Prior to being able to make his mark on the Heavyweight stage Ishida will need to have a public sparring session, which is set to take place on January 11th against the 28 year old Yamato Fujinaka (4-3, 1).
Ishida, who last fought in August against Elly Pangaribuan at Middleweight, has had to take part in this public spar due to the drastic move up in weight. The JBC, who are being cautious about the move, want to know whether or not Ishida could cope at Heavyweight before allowing him to compete in an actual fight in the division.
The move, which is almost unprecedented, is certainly ambitious on Ishida's behalf though the 6'1" fighter seems to have even bigger dreams. It appears he doesn't just want to make the move to Heavyweight but that he also wants to become the Japanese Heavyweight champion.
To become the Japanese champion Ishida won't just have to qualify as a Heavyweight but he will, of course, also need to beat the champion. This would mean that Ishida would need to beat Kyotaro Fujimoto (8-1, 5), or who ever beats Fujimoto. It's expected that if Ishida is granted a Heavyweight ranking he will meet Fujimoto on April 30th in what would be a major clash on the domestic stage.
For those interested in watching Ishida's spar with Fujinaka, it will be on the same card as Yoshitaka Kato's OPBF title defense against Masayoshi Nakatani. Sadly it seems that it won't be televised though if you're able to get to the Korakuen Hall we'd advise checking the show out.