Today, ahead of that bout, Maebara took part in open training session with the popular and well known Nobuhiro Ishida (27-11-2, 11), who retired this year after losing a split decision in a Japanese Heavyweight title fight.
The session saw the two men linking up, as they have done numerous times in the past, and sparring in what was interesting session.
Aged 40 Ishida looked in great shape and held his own in terms of skills however the key thing that was noted was that Maebara had the speed and strength to force Ishida on to the retreat, almost at will. He'll be hoping to use that same strength, speed and power when he faces Shibata in what should be a genuine intriguing test for the 22 year old hopeful.
Given that the two men had sparred in the past, and had shown a lot of respect to each other, it was interesting to note that Ishida seemed to feel that Maebara had improved markedly from when they first stepped in the ring together. That could well be bad news for Shibata, who at 33 seems to be on the back end of his career.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)