Earlier today Japanese fans had two interesting Middleweight bouts. One of them saw the Japanese and OPBF titles unified as Daisuke Nakagawa and Akio Shibata fought for the second time whilst the other, a non title bout, saw former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (20-9, 11) in action.
Fuchigami, best known for losing in 3 rounds to Gennady Golovkin, was fighting for the first time since losing the OPBF Middleweight title to Akio Shibata last May. Unfortunately for him it wasn't a comeback to remember as he was out pointed by the unheralded Hikaru Nishida (10-6-1, 3).
Entering the bout both men were ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC. Fuchigami was ranked #4 by the JBC and #10 by the OPBF whilst Nishida was ranked right behind him in both, holding a #5 JBC ranking and a #11 ranking with the OPBF. Those rankings didn't help Fuchigami as the more experienced man showed his ring rust and out hustled by Nishida who looked looked more alert from the early rounds.
Although Fuchigami did manage to keep it close on the cards he never looked like the man who deserved the victory and the judges all agree that Nishia deserved the win.
Fuchigami, fighting for the second in well over a year, seemed to be effected by his lack of recent activity. His lack of fights was a stark contract to Nishida who was fighting in his fifth contest inside a year. Interestingly this was the fourth victory for Nishida from those 5 bouts and has seen him turn his career around from 6-6-1 to 10-6-1.
With this victory we expect to see Nishida move up the rankings and possibly even getting a title fight in his next contest. Although he won't be the top ranked contender by either the OPBF or the JBC it's unlikely that the #1 fighter, Ryota Murata, will actually try and win these titles as his intention seems to be on the world stage as opposed to the regional title scene.
(Photo courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp/)
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