The Bantamweight final at the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year saw the hard hitting Haruki Ishikawa (6-1, 5) [石川春樹] battle against southpaw Yusei Fujikawa (4-1, 1) [藤川祐誠] in a very entertaining 4 round contest..
The fight started with a typical pressure offense form Ishikawa, who looked to get inside and go to work. Fujikawa however used his feet brilliantly, moving well and using his southpaw stance well. It was a close round, but one we felt Ishikawa just nicked. The second round was a clearer one, with Ishikawa taking the round based on his work rate and aggression.
In round 3 Fujikawa decided to fight fire with fire and he stood toe-to-toe with Ishikawa. For Fujikawa the eye catching work on the inside was his body work, though Ishikawa mixed his shorts brilliantly, landing some excellent uppercuts. It was a tough round to score, with Fujikawa seemingly landing more blows, and pushing Ishikawa backwards, but taking the harder blows. The final round was much like round 3, except with the intensity, from both men, cranked up in a round that saw both men standing in front of the other and letting their hands go.
The choice to go toe to toe from Fujikawa turned out to be a pivotal one, as he took the majority decision, 39-37 twice and 38-38, to take the win and the Rookie crown. The body shots he landed really were the key to the win here.
Despite the result we're really looking forward to seeing more of Ishikawa in the coming year.
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