As you can tell from those names, much of the excitement has come from Japan. Another young Japanese fighter receiving rave reviews is current Japanese champion Sho Ishida (18-0, 10), an Ioka gym prospect who looks set to progress on to the world title scene soon. Aged just 23 he's wonderfully talented, young and part of the excellent Ioka stable which boats a number of world class fighters, such as Kazuto Ioka, Ryo Miyazaki and Masayoshi Nakatani, with Nakatani himself fighting in a similar way to Ishida.
Although still just a prospect Ishida is a young fighter who has shown all the tools for major success. Physically he's a perfect fighter with a long and lean frame. He's managed to use that frame to his advantage and fights to his strentghs. This sees him boxing on the move, using his long and sharp jab and his powerful straight to establish the pace and distance of the fight. On the inside he can hold his own though looks a lot more comfortable on the outside.
On paper Ishida's record a little bit thin for a fast rising Japanese prospect. Saying that however he already holds notable wins over Yasuto Aritomi, Petchbarngborn Kokietgym and Yohei Tobe, with the win over Tobe being the best of the bunch and also the fight that resulted in Ishida beginning his title reign last August. Although the best win is the one over Tobe it was the win over Petchbarngborn that really caught the eye with the Japanese youngster stopping the world ranked Thai.
So far Ishida has defended the title just once, stopping the horrible over-matched Masato Morisaki at the end of 2014 in a predictably one-sided affair. On April 22nd Ishida will face his first real challenge since winning the title as he defends his belt against the heavy handed but flawed Taiki Eto (14-3, 10), who is hoping to claim a title at the third time of asking.
Eto, the twin brother of the all-action Flyweight Koki Eto, suffered his first professional loss less than a year after his debut, being surprisingly stopped in 148 seconds by Takeo Kuranaga, that loss saw Eto fall to 5-1 (3). Following that loss things were a bit stop-start. He returned to the ring 3 months after the loss and blew away Yutaka Kato and quickly followed that up with a stoppage against Shota Hashimoto before spending more than 2 years out of the ring.
Upon Eto's return to action following his long break he went on to recors 3 wins, including a notable stoppage victory against Konosuke Tomiyama and an 8 round decision against Isack Junior. Those two wins moved Eto towards his first title fight though he came up short against Arthur Villanueva in a bout for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, a bout that saw Villanueva being dropped twice and Eto himself being dropped once in an up-and-down affair. Just 3 fights later Eto was out boxed and subsequently stopped by Yohei Tobe in a bout for the Japanese Super Flyweight title.
Eto, like his twin brother, often looks crude, he's slightly more polished than Koki but lacks the chin of the former WBA interim Flyweight champion. As seen in his bout with Tobe, he can be out boxed, relatively easily by a fighter who uses their jab and can be made to look silly by a boxer-mover. He does however possess that nasty power which can bail him out when he connects. If an opponent can avoid the spiteful power of Eto they tend to be able to over-come the Japanese youngster, if they taste the power however bouts can swing in his favour.
Having seen how Tobe beat Eto and how Ishida beat Tobe there is only really one logical outcome here. Ishida will win. The real question however is whether Ishida takes a decision or goes for the early win. It's a hard there and depends on whether or not Ishida is intent on doing more than hist retain his title. If Ishida just wants to retain his belt the odds are that he will be happy to cruise to a clear decision win, if he wishes to make a statement then he will likely turn the screw and hunt a late round stoppage victory.