A light flyweight unification with serious slugfest potential is unfortunately kaput. IBF champion Felix Alvarado, who was set to challenge WBC kingpin Ken Shiro in Yokohama on December 23rd, has withdrawn from the fight due to a “lung illness.”
All signs pointed to this being an absolute banger. Alvarado (35-2, 30 KO) had knocked out 10 straight, including Randy Petalcorin in a bid for the vacant IBF belt, before settling for a decision in his inaugural defense against Reiya Konishi. Shiro (16-0, 9 KO) has stopped four of his last five, among them former champions Ganigan Lopez and Milan Melindo.
No word yet as to whether Shiro will stay on the card against a late replacement; either way, he’s 26 and Alvarado is 30, so it’s not like they won’t have time to try this matchup again in the near future. The show still includes Ryota Murata vs. Steven Butler in the main event and Moruti Mthalane’s IBF flyweight title defense against veteran Akira Yaegashi.