Seigo Yuri Akui Pulls Off the Upset Win Over Artem Dalakian
The old warhorse of the flyweight division, Artem Dalakian (22-1, 15 KOs), put the WBA title on the line against Japanese challenger, Seigo Akui (19-2-1, 11 KOs), at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
Dalakian is the division’s longest reigning current world champion. He’s also the least talked-about fighter by followers of the lower-weight divisions. He won the title with a unanimous decision victory over Brian Viloria in February 2018.
However, the champion has been plagued by inactivity. This title defense is only his fifth fight in the last five years. In his previous outing, the 36-year-old was lucky to retain the title in a controversial unanimous decision over David Jimenez in January 2023.
Akui entered the fight as the mandatory challenger by the WBA. The challenger doesn’t have anything close to the world-level experience of Dalakian. However, Akui is a talented fighter who can box and is motivated by fighting for a world title against the backdrop of home area fans rooting for on.
NOT EXCITING BUT EFFECTIVE
Dalakian loves to use his feet to avoid shots and frustrate his opponents, then score with two and three-punch combinations. The challenger was the aggressor, cutting off the ring and working the body whenever he got on the inside. He was making Dalakian use his legs and exert a lot of energy.
The champion continued to circle the ring during the middle rounds. He’d score with an occasional jab, fire off a combination, then hold the challenger. However, Akui started to close the distance and land with combinations. In the championship rounds, the constant movement took its toll. Dalakian was visibly tired and struggling to make it to the final bell.
Ultimately, the judges scored the fight in favor of the challenger by unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111, 119-109) to become the new WBA flyweight champion. After the decision was announced, Dalakian stormed out of the ring in protest.
While this reporter felt the right man won, the fight was closer than the scores indicated. With the victory, Akui becomes the first fighter from his hometown of Okayama, Japan to win a world title.