By Joe Koizumi
Elongated Nicaraguan #2 Cristofer Rosales (27-3, 18 KOs), 111.5, impressively acquired the WBC flyweight belt as he aggressively battered former titlist Daigo Higa (15-1, 15 KOs), 114, with sickle-like uppercuts and Higa’s corner finally signaled a surrender at 1:14 of the ninth round on Sunday in Yokohama, Japan. From the outset, the taller Nicaraguan took the leadoff with solid left uppercuts following left-right combos and hurt the ex-champ who had forfeited his belt on the scale—from all angles. Higa exclusively fought back with body shots, but Rosales looked more effective in the close quarters. After the fourth, the open scoring system indicated 39-37 twice for Rosales, 39-37 for Higa.
The fifth and sixth saw Cristofer, a year his senior at 23, connect with left and right uppercuts to the face and midsection to weaken the still game but fading ex-champ. Higa, however, furiously attempted to retaliate with two-fisted attacks to the breadbasket in rounds seven and eight, while Rosales fought back hard without retreating in the center of the ring. After the eighth, the interim tallies were as follows: 77-75, 79-73 for Rosales, 76-76.
In the ninth and fatal session, Rosales had him at bay with solid and effective combinations that had Higa retreating. Then Higa’s corner finally made up its mind and asked the third man to halt the proceedings. The Nicaraguan new titlist looked like a Flaco Explosivo (explosive thin man) such as the late Alexis Arguello, his country’s great idol.