Early on in the bout it was Ishida's fast jab and sharp right hands that were the eye catching blows and they helped him take a lead when the scores were publicly announced after 5 rounds, with all 3 judges favouring the the talented champion. The shots that Ishida were landing where the "point scoring shots" but not the most damaging shots and Eto managed to do enough in a number of those rounds to keep things close.
In round 8 the bout began to turn significantly with Eto managing to come on strong. From then on it was a race against time for the challenger who seemed to know he had to try and over-turn the cards. The challenger wen tall out on an offensive march for the final 3 rounds and seemed to enjoy more success during those 3 rounds than he'd had in much of the rest of the fight. Not only was Eto coming on strong but Ishida was noticeably tiring and it was very clear he was struggling with the pace of the bout.
Sadly for the challenger it was too little too late and he could only convince one of the judges that he had deserved to win with the judges turning in cards of 97-93 and 96-95 to Ishida whilst the third judge favoured Eto 96-95.
After the fight Ishida apologised for his poor stamina which certainly resulted in a very difficult ending to the bout. If the bout had been 12 rounds it's likely we would have seen a new champion being crowned. If anything this tough struggle late on should make it clear that Ishida isn't ready for a world title bout, yet. Though he certainly is getting there and one more solid 10 rounder should be good preparation for a world title shot. Maybe a bout between Ishida and former champion Teiru Kinoshita would be a good option. For Eto he'll come again, this may have been his second loss in a Japanese title fight but he'll certainly come again and will almost certainly win a title somewhere down the line.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)