The Japanese Middleweight scene is one of the most over-looked in the country. It's easy to dismiss the division when it's star, Ryota Murata, is so much better than everyone else however the contenders to the unified Japanese and OPBF throne are genuinely fighting among themselves on a regular basis in the hope of getting a shot at the talented Akio Shibata.
One such contender is Hikaru Nishida (14-7-1, 6) who continued his great form yesterday as he beat Ratchasi Sithsaithong (7-3, 4)* in 3 rounds in what was seemingly a tune up bout for a second shot at Shibata in 2016.
From the opening round Nishida looked relaxed, strong and his usual tough imposing self. It wasn't an electric start form the 25 year old Kawasaki Nitta gym fighter but it was a confident start with him trying to see what the Thai had to offer. Quickly Nishida understood his assignment and after moving through the gears saw off the over-matched Thai.
We know that Nishida's record is one that fans would dismiss him for. Losing around 30% of his bouts isn't going to set pulses racing but it should be noted that, a little more than 30 months ago, he was 6-6-1 (1) and really floundering before developing as a fighter and really rebuilding a very promising career.
Nishida's recent 8-1 (5) run has seen him beat the likes of Kazuhiko Hidaka, Makoto Fuchigami, twice, and Hideo Mikan whilst his only loss was a close, and competitive decision, to Shibata, who is clearly the best Japanese Middleweight plying his trade at home. As a result of Yesterday's win Nishida has assured himself of a second shot at Shibata as part of the 2016 Champions Carnival.
*Boxrec have a different record for Ratchasi Sithsaithong
(Image courtesy of boxingews.jp)
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