The bout was Sanpei's first defense of the title but saw the little known Ishii start fast. In the opening round Ishii impressed with smart movement and he seemed to land the heavier and more telling blows, despite Sanpei often being the man coming forward. It was a good start that just got better from Ishii as he began to break the champion down in round 2, dropping Ishii in the final moments of round 2 with a stiff left hand to secure a 10-8 round.
The only negative against Ishii is that the knockdown came at the very end of the round, and the minute's rest gave Sanpei time to clear his head. Despite that break Sanpei continued to struggle and lost round 3 to fall even further behind the challenger, who look to score the finish in round 3.
Sanpei saw off the storm and amazingly dropped a tiring Ishii in round 4, as the bout began to turn on it's head. Sanpei knew that his man was hurt, tired and wearing away from a combination of the high pace of the fight, and the body shot of Sanpei, which were coming in thick and fast through round 4.
Ishii tried to turn the fight back in his favour at the start of round 5, throwing everything he had into one big attack. Sadly for him he really did leave himself with nothing, gambling it all to try and stop the champion. Sanpei then went on the offensive, landing big head shots on to a clearly tired Ishii, who did little more than try to survive. The shots kept coming from Sanpei until exhaustion sent Ishii down. A follow up from Sanpei saw Ishii take his second official knockdown and Sanpei then went for the finish, eventually forcing the referee to step in.
The bout may not go down as a FOTY contender or anything like that, but it really showed what the Japanese Youth title meant to both men, and was a genuine mid-week treat for fight fans, both at the Korakun Hall and on youtube.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)