One of the great things about digging into the Closet for a Classic is that we can often find gems that really do deserve to be rewatched even if both of the fighters involved are relatively forgotten today. Today we look at one such bout that took place in the early 1980's and was all out action bout that was fought at an excellent skill level and despite the fact neither man had a great deal of power the bout was fantastic, high tempo, high level chess.
Katsuo Tokashiki (17-1-1, 3) vs Hwan Jin Kim (22-1-2, 8) II
In December 1981 Japan's Katsuo Tokashiki dethroned Korean Hwan Jin Kim, to become the WBA Light Flyweight champion. Notably Kim had won the title just 5 months earlier, stopping Pedro Flores who was known in Japan for ending the lengthy reign of Yoko Gushiken. Despite winning the belt in July he had managed to fit in a defense before losing to Tokashiki.
We're not going to talk about that first bout however, but their second bout, which took place just 13 months later. By this Tokashiki had ran up 3 defenses whilst Kim had bounced back with 2 low level wins.
Unlike most fights this didn't have a feeling out round, instead we saw both men looking to establish their jabs at a high tempo, from there on things only got better as they moved in and out of range, trading sharp punches on the inside and exchanging jabs as they tried to get close.
Through the rounds the jabs started to drop off a little bit in terms of number, however that was due to the fact the two men were getting closer to each other, and the middle rounds saw both men working more on the inside and trading more hooks and uppercuts up close. Despite the increase in power shots both stayed technical, there wasn't any significant drop in form, shots remained crisp and sharp from both, though neither had the power to really shake the other.
The form of both men only really began to falter in the later rounds as both began to tire.
Despite the bout going on long, and with Kim fighting with a bust nose in the later stages, the two men only got more intense in the later rounds, rather than slowing down, giving us an amazing 15 round bout, and a brilliant, exciting, thrilling battle of wills and skills.
If you've never seen this one, we can't recommend it enough. A genuinely brilliant fight!
The domestic Japanese boxing scene has given us so many thrillers over the years and has seen fighters develop individual reputations as men who need to be watched due to their exciting styles, all action bouts and never say die attitudes. They are the fighters who are the life blood of the Japanese scene and are the ones who attract fans and help keep fans. They are a special breed of fighter who are the fighters who provide thrills and spills, and the high octane action that we all love. Today we look at a bout between two such fighters, who fought twice in the 1980's and gave us two amazing battles.
Naoto Takahashi (11-0, 7) vs Mitsuo Imazato (22-10, 12) II
In February 1987 the rising, exciting, and good looking Naoto Takahashi stopped veteran Mitsuo Imazato in 5 rounds to become the Japanese Bantamweight champion. That first bout was tremendous, and just 4 months later they would meet again in a rematch that was short but all action.
Takahashi, for those who aren't aware, was developing a reputation as the type of fighter who provided action. He was a very talented boxer-puncher but found himself being dragged into wars, giving up his skills and speed to engage in battles, going punch for punch with opponents and put on a show for fans. He was technically solid as an outside fighter, boxing behind his jab, but all too often ended up in the wrong type of fight, something that plagued him through his career and eventually curtailed a promising career way too early.
Imazato on the other hand was 24 year old veteran of the Japanese scene. He was a 2-time Bantamweight champion and had been a fairly dominant force on the domestic title picture, with a 9-1 (7) record in Japanese title fights. He had faltered when he had stepped up, to either Super Bantamweight or OPBF title level, but was a very good domestic championship level fighter who had given a lot of excitement through his career, and had taken a lot of punishment since his debut in 1979.
Their first bout had been thrilling, with Imazato being taken out in the 5th round, the best round of the fight and he was desperate to reclaim his title. He applied pressure and tried to control the bout with his stiff, hard jabs. He however lacked the speed of Takahashi who got to his range and boxed behind his jab for much of the first round. By the end of the round however Takahashi was getting cocky and Imazato was starting to get closer, the tempo was heating up.
In round 2 the tempo heated up drastically. Again the key punches in the early going was the jab but with Imazato pressing the he was able to drag Takahashi into a fire fight and by the mid-way point of the round we were seeing a tear up. Sadly for Imazato he was on the wrong end of it and a sharp left hook dropped him. With a minute of the round left when then saw the two men stand trade bombs. Again Takahashi got the better of it, sending his man down again, but their was no quit in Imazato.
The bout was already matching up to the first between the two as we entered round 3...which is where we'll leave you with something of this Closet Classic to enjoy without us spoiling the entire contest.
