Those who hadn't seen them fight before, were unlikely to even give the bout any attention at all however those who had seen their first bout, which took place last year, knew what to expect when these two got in to the ring, and boy did they deliver.
From the opening moments this seemed more like round 9 of their rivalry than round 1 of fight #2. Furuhashi, a little terrier in the ring, tried to snap as Ishimoto's heels whilst the champion looked to establish his range and soon found a home for his right hand at range. That range was hard to keep though with Furuhashi regularly getting up close and forcing Ishimoto into a war.
Despite Furuhashi having his moments early rounds the judges all felt Ishimoto was in control, and had the bout 49-46, twice, and 50-45 to the defending champion.
By round 8 it seemed like Furuhashi would need a stoppage to win, but he wasn't giving up and fought like a man possessed, actually hurting Ishimoto at one point with the champion beginning to slow markedly. The slower Ishimoto became the more it seemed possible for Furuhashi to turn it around, and in round 9 both just let shots go in a round of the year contender. It was an amazing round and set us up for round 10.
In round 10 the pace continued to be hot with both men bleeding, Ishimoto badly from the nose, though it was clear that Furuhashi had pretty much given his all. As the two traded blows in the final round Furuhashi's legs began to buckle and that was enough for referee, and former fighter, Biney Martin to stop the action, almost taking a shot in the process.
For Ishimoto the bout was his second defense, and it was a draining yet brilliant one that will likely take a lot out of both fighters going forward. Sadly for Furuhashi the defeat is his 3rd in 4 bouts, and his first career stoppage. Likely ending his dreams of ever winning a Japanese title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp and boxmob.jp)