Boxing, at it's most enjoyable, comes when well matched fighters are competitive not just in terms of ability but also style and mentality. That was seen perfectly today at the Korakuen Hall when Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8-1, 7) battled against Gakuya Furuhashi (17-6-1, 7) in a thoroughly enjoyable 8 round Super Bantamweight battle.
The bout was essentially to find the next Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger, and set up a return with Yukinori Oguni. Given what was at stake had expected a good, tactical affair with both men giving a good performance, but not one that would have left us really excited to watch the fight back.
What we had expected turned out to be us selling the men very short as they put on an enthralling 8 round back and forth war. It wasn't just a war however, but instead it was a highly skilled war, with both men keeping a high level of activity and never resorting to throwing wild shots. Instead it was a high octane classical boxing contest that wasn't just exciting to watch but also incredibly competitive.
Through the first 4 rounds there wasn't a "right" or "wrong" way to score the bout. The first 4 rounds were too close to call either way and a very rare 40-40 would have been an acceptable score. Then we saw Ishimoto take control, claiming rounds 5 and 6 by using his experience. They were the first clear rounds to either man though were quickly neutralised with the more experienced man being deducted a point in round 7 for holding. The deduction was a harsh one but closed the scorecards up leading into the last round of the bout.
With both men knowing it was all to play for the dug deep and gave us a genuine Japanese round of the year contender with both managing to find the energy to trade to the bell.
Sadly for Furuhashi he hadn't quite done enough with the judges giving Ishimoto the win by scores of 77-76, twice, and 77-75. Scored that were reflective of the competitive nature of the bout.
The win should net Ishimoto at the winner of the upcoming Japanese title fight between Oguni and Taiki Minimoto, which will take place on September 30th. As for Furuhashi he'll come again and may well view rematches with either Ishimoto or Oguni as his targets for 2016, neither of those rematches would be poor bouts.
For fans who missed the bout we've included the full fight video below
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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