This is a must watch, and a great example of how exciting the Japanese domestic scene can be and how brutal the finishing can be.
One of the big issues with the lower weights are the lack of unification bouts. The divisions are stacked with talent but we rarely see the best face the best, and instead we see a lot of fighters establishing long reigns against lesser fighters. A great case of that is seeing the reign of Wanheng Menayothin, who has faced a string of lesser challengers rather than unifying with the likes of Knockout CP Freshmart. Thankfully when we do see the best fight the best we usually get something spectacular, as we saw in 2014 when the IBF and WBO Minimumweight world titles were unified in one of the best bouts in recent years.
Katsunari Takayama (27-6-0-1, 10) vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2, 13)
August 9th 2014 will go down in history as the date we got one of the greatest Minimumweight bouts of all time. It saw IBF Minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama travel to Mexico to take on WBO champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr. The bout delivered 12 rounds of beautiful brutality from two men who stylistically gelled perfectly and gave us none stop action, some amazing trading sequences and yet a technically solid performance from both.
Entering the bout Takayama was a 31 year old Japanese warrior who had done what most didn't think of. He had handed over his JBC license to pursue the IBF and WBO titles, travelled to South Africa, the Philippines and Mexico in pursuit of those belts. He wanted to be a grandslam champion, he wanted to own all 4 major titles and went about it the right way. Not only did he want to take titles but he also put on great fights, building a reputation with hardcore fans for all action bouts, incredible work rate, amazing toughness and his willingness to battle through adversity.
At 21 years old Rodriguez was a rising youngster who was really only known for 2 fights, in 2013 he had lost to Roman Gonzalez, being stopped in 7 rounds, but had become a world champion just 6 months later, bullying and stopped the then unbeaten WBO champion Merlito Sabillo. Rather than have an easy first defense he looked to unify and just 5 months after his title win he took on Takayama, looking to unify before out growing the division. He had shown real tenacity, incredible strength and size for a Minimumweight but looked like the type of fighter who's time in the division could end at any time due to a struggle to make the limit.
Given the styles of the men we knew this had the potential to be something amazing, and yet the bout easily exceeded the expectations.
At the opening bell Takayama rushed at Rodriguez. It didn't take long however to see Takayama trying to box and move, using his foot work, speed and combinations whilst Rodriguez began to apply pressure, using his physicality to walk down Takayama. Despite the differing styles the two were never apart for more than a few seconds.
This was the type of bout where even those who typically ignore the smaller guys managed to get caught up the action and enjoy a pulsating, 12 round war. This is what the little guys can do, and this is something every fan should watch, rewatch and watch once again.
Enjoy our latest, Closet Classic.
One of the great things about boxing today is the ease of access to international content, with streams and feeds, both legal and illegal, available from all around the globe. Whilst we, as fans, have become more critical about match making we have to see the access to global fights as being something to celebrate from this current era of boxing. Watching fights from around hasn't always been easy and today's Closet Classic looks at a bout that few would have seen live, but has since become a must watch bout for all fans of the sport. It's become one of the great examples of styles making fights and also helped us all learn the two of the tricky to spell names of recent years.
Somsak Sithchatchawal (45-1-1-1, 35) Vs Mahyar Monshipour (28-2-2, 19)
In 2006 streaming of boxing from around the globe was just starting to take off, at least for the hardcore and nerdy. It wasn't as easily accessible as it is now, and when Thailand's Somsak Sithchatchawal travelled to France to face French based Iranian warrior Mahyar Monshipour few outside of France would likely have seen it live. Despite that world of mouth saw the contest being widely regarded as the Fight of the Year, and having several Round of the Year contenders. It was a special, special bout.
Entering the contest Monshipour was the WBA Super Bantamweight champion. He had won the belt in 2003, stopping fellow Frenchman Salim Medjkoune in the 12th round and reeled off 5 defenses, all by stoppage. The champion was unbeaten since 1998 and had reeled off 20 straight wins, with 15 of those coming inside the distance. He had earned the "Little Tyson" moniker and stopped the likes of Yoddamrong Sithyodthong and Shigeru Nakazato during his title reign whilst becoming a star in France.
Somsak on the other hand was a total unknown outside of Thailand, with only 3 of his 48 bouts taking place outside of his homeland, with the most notable of those being a win in South Africa against Luyanda Mini back in 1998. Coming into the bout the single most notable result on Somsak's record was his loss, back in 1998 to Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, and there was little to suggest he was going to put up much of a fight against the destructive champion.
