The bout began with Ishida using his jab and straight right hand to try and win rounds and saw numerous messy moments with both men holding and falling in on each other, with Ishida trying to neutralise the power edge of the champion, and both waiting for the other to throw first. It was certainly not high paced action but yet it was compelling and high competitive.
After 5 rounds the open scoring was announced with Ishida in a slight lead courtesy of cards that read 48-47, twice, and 48-48.
Sadly for the challenger it did seemed like Fujimoto began to find his rhythm and in rounds 6 and 7 the champion took over making things really interesting on the cards which all had to have had him going into the final 3 rounds.
Those final 3 rounds were going to decide the outcome of the fight though none of them were clear cut with each one being competitive and each one being up for debate. Sadly for Ishida however only one of the judges favoured him during those final rounds and as a result Fujimoto recorded his 3rd defense of the Japanese title.
Although Ishida came up short the 39 year old should be proud of his performance which was better than many would have expected. Sadly however it could well be the end for him as a professional fighter and it was his second loss to Fujimoto following an 8 round decision loss last year. For Fujimoto however the result could move him towards some really interesting bouts, such as an OPBF title bout with the unbeaten Joseph Parker, though he may want to pick his future opponents very carefully.
For fans wanting to watch this it will aired on TBS in Japan on Saturday at 26:53. For UK fans it will at at 18:53 whilst our friends on the East Coast of America will want to tune in at 13:53.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)