One fighter who is much better than his record suggests is OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (15-7-1, 7) who returns to the ring this coming Tuesday, to defend his Oriental title against Australian challenger Dwight Ritchie (13-0-0-4, 1). On paper the champion should be the under-dog, if records were the only thing that mattered, but the reality is that this is a really, really, good match up.
Nishida's record belies the fact that he's a fighter who has totally turned his career around after a slow start, in fact he was once 6-6-1. Since the poor start Nishida has really developed and is a determined, tough, high intensity pressure fighter who has broken down fighters like Makoto Fuchigami, Akio Shibata, scoring stoppages over both, and scored other notable wins. Although not a big name he's a fighter who, at 28, looks like the type of fighter who will be a tough test for anyone outside of the top 20 or 30 in the world.
Whilst Nishida has picked up losses, early in his career, Ritchie has picked up No Contests, with his first 4 bouts all being listed as No Contest's due to a breach of licensing rules regarding his age. Were it not for those results being reversed Ritchie would be 17-0 (2) though his competition hasn't been great with his best wins coming over a semi-retired Ryan Waters and Dean Mikelj. Whilst he hasn't score really notable wins he has shown a good boxing brain, good speed and movement and knows how to fight to his advantages. Notably however this is his first bout outside of Australia.
On paper this is “unbeaten man Vs journeyman”, but the reality is that it's “proven pressure fighter Vs unproven speedster”. Given how unproven Ritchie is, having never fought outside of Australia and having never previous fought in a 12 rounder, it's clear the pressure is on him and with that in mind we have to favour the champion.
We suspect Ritchie will get off to a good start, and may well be 4-0 up after a few rounds, however as the bout progresses and as Nishida applies his pressure we see Ritchie wilting and losing a close but clear decision