With Canal + Sport showing the bout in France and a packed Palais des Sport Marcel Cerdan in Levallois-Perret hosting the bout it seemed almost certain the local favourite was going to continue his fantastic run. Afterall he was the champion and the Thai chap was an unknown challenger. It seemed everyone expected this to be another straight forward assignment for Monshipour. They were in for a rude awakening however with the local hero being wobbled, and dropped in the first round. From there on we ended with a very, very special fight with an insane work rate from both men. It was champion pressing the fight, applying his intense pressure and the Thai being forced to fight with his back on the ropes. Despite being on the back foot Somsak was regularly landing clean counter shots and riding a lot of what was thrown his way.
Although the fighters were little guys, competing at 122lbs, the work rate was simply out of this world with none stop punching from the two guys. As early as round 3 it seemed that pace would catch up to one of the men, or the other, especially given that there was a lot of body shots being landed by both. The question wasn't so much a case of whether the bout would go 12 but who would wilt first from the war that was taking place.
We won't ruin anything else from this amazing fight, but it is well worthy of your time if you've never seen it before. If you have seen it, then you'll know it's worth a rewatch any time. Either way we're so lucky now that a match up like this is widely available and can be watched back with ease and that live streaming has taken off to the point where a bout like this can be watched so much easier than it could at the start of the millennium.
Back in the 1990's there was a number of very popular Japanese fighters all around at the same time. The most popular and well known of those was Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who even today is still a star in Japan and his name carries so much weight that his son is feeling the rub of sharing the same surname. Today we look at a classic featuring another of the big Japanese names from the 1990's and like Tatsuyoshi the man in question reached the top of the sport, and in fact got so popular Sega released a video game with his name on. Here we see that Japanese fighter taking on a hard hitting and determined Korean challenger in what is one of the most over-looked bouts of the 1990's.
Katsuya Onizuka (24-0, 17) Vs Hyung Chul Lee (17-4, 13)
The Japanese fighter we were alluding to was Katsuya Onizuka, who went by the nickname "Spanky K". Onizuka's popularity in Japan in the early to mid 1990's was perhaps only over-shadowed by that of Tatsuyoshi, though his success in the ring did make up for that in many ways. Onizuka had turned professional in 1988, won the Japanese Super Flyweight title in 1990 and then claimed the WBA Super Flyweight title in 1992, defeating Thanomsak Sithbaobay, in the first of 2 meetings. As the champion he would defend the title 5 times before facing Lee in September 1994. Unfortunately for Onizuka his reign was a poor one, with 4 of defenses coming by decision and several of those being questionable, with home town judges certainly helping him keep the title. He was a good fighter, but his popularity exceeded his skill, and by the time he fought Lee he was regarded as a lucky champion.
Hyung Chul Lee on the other hand was a relatively unknown fighter outside of Korea. He has lost 3 of his first 4 bouts, then lost in Japan to David Griman in 1990. The loss to Griman ended a 6 fight winning run for the Korean who fell to 7-1 (5). Following the Griman defeat Lee then began to find his form winning 10 in a row, albeit against limited opposition. Those wins saw him win, and defend, the South Korean Super Flyweight title and score 8 stoppages. He was looking like a destructive force, but was very much fighting at a level well under world class. Like many Korean fighters of the time however his will to win, high work rate and incredible toughness was always going to make him a nightmare for someone like Onizuka, who lacked world class power.
The fight started with both men looking to get their jabs into play, with Onizuka using his size advantage well and keeping Lee at range in the early going with his jab at footwork. It was however going to take more than a few jabs to get Lee's respect and whenever he managed to slip the jab the Korean made sure to crack Onizuka with a shot or two, often to the body. The game plans were clear, for Onizuka it was to chip away, win the rounds and take the fight, for Lee it was to slow the legs of Onizuka, land the body shots and take the fight to Onizuka later on. By round 2 Lee's tactic seemed to be the one winning out, and he was successfully dragging Onizuka into a war. By the end of round 2 it was clear we were going to get something exciting, though the worry was likely that Lee would have to do more than just trying to win the rounds. After all, Onizuka had his reputation as a fighter who was getting lucky with the judges.
