Yesterday we saw the Champion Carnival bouts for 2016 being announced. Today we continue to look at those bouts.
At Super Flyweight fans will see unbeaten champion Sho Ishida (21-0, 11) [石田 匠] defending his belt on April 17th at the EDION Osaka, in Osaka, where he takes on former OPBF title challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-6, 16) [船井 龍一].
For Ishida this bout will mark his 5th defense of the title and will see him attempting to extend a reign that began back in August 2014, when he out pointed Yohei Tobe. It will also be his second defense during a Champion Carnival having narrowly over-came Taiki Eto last year in what was also a Champion Carnival bout. Since the win over Eto however we have seen an improved Ishida who has added defenses over Hayato Kimura and Ryuta Otsuka.
The talented Osakan, a stablemate of Kazuto Ioka and Ryo Miyazaki, has long been tipped as a future world champion and this could well be his last fight on the Japanese domestic scene. He's a tall out fighter with a lot of skills and speed, but has seen some question marks about his stamina and work rate in later rounds. If he can answer those questions his team will likely chase major international bouts later in the year.
Funai on the other hand is a 30 year old veteran who has paid his dues and will be looking to upset the applecart when he faces Ishida. For the challenger this will be just his second title bout, having come up short in an OPBF title bout back in 2012 against Rolly Lunas. Whilst he did lose to Lunas that certainly wasn't the only time he has faced a notable name and he has also shared the ring with the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, losing in the 7th round, Hiroki Shiino, winning a close decision, Gakuya Furuhashi, winning another close decision, and recent Ishida foe Ryuta Otsuka, taking him out in 3 rounds last year.
Whilst this probably won't be Funai's last chance to win a title it's clear that he'll be wanting to make the most of his opportunity and we expect to see him coming in to the ring in great condition and really giving his all. He will however be fighting in his opponents back yard and will need to pull off something a bit special to defeat the talented young champion.
Interestingly the rest of the card for the show hasn't been announced but there are rumblings that the show may feature other big name Ioka gym fighters, with Ioka and Miyazaki both being linked to the show already.
For those who haven't seen the fighters in action we've included a video of each below.
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