Veteran Luis De La Rosa (24-5-1) is slated to face Ryoichi Taguchi on December 31st in Tokyo as he attempts to take the WBA World Light Flyweight Title back home with him to Cartagena.
Against Taguchi, De La Rosa does not have an easy task. Taguchi has a (22-2-1) overall record and this will be the second defense of the WBA belt. His last loss came in August of 2013 to Naoya Inoue, the undefeated 22 year old phenom who has moved up in weight since, and that match went to Inoue by a narrow margin. The judges saw it (98-92, 98-93 and 97-94) in favor of Inoue, and Taguchi has not lost since.
But the 30 year old Colombian finds himself deeply motivated by getting another chance at a world title. He rose to fame in his home country back in August of 2010, when he faced Raul Garcia (28-1-1) for a piece of the WBO Minimumweight title, but the judges awarded the match to the visiting Garcia by split decision (114-113, 114-113 for Garcia and the third judge had it for De La Rosa (115-112).
Since then, De La Rosa, who is affectionately nicknamed “El Chino” has been known as “the champion without a crown”. De La Rosa has gone an unfortunate (0-5) in title bouts since, further solidifying his title of uncrowned champion.
Nevertheless, De La Rosa states he is fighting at the highest level in his career, and that this opportunity to fight Taguchi came about because of his July of 2014 match with China's ShimingZou in Macao where he put on a terrific fight in a losing effort. The experience of the long trip to Asia and the world level competition have De La Rosa primed and looking for a win.
Right now, the sport books have Taguchi a prohibitive (-2500) favorite 24 hours before the fight, with De La Rosa returning at (+1400).