As the rounds went on the fight became more and more engaging, with Lee closing the distance easier round by round, and Onizuka taking more punishment. Onizuka was landing the prettier stuff, the clean stuff, but Lee was landing the harder shots, he was the one making the fight and the one who was looking more comfortable with the pace. And from there we leave you to enjoy the bout, especially the brutally fantastic 9th round.
The sport of boxing has a number of fighters who are simply must watch action fighters. They are part of a small number of fighters who, win or lose, you must tune in to watch. They are the sort of fighters who put the fight fans first, winning second and their own long term health comes way down their list of priorities. They are the sort of fighters promoters love, fans adore but their own teams almost certainly hate. When we get two such fighters in the ring together we know we're in for something incredibly special.
Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-1, 23) vs Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3, 18)
When we talk about TV friendly fighters there are few, in recent memory, that were as TV friendly as Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai or Mexico's Jesus Soto Karass. Neither was world class, though both did face world class opposition, neither was the most talented, hardest hitting, slippery or skilled. What both did was provide action, excitement, thrills, spills, work rate and incredible toughness. In April 2016 the two men faced off, for the first of two bouts between the two warriors, and it was one of the best bouts of the year, even it was massively lacking in terms of exposure and attention.
As an amateur Kamegai went 57-12 (31) before turning professional in 2005. Many of his early career bouts were in Japan but in the later years of his career he was becoming a regular in an American ring, thanks to his combination of low cost and highly entertaining bouts. His limitations made him a must watch fighter, and although his results in the US were mixed, going 2-3-1 on US soil heading in to this bout, he was the sort of fighter fans tuned into see. He wasn't hard to find in the ring and was always coming forward.
The 34 year old Soto Karass was, in many ways, similar to Kamegai. He was cheap for promoters, willing to engage in wars and had a reputation for providing great fights, win or lose. Like Kamegai he like to let his hands go, have a fighter and trade shots from the off. He had seen better days before this fight, having taken punishment just 2 fights earlier against Keith Thurman, but had shown he was still relevant with wins against Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto in his previous 4 bouts.
When the bout was put together hardcore fight fans had high expectations and by the end of the opening round it was clear those expectations were going to be met as the two traded in a phone booth war. One man would take the lead, back the other up, land bombs, then have the tables turned with the other firing back. It was brilliant, breath taking, all action fun from the first round.
Not only was an exciting bout between two all action men, but better yet, it was hotly contested with nothing much separating the two fighters. Every time one fighter seemed to have some sustained success the other would fire off, coming back and take the initiative back.
When we talk about the greatest ever fights on British soil 2 of them actually feature a Korean, and they took place in the space of just a 6 of months back in the early 00's. The fights, which both took place in the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, were both stupidly violent, exciting and action packed bouts that saw both men putting it all on the line with a high intensity all action war. Here we look at the first of those two bouts, which pitted two real tough guys against each other in a bout for the vacant WBC Featherweight title.
In Jin Chi (27-2, 16) vs Michael Brodie (35-1, 23) I
Korean Warrior Chi was a relative unknown outside of Asia until 2001, when travelled to LA and battled Erik Morales for the WBC Featherweight title. It was only the second time Chi had left Korea and was his first loss in almost a decade, following a decision defeat on debut in 1991. Against Morales Chi proved himself as an insanely tough fighter who was unable to outbox Morales, but gave the Mexican great questions at times with his aggression and toughness. Through his 29 fight career up to this point he had won the Korea and OPBF Bantamweight titles, beating Jess Maca twice and holding other notable wins over the likes of Dino Olivetti and Samuel Duran.
Brodie on the other hand was a once beaten English fighter who was part of a rising boxing scene in the North West of England, with the likes of Ricky Hatton, Anthony Farnell and Michael Gomez, themselves dubbed the 3-amigos by some all coming through in the wake of Brodie's rise. To this point Brodie's only loss was had been a majority decision to Willie Jorrin in a bout for the WBC Super Bantamweight title, a loss that pretty much ended his days at 1222lbs and forced him up to Featherweight. Like Chi he was a tough guy, but he was technically a better boxer with smoother movement and had taken the British, Commonwealth and European titles at Super Bantamweight prior to facing Jorrin. Although a better pure boxer he was happy to engage in a war and that made for an interesting style clash with Chi.
After just a few seconds the fighters clashed heads. It was a hard clash, though saw no major injury to either, with Chi just needing a few seconds to recover. From then out the became a war, inside war of machismo, fire and desire, Chi got the better of it in round 2, dropping Brodie, who recovered and came back hard on Chi, really taking the fight to the Korean in round 3 and pinning him against the ropes, then Chi came back.
