once fought Eduard Troyanovsky in quest of the IBF 140-pound belt in Russia only to be knocked out of the ring with a single shot in the second round. Keita moved up to the 147-pound category thereafter. Fight fans here love watching Obara fight since, win or lose, Obara always shows thrilling fights by knockouts. He suffered all three setbacks within the distance.
Obara, a year his junior in the boxing club of Toyo University to future Olympic gold medalist and WBA titlist Ryota Murata, wishes to follow Murata’s footstep and gain a world throne in the paid ranks. Once serving as a sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, Obara is eager to participate in a world title go in the 147-pound category.