The Super Flyweight division has been a strange one in recent years. The WBC title has repeatedly had the best guys mixing for the title, but all the others have seen some awful match ups. The most notable of those has been the IBF title, which has seen Jerwin Ancajas defending against some dire competition. On December 28th we'll see Ancajas' next mandatory challenger being decided as Japan's Sho Ishida (28-1, 15) takes on former Ancajas opponent Israel Gonzalez (24-3, 11) in Osaka. The winner will be the next mandatory for the Filipino world champion, whilst the loser is unlikely to get another shot any time soon.
Japan's Sho Ishida was, for years, seen as the the underling of Kazuto Ioka. The two were close friends, and stablemates, training together at the Ioka gym under the watchful eye of Kazunori Ioka, Kazuto's father. Since then Kazuto has gone off on his own, retired, comeback, signed with an American promoter and began fighting out of a new gym. He has also moved up to Ishida's weight class and claimed the WBO title, becoming a 4 weight champion. Ishida on the other hand has been knocking on the door. He failed in his first world title fight, losing a close but clear decision to Kal Yafai in 2017, but seemed like a man who would take positives from that loss. He has since gone 4-0 (2), but has not looked fantastic in his most recent bouts, including a narrow win against Ikuro Sadatsune.
Although Ishida has blown hot and cold through his career he has shown the tools to mix at world level. He's tough, he's smart, he's a sharp boxer-puncher, he's a rangy fighter with a nice jab, good footwork and under-rated power. When he's on song he is a real talent, and and he has a number of wins over fellow world title challengers, such as Warlito Parrenas, Ryuichi Funai Petchbarngborn Kokietgym and Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking. Sadly when he's not firing on all-cylinders he is pretty limited, and recently struggled with a Japanese level domestic bantamweight, Ikuro Sadatsune. It very much seems like Ishida, despite being a talent, is someone who is unsure of himself.
Gonzalez, from Mexico, has twice fought for world titles and has had very mixed results. In his first world title bout he was dominated by Ancajas, dropped several times and stopped in round 10. He looked completely out of his depth and really hadn't done anything to earn a shot either. Unless beating naturally smaller men like Ramon Garcia Hirales and Mauricio Fuentes counts for something. In his second world title fight however he pushed Kal Yafai all the way. In fact he seemed to do, perhaps, enough to earn the decision over Yafai in a very competitive 12 round bout in Monaco. The two results couldn't have been any more different and only came 9 months apart.
Whilst Gonzalez's performance against Ancajas was terrible, with the Mexican never looking comfortable with the speed and southpaw stance of the Filipino, he showed he can fight when he took on Yafai, and that bout really we more indicative to what we expect here. Against Yafai the Mexican was aggressive, busy, strong and had a tempo setting jab. He wasn't flawless, far from it, but he often dictated the action against Yafai. Yafai never really seemed to look comfortable against him.
Originally this bout had been planned for earlier in the year, in Mexico, but due to promotional issues was pushed backwards and put over to Japan. That may be a key thing about this bout, with the Osakan crowd expected to be well and truly behind Ishida.
Technically Ishida is the better boxer, but Gonzalez is the better fighter, and if Gonzalez can set the tempo there's a genuine chance that he'll outwork a lazy Ishida. We, however, expect to see Ishida fired up for this, boxing at range, banging in his jab, and using his body shots to slow Gonzalez down. Gonzalez will always be in the bout, but we see him losing a close, but clear, decision to a hungry Ishida.
Prediction - UD12 Ishida
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.