From then we got unadulterated violence with Brodie trying to break every rib in Chi's body with a sustained body attack whilst Chi soaked it up and responded with head shots, swelling the face of Brodie. It was a hard, hard man's fight, and one of those that takes a lasting toll on both men. The volume of hard, clean connects was through the rough and the bout swung one way then the other, with Brodie having a great run in the middle rounds, though had given a lot of effort with his body attack which hadn't been able to break down the Korean.
The bout was also well remembered for various controversial issues with the scoring, a fight almost breaking out between officials and promoters, and for the controversial nature resulting in their thrilling rematch 6 months later.
This is just an incredible fight and well worth watching if you're after some mindless violence!
Whilst we've looked at quite a lot of obscure fights in our Closet Classic series, we haven't yet looked at a fight featuring the fairer sex. With Victoriva Vol 5 coming up next week we felt this was the ideal time to change that, and look at one of the most brutal female fights out there. The bout resulted in one of the most graphic injuries in female boxing history, so forewarning there is some graphic scenes and this fight, despite being a closet classic, is certainly not for everyone.
Ju Hee Kim (13-1-1, 6) vs Jujeath Nagaowa (9-7-1, 5)
Back on September 12th 2010 in Anyang Stadium Korean fans gathered to see once beaten hopeful Ju Hee Kim continue her rise. She'd been beaten back in 2002, bu In Young Lee, but had rebuilt with 11 straight wins, taken a number of minor titles and had scored a very credible win over Tenkai Tsunami. Despite a 53 week break from the ring she was supposed to keep her winning run going as she faced off with rugged but limited Filipino journey-woman Jujeath Nagaowa, a diminutive little battler who had lost of her previous 3 by stoppage.
On paper Kim almost all the advantages a fighter could ask for. She was the slightly taller fighter, the one with real momentum, at 24 she was slightly more physically mature than the 23 year old Nagaowa, and of course had home advantage. Despite being a clear under-dog Nagaowa didn't care, and from the opening seconds she had Kim on the backfoot, forcing Kim to fight back. That allowed Kim a chance to show what she could do, as she unloaded some 2-handed combinations on the Filipino.
The good back and forth in the early going saw both fighters landing some clean headshots, and it was exciting, but it certainly didn't prepare us for what was to come.
With the two often trading combinations, and regularly fighting up close it was Nagaowa's type of fight, and by the start of round 3 her shots had already started to leave Kim with swelling around her right eye. That swelling would become a major part of the fight, with Kim's left eye beginning to swell soon afterwards.
For much of the bout, which only became more and more exciting, the Korean was fighting on heart alone, with her face resembling a Picasso painting, disfigured in a way that is just simply not seen in female boxing. It would have been easy for her to quit, citing her injuries. It would have been logical for the referee to interfere and the doctor to stop the fight. But this is Korea, and they weren't going to derail their new female hopeful who was forced to fight fire with fire through a truly grotesque injury.
Despite the injury this would still be a bout worthy of attention for the brilliant back and forth, the heart, determination and action. The injury just added to the drama and further dragged the crowd into the bout, getting them involved in doing all they could to urge Kim to dig deep.
This is a bout that won't convince people to give female boxing a shot, but shows that female boxing can be just as brutal and damaging as male boxing, and can be just as dramatic.
Many times a a card for one thing or another, and that single thing overshadows everything else. Sometimes that's fair, and the "thing" is really the only important part of a card, or a show. Other times however other great things get lost as a result, usually something on the under-card. Today's Closet Classic is a great example of that, with the bout being tucked away on a card headlined by In Jin Chi's bout with Rodolfo Lopez, a bout that not only saw Chi become a 2-time world champion but also the final bout of Chi's career. The bout we're going to be talking about isn't a particularly historic one, but is just the type of thing we love having in our Closet Classic section.
Hee Jae Cho (8-1, 4) vs Byung Joo Moon (5-5, 4)
Placed in the main support bout of Chi's contest with Lopez was a Korean Super Featherweight title bout between 30 year old challenger Byung Joo Moon and teenage champion Hee Jae Cho. On paper this looked like a mismatch, and given the attention the main event was given it was easy to ignore this one. That was, until the two men began to fight, and until they managed to put on a bout that really saw both men going through hell in pursuit of the W.
