The 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final at Lightweight saw the popular George Tachibana (7-3, 2) [橘ジョージ] take on 19 year old Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) [石脇麻生], in what proved to be a highly entertaining 5 round brawl.
Early on it looked like Tachibana was going to have things mostly his own way. He seemed to start fast and was landing clean shots through much of the first round, with the stubborn Ishiwaki firing back being typically coming off second best. Tachibana would again seem to be in charge in round 2, thanks especially to his body shots, which he landed time and time again.
From round 3 the momentum began to change, with Ishiwaki being more than just stubborn, but actually being hungry and taking the fight to Tachibana. Ishiwaki's charge struggled through round 4, as Tachibana did all he could to try and slow the younger man down but he couldn't discourage the tough youngster. In fact it seemed like Tachibana took as much out of himself as he took out of Ishiwaki, who had a huge final round, likely feeling he needed to score at least a knockdown to win.
After 5 rounds we went to the scorecards, with the judges scoring it 48-47 Tachibana, 48-47 Ishiwaki and....48-47 to Tachibana who took the win by a narrow margin.
Despite losing we were really impressed by Ishiwaki who seems to have a big future ahead of him, given his age, toughness, energy and desire we are really excited to see where his career goes from this loss.
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