One of the biggest stories last year from Asia saw former WBA interim Light Middleweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida (27-10-2, 11) transform himself from a wiry fighter fighting around Middleweight to a small but capable Heavyweight. The popular fighter wasn't expected to achieve much with some decrying his decision to skip through the weights as reckless if not borderline suicidal. The fighter however believed in himself and wanted to chase a wish, he wanted to claim the Japanese Heavyweight title. He wanted to test himself against the beast big guys in the country and he wanted to have fun before he retired.
In his first bout at Heavyweight we saw Ishida battle against Japanese champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (11-1, 6) in an 8 round non-title bout. The bout was close with Fujimoto just winning a narrow decision.
For some Ishida's loss to Fujimoto spelled the end and Ishida himself seemed to consider retirement. That was until Ishida's wife effectively told him to continue and together they publicly campaigned for a rematch feeling as if Ishida could beat Fujimoto if they were to have a rematch. At the time however Fuimoto appeared unwilling to fight Ishida again. It was as if Fujimoto was doing his best to avoid a rematch whilst Ishida did his belt to force the bout, and force it he has with with the JBC penciling in the bout for April 30th at the Korakuen Hall as part of the "Champions Carnival".
Since their first meeting Ishida has really developed into a man who now understands Heavyweight boxing and has scored two wins as a Heavyweight. The first of those saw him take a clear decision over Frenchman David Radeff whilst the second saw him stop former 2-time Japanese title challenger Kotatsu Takehara, in what was his best performance as a Heavyweight. Although still a small fighter in the division the experience has allowed him to become a better fighter there than he was when he first fought Fujimoto.
Strangely Fujimoto has faced the same two men as Ishida since their first meeting. To beging with Fujimoto stopped Takehara, taking a 5th round TKO over his Japanese compatriot, before taking a decision over Radeff in December, just over a week before Ishida scored his win over Takehara. It's clear this was done to compare relatively performances but it's fair to say that both men scored clear wins with the rivals both looking more impressive against their second foe.
With the bout now agreed it's fair to say that we will now find out once and for all who really is the best Heavyweight in Japan. It may not seem like much on the international stage but this is a genuinely intriguing grudge match and one that we suspect could be something a bit special when the men get in the ring together.
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