Cho had won the title 7 months prior to this bout, blowing out Dong Hoon Lim in the opening round. For him this bout was set as his first defense and a win would likely have set him on the path to some big bouts. Moon on the other hand was fighting in his first title bout, and he was the clear under-dog. Moon had lost his previous 2, and was almost a year removed from his last win. It was obvious this was supposed to be an easy defense for the fast rising teenager.
The problem for Cho is that no one had told Moon that he was there to lose, and from very early in the bout the challenger pressed the champion, unloading hard right hands and powerful left hooks on to the taller, younger and more technically well schooled champion. Cho tried to fight back, but as the fight went on he was dragged into a war with the stiff nosed and heavy handed champion.
Whilst the bout didn't start like a rocket, it built up a head of steam and by the time we gt into round 7 it was clear we were watching not just a very good bout, but a great fight. A fight that was the pure visual representation of the Korean style, focusing on aggression, heart and out put rather than defense and ring craft. Even when both were clearly exhausted they still dug deep and continued their war.
Amazingly both men would go on to fight for OPBF titles. Cho would win the Korean Lightweight title before facing Kengo Nagashima for the OPBF title, in another excellent fight, whilst Moon would go on to battle Takashi Uchiyama for OPBF Super Featherweight title, losing in 4 rounds to KO Dynamite.
The Japanese Super Bantamweight scene is one of the most deep and interesting scenes out there, and it has been for years with great fight after great fight after great fight. One of the things that has stood out has been the competitiveness of those fights, and we have been getting a really consistent run of fantastic, competitive, back and forth fights. The division really has been pouring out some absolute thrillers over the last few years, both in title bouts and none title bouts. Today we go into the Closet and draw out a brilliant Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight from 2016, and it really is a lost modern classic.
Yasutaka Ishimoto (28-8, 7) vs Gakuya Furuhashi (18-7-1, 8) II
In August 2015 Yasutaka Ishimoto, best known by US fans for his bouts in Macao against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Chris Avalos, scored a razor thin win over Gakuya Furuhashi in a thrilling 8 round bout. The result of that win was a Japanese title fight for Ishimoto who would narrowly beat Yusaku Kuga in a thriller to claim the vacant Japanese title. After winning the belt he would make his first defense against Furuhashi, who had fought to a draw in a previous title bout against Yukinori Oguni.
Fans outside of Japan may have heard of Ishimoto but not many will have seen him, outside of his Macao fights. To those in Japan however he was a hugely popular domestic level fighter and a man who had some of the noisiest fans in the sport at the time. When he fought the Korakuen Hall was packed, loud and had an even louder more excited atmosphere than usual. Although Ishimoto wasn't a world class talent, or a banger, his following was massive, and his style was nothing short of thrilling, with every fight being an action packed brawl.
Furuhashi wasn't quite a popular as Ishimoto, though like Ishimoto his style was based around action, brawling and fighting at a high pace, trading blows and engaging in a really fun stylistic match up. It was a style suited to fighters with more power, but one he used and one fans enjoyed. Like Ishimoto he was popular, and was popular, in part due to his ability to get involved in a tear up.
With two fighters who enjoyed a war facing off, with history from their first bout, it's self a thriller, we were expecting something special here. And it delivered!
The first round was high paced feeling out round, that got better and better as the round went on. The crowd buying into the action with applause and cheers almost from the first noteworthy punch. Through round two we were beginning to see a high tempo contest fought at mid range, both guys firing off jabs and trying to follow them up. It was a fight that suited Ishimoto and one that Furuhashi knew he had to change, and change he did stepping up the pace, and then being punished on the inside. He knew that for him to win he had to grit it out and turn it into a war, and by the mid rounds that was exactly what had happened, with Furuhashi raiding on the champion.
From there on the bout just became something special with grit and determination driving Furuhashi on, as he looked to win the title and avenge his prior loss to Ishimoto whilst Ishimoto himself sought to break down the challenger and in what was becoming a hotly contest fight. The crowd were cheering on the action, supporting a great fight and there was hardly an empty seat in the Hall as it began bouncing.
With Furuhashi pressing in the second half of the fight the it seemed like he could, potentially turn things around as the men began exchanging combinations of headshots.
In the end one man would stay standing, but both would walk out of the ring with their reputations enhanced and fans desperate to see more of both fighters, who had let it all hang out in a forgotten yet brilliant modern day war.
Please note - The sound used in this video was subdued due to the recording method, though the image should be excellent.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features